What an awesome way to cook rice. It takes some effort, but, believe me, everyone who has tasted these flavorful little cakes just can’t seem to get enough of them. Most of us simmer or steam rice, or make it as pilaf, while others like to make risotto. If you are in the risotto camp, you have to try this recipe. The method is the same, but this offers a cross-cultural approach: Instead of Arborio rice, I use Koshihikari, a sticky, short-grain sushi rice; instead of wine, I use sake; instead of chicken stock, I use easy-to-make mushroom broth. I include the recipe in this chapter on sides, but these intensely flavored cakes make a great vegetarian main course, too.–Michel Nischan
Shiitake Mushroom and Koshihikari Rice Cakes Recipe
Hands-On Time: | Total Time: | Serves 4
- 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
- 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, with stems reserved and caps diced (about 1 1/4 cups diced caps)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup mushroom soy sauce (see Note)
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup finely diced shallot or yellow onion
- 1 cup Koshihikari or other sushi rice
- 3/4 cup sake
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion, white and green parts
- 1/2 cup panko (See Note) (Buy it)
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 1. In a mini processor, break up the dried mushrooms by pulsing once or twice. Or, use your fingers or kitchen shears to break up the dried mushrooms.
- 2. In a heatproof bowl or other heatproof container with a lid, combine the dried mushrooms and fresh mushroom stems. Reserve the diced fresh mushroom caps.
- 3. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the dried mushrooms and fresh stems to cover. Add more boiling water, if necessary. Cover tightly with aluminum foil or a lid and set aside for 30 minutes.
- 4. Pour the mushrooms and their liquid through a chinois or fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
- 5. Set the saucepan over low heat and heat the mushroom liquid until hot but not simmering. Adjust the heat to its lowest setting to keep the liquid hot. Stir in the mushroom soy sauce.
- 6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until hot. Add the shallot and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add the reserved diced fresh mushroom caps and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft.
- 7. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes, or until the rice is hot and well mixed with the shallot and mushrooms, turns light golden, and smells toasty. Slowly add the sake and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sake is absorbed by the rice.
- 8. Add about one-third of the hot mushroom liquid and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until absorbed by the rice. Add the rest of the mushroom liquid and cook, stirring gently and constantly, for 7 to 8 minutes longer, or until the rice resembles thick risotto and any excess liquid is absorbed.
- 9. Transfer the rice to a square or rectangular baking dish large enough to spread it no deeper than 2 inches. Gently stir and fold the rice with the wooden spoon while it cools. This develops the strength of the rice so that you will be able to form rice cakes. Once the rice is cool to the touch, stir in the scallion. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
- 10. Using 2- to 3-inch-diameter ring molds, form 8 rice cakes by firmly pressing the cold rice into the molds. The smaller rings will be filled to the top, the larger rings about two-thirds full.
- 11. Spread the panko on a flat plate or tray and the sesame seeds on a second tray. Press one side of each rice cake in the panko and the other side in the sesame seeds. Gently push the rice cakes from the molds and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet or tray.
- 12. Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in each of 2 large, nonstick skillets over medium heat. Place 4 cakes, sesame seed side down, in each skillet, and cook for 3 minutes, or until darkened. Turn the cakes and cook for 3 minutes longer, or until evenly cooked. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Mushroom soy sauce, a dark soy sauce flavored with mushrooms, is usually available in Asian markets. Panko is coarse, Japanese-style bread crumbs sold in Asian markets and some supermarkets.
Shiitake Mushroom and Koshihikari Rice Cakes Recipe © 2005 Michel Nischan. Photo © 2005 Susie Cushner. All rights reserved.