While it’s not exactly a culinary mecca, Texas is loaded with gut bustin’ soul satisfyin’ comfort food. My weekend was filled with elephant sized portions of smokey bbqed sausage, cajun spiced bbq burgers, tender carne asada, and chicken fried steak drowned in creamy gravy, all washed down with margarita’s and Coors light.
Gut busted and soul satisfied, I returned to NYC craving something a little different… something a little more asian and little less cajun… something filling, but not heart-attack inducing… something like kamameshi!
Kamameshi is rice cooked in a cast iron pot along with a flavored broth and some other goodies. It’s similar to takikomi gohan except the pot it’s cooked in encourages the bottom layer of rice to lightly burn (known as “okoge” in Japanese) giving it a nice flavor reminiscent of rice crackers.
Unfortunately I don’t have a kama (iron pot) and I imagine most of my readers don’t either, so I made this using a small Le Creuset (enameled cast iron pot). You could probably use any heavy bottomed pot with a lid you have as long as it’s not teflon.
The rice cooks with a sweet soy sauce flavored broth and is topped with a layer of mitsuba (which I talk about more in this post) and unagi while it steams. After it’s all done, I mix it all together before serving which helps integrate all the flavors.
2 rice cooker cups of short grain Japanese rice (360 ml or about 1.5 US cups)
1/3 C chopped Japanese bamboo (takenoko)
1 2/3 C dashi
1 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/4 C mitsuba roughly chopped
1 package grilled unagi (eel)
Rinse the rice by filling the bowl containing the rice with cold water then draining and repeat until the water is almost clear. Drain the water using a colander.
In a heavy iron pot with a lid, bring the dashi, sugar, mirin and soy sauce to a boil.
Add the bamboo and rice and let it return to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low, cooking until you don’t see any more steam escaping, about 15 minutes.
Add the mitsuba and unagi on top of the rice, turn off the heat, cover and allow it to steam for 10 minutes.
Break up the unagi and fold it into the rice then serve immediately with some Japanese pickles.