Before the oyster season ends, I made Kaki Meshi, oyster rice – kaki is not the fruit （柿）but oyster（牡蠣）in this case/dish! Winter is oyster season here, and people say, ‘Do not eat oysters after cherry blossom (beginning of April)’ to avoid food poisoning.
I’m fond of Takikomi Gohan, a Japanese rice dish seasoned with dashi, or cooking stock, and soy sauce along with vegetables, fish etc., so I was going to post a recipe of Kuri Gohan, chestnut rice in the autumn, but alas, missed the season…. Phew, I barely made it this time!!
(for 3-4 servings)
[for dashi stock]
5 cm x 5 cm dashi kombu (dried kelp)
400 ml water (ideally soft water)
300 g Japanese short grain rice
(to soak: at least 400 ml water, ideally soft water)
200 g oysters, shucked
(to wash: 3 tbsp cornstarch, saltwater — 1 liter water + 1 tbsp salt)
2 tbsp + ½ tsp usukuchi soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
½ tsp mirin
a pinch of salt
handful mitsuba, 3 tbsp chopped stems, leaves to garnish
(If not available, sprinkle with 1 tbsp finely chopped spring onion)
- Soak the dashi kombu in the water for overnight.
- Put the rice in a large bowl with some water and wash gently in a circular motion for about 10 seconds, then discard the water. Repeat 3-4 times and drain with a sieve or strainer. Soak the rice in the 400 ml water for 60 min (30 min in summer).
- To wash the oysters, dissolve the salt in the water and set aside. Put the oyster in a bowl and add the cornstarch with some saltwater, then wash gently. Rinse well with the rest of saltwater. Dry with kitchen paper.
- Pour the dashi stock along with kombu in a pan and spoon in soy sauce, sake, mirin and salt. Set the pan on medium heat and remove the kombu just before it starts boiling.
- Add the oysters in the stock and simmer over lower heat for 2 min. Remove from the heat and take out the oyster to set aside. Cool the stock down.
- Drain the rice well with a sieve or strainer. Put the rice in a heavy-bottom pot and pour in the dashi stock and juice/stock from the oysters (do not squeeze!) , and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Once water is boiling (judge from the noise and do not open the lid), cook for 2 min, then slightly reduce the heat and cook for another 3 min. Turn the heat to low and cook for 5 min. Uncover and check if the water is completely absorbed (take a quick peek). If not, cover again and continue cooking until absorbed (check every 1 min and do not overcook!). Turn off the heat and let it steam with the lid on for 5 min. Add the oysters and chopped mitsuba in and leave it covered for another 5 min. Fluff the rice with a rice paddle when it’s done.
- Ladle the rice with oysters into bowls and garnish with mitsuba leaves.
I made it subtle and light taste as I’m from western Japan (If interested, read the article on East vs. West in Japan). If you prefer it richer, taste the dashi stock (Method 4) add another ½ tsp usukuchi soy sauce and ½ tsp mirin as necessary.