Matsutake Gohan Recipe

Matsutake Gohan

Matsutake gohan (松茸ご飯) or pine mushroom rice is a uniquely fragrant fall delicacy that embodies the essence of Japanese cuisine. It’s simplicity belies the depth of complex flavours that come together in this luxurious bowl of rice and it heralds the coming of fall.

In traditional Japanese food, the seasons play a huge part in the choice of ingredients, mix of flavours and presentation of dishes. While modern transportation networks allow “seasonal” produce to be flown in from all over the world, there’s something irresistible about the fleeting seasonality of ingredients so there’s still a great emphasis placed on the seasons.

Matsutake mushrooms

Matsutake mushrooms are the embodiment of this fixation on seasonality with a season lasting just a few short weeks during fall. Together with fall leaves, persimmons, and mandarin oranges, matsutake mushrooms are the harbinger of fall for many Japanese.

While they grow in regions around the world, Matsutake mushrooms are extremely particular about their environment and and only grown under certain conditions. Despite a goldmine of opportunity, this has prevented any commercial cultivation of these mushrooms. Unfortunately this makes them extremely pricey, and there’s really no substitute for for the intense flavour of matsutake mushroom.

Matsutake Takikomi Gohan

They have a resilient crunchy texture when cooked, and exude a fresh earthy aroma reminiscent of cedar. Like most mushrooms, it’s best to use the ones with unopened caps, when they are most fragrant.

I use a kombu dashi in this rice to bump up the level of umami without intruding on the purity of the mushrooms. The shimeji mushrooms are there mostly for presentation and texture, but you could really substitute just about any mushroom that doesn’t have a ton of flavour, like enoki, chantrelle, or trumpet.

Matsutake Meshi

Matsutake Gohan

2 medium matsutake mushrooms (about 3 oz)
1.4oz shimeji mushrooms
320g Japanese rice washed and drained (2 rice cooker cups)
2 Tbs sake
1 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs light soy sauce (usukuchi shoyu)
1 1/2 C kombu dashi
1/4 tsp kosher salt
mitsuba for garnish

Thoroughly clean the matsutake mushrooms with a wet cloth and water. Trim off any rough bits at the bottom of the stem. Halve the mushrooms and slice each half lengthwise into 1/8″ slices. Trim the bottoms off the shimeji mushrooms and pick off any debris.

Add the mushrooms, rice, sake, mirin, soy sauce, dashi and salt to a small enameled cast iron pot like a Le Creuset. Stir to combine the ingredients. Ideally you’ll let this sit for about an hour before cooking, but if you’re pressed for time, you can proceed to the next step right away.

Cover tightly with a lid and turn the heat onto medium high. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and maintain a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the rice steam without opening the lid for another 10 minutes. Gently mix the matsutake gohan, serve into rice bowls and garnish with chopped mitsuba.

  • http://kitchen-em.blogspot.com/ Kitchen M

    This looks so good, Marc!! Those mushrooms look too perfect almost. I always end up using Shiitake mushroom for rice dish like this since Matsutake is too expensive but you are right, it’s so unique that there is no substitution for it.

  • http://kitchen-em.blogspot.com Kitchen M

    This looks so good, Marc!! Those mushrooms look too perfect almost. I always end up using Shiitake mushroom for rice dish like this since Matsutake is too expensive but you are right, it’s so unique that there is no substitution for it.

  • http://asmartmouth.com/ Anjuli Ayer

    I love matsutake! They have an incredible matsutake soba at Sobaya on 9th street right now. This recipe looks wonderful as well. Do you know where you can get them in Manhattan?

    • http://norecipes.com/ Marc @ NoRecipes

      Yep, you can get them at Mitsuwa across the river, or they occasionally have them at Sunrise.

  • http://asmartmouth.com Anjuli Ayer

    I love matsutake! They have an incredible matsutake soba at Sobaya on 9th street right now. This recipe looks wonderful as well. Do you know where you can get them in Manhattan?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

      Yep, you can get them at Mitsuwa across the river, or they occasionally have them at Sunrise.

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com/ Christine @ Fresh Local and Be

    This post provides such a great description of matsutake mushrooms. The recipe shows a good level of respect to the rarity of this mushroom specimen, which is also beautifully aligned with the purity of Japanese cuisine. Great job!

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    This post provides such a great description of matsutake mushrooms. The recipe shows a good level of respect to the rarity of this mushroom specimen, which is also beautifully aligned with the purity of Japanese cuisine. Great job!

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ pigpigscorner

    I just cannot resis mushrooms, this looks soooo good!

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com pigpigscorner

    I just cannot resis mushrooms, this looks soooo good!

  • http://tekitokyo.blogspot.com/ Peter

    I’ve never been able to bring myself to pay the obscene money that gets charged for matsutake mushrooms, yet there seems to be plenty of people throwing down $50+ for a pair of them at the department stores…

  • http://tekitokyo.blogspot.com/ Peter

    I’ve never been able to bring myself to pay the obscene money that gets charged for matsutake mushrooms, yet there seems to be plenty of people throwing down $50+ for a pair of them at the department stores…

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    mmm yum yum! my mum makes this on wet rainy days and it’s a great pickup. looks so tasty marc!

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    mmm yum yum! my mum makes this on wet rainy days and it’s a great pickup. looks so tasty marc!

  • Joanna

    Oh, this looks so good! I’ve noticed a lot of fresh mushrooms at reasonable prices at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market… not sure if they have matsutake but I’ll take a look next time I’m there. Because I want a big bowl of this NOW.

  • Joanna

    Oh, this looks so good! I’ve noticed a lot of fresh mushrooms at reasonable prices at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market… not sure if they have matsutake but I’ll take a look next time I’m there. Because I want a big bowl of this NOW.

  • http://www.slim-shoppin.com/ Jenn@slim-shoppin

    I love looking at the pictures you take Marc!

    So mouthwatering!!!

  • http://www.slim-shoppin.com Jenn@slim-shoppin

    I love looking at the pictures you take Marc!

    So mouthwatering!!!

  • http://kitchenocd.wordpress.com/ Tiffany

    Probably one of my favorite parts of your posts are the suggested recipes that pop up in the middle… I end up deep in the No Recipe Jungle and I. don’t. want. to. leave.

  • http://kitchenocd.wordpress.com Tiffany

    Probably one of my favorite parts of your posts are the suggested recipes that pop up in the middle… I end up deep in the No Recipe Jungle and I. don’t. want. to. leave.

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com/ Jan

    Oooh yum that looks delish!

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com Jan

    Oooh yum that looks delish!

  • http://www.pityinthekitchen.blogspot.com/ pity

    delicous, healthy and super tasty! loved it! cheers from london,

  • http://www.pityinthekitchen.blogspot.com pity

    delicous, healthy and super tasty! loved it! cheers from london,

  • http://korasoi.blogspot.com/ Sanjana

    Oh wow, this looks so beautiful and totally delicious! I love the photographs- they make me want to reach into the screen and grab a bowl! Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this!

  • http://korasoi.blogspot.com Sanjana

    Oh wow, this looks so beautiful and totally delicious! I love the photographs- they make me want to reach into the screen and grab a bowl! Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    I enjoyed a seared Matsutake dish at Coi in San Francisco recently. It was divine except it was only like two slices of mushroom. How I wish it had been more! It was sooooo fragrant and lovely.

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    I enjoyed a seared Matsutake dish at Coi in San Francisco recently. It was divine except it was only like two slices of mushroom. How I wish it had been more! It was sooooo fragrant and lovely.

  • K

    I LOVE matsutake! It has such a delicious aroma… I used to try to hog the matsutake in the matsutake gohan since it was a “special occasion” dish!

  • K

    I LOVE matsutake! It has such a delicious aroma… I used to try to hog the matsutake in the matsutake gohan since it was a “special occasion” dish!

  • http://blog.inomthings.com/ ila

    yummy! matsutake is easily my favorite(st) mushroom in the whole world. but my baachan always said, “kaori matsutake, aji shimeji (matsutake for aroma, shimeji for flavor)”!

  • http://blog.inomthings.com ila

    yummy! matsutake is easily my favorite(st) mushroom in the whole world. but my baachan always said, “kaori matsutake, aji shimeji (matsutake for aroma, shimeji for flavor)”!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16656070622394546141 kechiko

    Great recipe – I’m going to try this tomorrow in my takikomi! I saw matsutake at the market recently and wondered how I might cook them at home…

    Thanks for posting this!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16656070622394546141 kechiko

    Great recipe – I’m going to try this tomorrow in my takikomi! I saw matsutake at the market recently and wondered how I might cook them at home…

    Thanks for posting this!

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek@ kitchensidecar

    wouldn’t it be great to go to oregon with all the other matsutake hunters for a forage? I’ve been wanting to do that this season.

    I found a number of mushroom grades (3 of 5) at my japanese market, all with varying price. I am left . You say that the less open the better? ok, I’ll head your advice. off to the store.

    • Kathy

      I bought fresh matsutake from an Asian fellow named Henry in Chemult, OR, on Highway 97. I think early October is the season. I thought the prices were good. It ranged from $4/lb to $10/lb.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek@ kitchensidecar

    wouldn’t it be great to go to oregon with all the other matsutake hunters for a forage? I’ve been wanting to do that this season.

    I found a number of mushroom grades (3 of 5) at my japanese market, all with varying price. I am left . You say that the less open the better? ok, I’ll head your advice. off to the store.

  • Sschuerhoff

    I’m sorry, this might sound like a stupid question, but do you cook the rice before incorporating it into this recipe?

    • Anonymous

      Nope it goes in uncooked, just wash and drain the rice first.

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  • Anna Jane Mcguire

    My question is about the kombu dashi. Is this something that I make, like a soup stock, by boiling dried kelp? Or do I buy it in a powder form? My partner and I collected and froze dozens of matsutakes this fall. And, we live on the Pacific coast where we are starting to learn about cooking with sea vegetables. So I am really excited about discovering the traditional way of making this dish, starting with the kombu dashi. Any suggestions?

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the note Anna, and great question! Kombu dashi is made by soaking
      a specific kind of kelp (dashi kombu) in water overnight. The liquid takes
      on the flavor of the kelp and you can then use the rehydrated kelp for other
      things such as tsukudani (kelp simmered in sweet soy sauce). You can also
      buy powdered kombu dashi which can be reconstituted in water like bouillon
      to make kombu dashi. The problem with a lot of these powders is that they
      often contain MSG, so if you do go that route, please read the label
      carefully to make sure it doesn’t have any undesirable additives.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the note Anna, and great question! Kombu dashi is made by soaking
      a specific kind of kelp (dashi kombu) in water overnight. The liquid takes
      on the flavor of the kelp and you can then use the rehydrated kelp for other
      things such as tsukudani (kelp simmered in sweet soy sauce). You can also
      buy powdered kombu dashi which can be reconstituted in water like bouillon
      to make kombu dashi. The problem with a lot of these powders is that they
      often contain MSG, so if you do go that route, please read the label
      carefully to make sure it doesn’t have any undesirable additives.

  • http://sakepuppets.wordpress.com/ Ang

    Do you think I could make this in a rice cooker?

    • Anonymous

      Absolutely!, just wash the rice, add all the liquid seasonings, then top it
      off up to the cup level line with water (if necessary), then add the solids
      (like mushrooms) at the end.

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  • Kathy

    A simple recipe for a delicious rice dish! What would be the proportions for cooking 3 Japanese cups in a rice cooker?

  • mb

    I finally came across a few of these, foraged in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I can’t wait to try them.

  • http://paperfrenzy.tumblr.com/ paper frenzy ☆

    I miss Japan so much sometimes — mainly for the FOOD. This definitely takes me back. <3

  • stephanie

    September 22, 2013: couple days ago, I climbed Sourdough Mtn (N. Cascades) w some friends and came across an abundance of matsutake, among other delectable wild edibles. At ~ 4000 ft, it appears to be blueberry season in full force. This evening, I made matsutake gohan, with a few modifications of this recipe based on recommendations from my Japanese mother, who is also a big fan of foraging and eating matsutake. This turned out amazing, and I’m bringing it to a brunch in the morning.

    - doubled recipe, but probably tripled seasoning ingredients
    - omitted shimeji
    - served with chiffonade fresh shiso leaves

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!