Sunday, June 8, 2008
Tomato Mushroom Rice
In the spirit of challenging myself, I bought a Japanese-language cookbook of bento recipes from the fabulous Kinokuniya at Times Square Shinjuku. Since it has lots of helpful photos, I've been able to infer and guesstimate a lot of the kanji I don't know. My food vocabulary is coming along quite well - too bad I still can't have a decent conversation with anyone! The book itself, as far as I can translate, is called "Two-Okazu Bentos", okazu meaning the bits in the bento that aren't the rice. It has a lot of "yoshoku", or fusion-style recipes in it, and in fact is authored by a Chinese writer (which I figured out later, when I bothered to try and read her name).
Actually, I don't have too much trouble thinking up okazu to put in our lunches, since they're usually just leftovers from dinner. Room-temperature rice, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired, and I'm always looking for ways to jazz it up. A recipe for tomato mushroom rice caught my eye, so I decided to try it this week, since I knew I'd have some chicken thighs left over from dinner. If you happen to have some rice leftover, this is a great twist on fried rice.
The method is simple. To serve two people, take about 100 g of chicken - dark meat is best, but whatever you have will do. If it's already cooked, great - if not, cube it fairly small, and brown it in a frying pan, with some chopped onion if you like. Use olive oil, or neutral oil - whatever you like. Then add some sliced mushrooms - I used eringi mushrooms (the mushroom with my name!), but the recipe actually calls for button mushrooms. Maybe four of those, as you like. Then when that's nicely brown and cooked, add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked rice. Mix it around, then add one good-sized diced tomato. Toss it all about, and add generous amounts of salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Actually, I added a chicken bullion cube in lieu of salt, a trick I learned from Harumi - boy does it ever add great flavour! All that MSG, I guess.) You want to cook it down until the water from the tomato has been absorbed. Then, garnish with something green - I used some green onion, but a sprig of rosemary or thyme would be nice as well. Heated up the next day for lunch, it's incredibly simple and good! It was nice at room-temperature , too, so I consider it a bento success.