I’ve recently received my copy of The Just Bento Cookbook that I ordered from Amazon, and I was ecstatic to try out the recipes that are not on the site. The first thing that caught my eye was the Mixed Vegetable Rice, primarily because it had vegetables and it seemed like a safe place to try out the shiitake mushrooms I bought recently.
Here’s my pathetic attempt to take a self picture with The Book.
To summarize the recipe: Shredded carrots, thinly sliced dried shiitake mushrooms (soak in water beforehand), and couple of tablespoons each of sake and soy sauce. Put them all in the rice cooker along with the rinsed rice. The secret is in using the soaking liquid from the mushrooms for cooking the rice.
The first time I tried this, I used fresh shiitake mushrooms and just used plain water for cooking the rice. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of flavor. Which is why I was very surprised when my husband commented that the rice strongly reminded him of the expensive rice he and his family used to eat at this restaurant called New Kamameshi House. It was that good! He was really impressed that he immediately requested me to cook up a big batch for the inlaws. Nothing could have been a bigger compliment.
Here’s a picture of the first batch.
The second batch (for the said inlaws) was three times the original recipe (but using the prescribed dried shiitake and soaking liquid), and it almost overflowed out of the rice cooker. At least now I know just how much kamameshi rice it can hold. It was a hit!
What I liked about this recipe is the absolute ease of preparation, especially if you have a shredder or grater. It also does very well in bentos (seeing as it came from a bento book!), paired with meat. Here you see one of a typical week’s baon: a layer of kamameshi rice, meatballs, and some of my home made pickles. The meatballs come with sauce which isn’t pictured here; I use either teriyaki sauce or sweet and sour sauce which I also got from The Book.
Postscript: I realize this is delayed as Week 8 was last week. Let me just assure my loyal readers that this dish was prepared last week; it’s just the blog post that’s delayed. I’ve been having challenges with photos recently, and I don’t want to write about any recipe/baon without accompanying pictures. I’ll be picking up the pace of writing, so watch out for more articles!