Gomokuzushi: Sushi Rice with Vegetables
Since I started this blog, a key goal has been to show that Japanese cooking is much more than sushi. For that reason, I’ve mostly avoided sushi recipes – the only exception being Inarizushi. Now, after a long break, I’m breaking my initial promise once more.
Last time I went back to Japan and visited my grandmother in Kyushu, she made a traditional dish, Gomokuzushi, for our family reunion. Gomokuzushi is Gomoku (a mix of many ingredients) Sushi. It was so delicious I wanted to share the recipe with you.
Gomokuzushi is often served for a special occasions, such as birthday parties, family reunions and Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Day celebration). It is a perfect dish for a party because it looks gorgeous but you don’t need special ingredients, such as super fresh fish, so it’s not too expensive to make, and it’s easy to scale it up to feed many people. You wouldn’t want to bring sushi with raw fish to a potluck or a picnic, but Gomokuzushi is perfect for these sorts of occasions.
It’s is one of those dishes where the exact recipe will vary from family to family. The main ingredient in my grandma’s Gomokuzushi is chicken. The process seems complicated, but that’s just because I’m writing all the “insider tips” you need to get it just right in full detail. So don’t be afraid. Once you get the knack, it’s quite simple.
My grandma’s original recipe is just 4 lines!
Ingredient (for 8 servings)
For the seasoning
- Chicken: One leg, preferably with skin
- Dry shitake mashroom: Two (recomposed in 250cc water)
- Carrot: One
- Gobou (Burdock root): 1/2 (about 40 cm)
- Cooking Sake: 50cc
- Sugar: 4 tablespoons
- Soy sauce: 3 tablespoons
- Dashi: One teaspoon
- Cooking oil : A little
For the rice
- Rice: 3 cups
- Sake: 75cc
- Water: 2 and 1/2 cups
- Kombu (sea kelp): one piece, about 5 cm long
For the sushi vinegar
- Rice vinegar:
For the seasoning
- Soak the dry shitake mushrooms in lukewarm water to soften.
- Cut the ingredients.
Chicken: Into 2 cm square pieces, setting the skin apart.
Gobou: Shave off the skin of the gobou and cut it into chips with a knife by shaving it as though you were sharpening a pencil (Japanese people call this technique “sasagaki”). Then soak the gobou chips in lukewarm water.
Shitake: Discard the root and slice the cap thinly. Keep the water you used to soften the shitake.
Carrot: Just cut it in small pieces.
- Heat the pan, add a little oil and cook the chicken.
- When chicken is starting to brown, add Sake. Cook a little to evaporate the alcool.
- Add all the other vegetables, sugar, soy sauce, and dashi.
- Add the shitake water and the chicken skin. Cook all for about 15 minutes.
- When it’s done, take off from the heat and let it cool.
(If you have the time, it’s better to prepare this mixture the night before.)
For the rice
- Wash the rice (do this quickly: no more than three minute.)
- In a mid-sized to large pot, place rice in water and sake and let it soak for about 40 minutes.
- When the rice has soaked, add kombu to the pot. Cover the pot and cook on high heat for about 12 minutes.
- After around 12 minutes, when the water starts to boil to a blow, turn to medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until the water evaporates completely.
- Then turn heat off and let it sit for another 5 minutes. (If you are using gas stove, turn heat all the way down.)
- Turn over thoroughly and put cover back on. (If you’re cooking with gas, turn it off.)
Let the rice steam for at least another 5 minutes.
- When the rice is ready, place in a big bowl. To avoid the rice sticking on the bowl, wet the bowl with water a little.
- Add the vinegar sauce (remember to take out the konbu first) and mix thoroughly without squeezing the grains of rice.
While mixing the vinegar condiment with the rice, fan the rice vigorously to cool down it quickly. Cooling the rice quickly is very important to make the rice shiny and beautiful.