Kanako's Kitchen

Takikomi-gohan: Savory Rice

Posted in Recipe, rice, today's meal by Kanako Noda on October 15, 2009

takikomi gohanLets be clear: standard Japanese rice is plain. No flavorings, no spices, no salt, no nothing. Just rice, water, heat and time. Older people in Japan – and even a good number of younger people – eat this kind of plain white rice three times a day. It’s like bread for Western people: there at every meal.

So that’s the standard thing. But once every great while mom gets frisky and decides to do something different with rice. Enter takikomi-gohan: a flavored rice that can serve as a main course. Takikomi-gohan can be eaten hot or cold, and it’s a popular lunch-box item. We don’t make this kind of rice every day. We don’t even make it often. But every once in a while, it really hits the spot.

ingredientIngredient (for six to eight)

  • 3.5 cups of rice – use a short-grain variety, sometimes sold as “sushi” rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • One piece of konbu (edible sea-kelp) (about 10 cm. long piece)

    • One tea-spoon of dashi soup base
    • Four table-spoons of sake
    • Three table-spoons of soy sauce
    • One tea-spoon of salt
  • 250g chicken thighs
  • One carrot
  • A bit of aburaage (deep fried tofu)
  • One gobou (burdock root)
  • Optional: chestnuts, konnyaku jelly, tinned tuna, or hijiki seaweed.


  • Cut chicken into mid-sized cubes.
  • Cut aburaage into small pieces
  • Skin and chip the gobou like you would for kinpira gobou:
  1. Shave off the skin of the gobou with the sharp end of a knife
  2. Rinse gobou with cold water
  3. Cut the gobou into chips with a knife by shaving it as though you were sharpening a pencil
  1. Cut carrot in 10 cm. long chunks
  2. Slice each carrot chunk vertically, quite thinly
  3. Slice the slices again, until you end up with thin little strips
  • Wash rice (do this quickly: no more than three minute.)
  • In a mid-sized to large pot, place rice in water: for 3.5 cups of rice, use four cups of water.
  • Place the cut carrots, the gobou chips, the piece of konbu, and the chicken thighs in the water and leave to soak together with the rice for about 40 minutes.

That’s the basics, but if you like you could also add other ingredients at this point, such as chestnuts, konnyaku, tinned tuna, or hijiki seaweed

  • After soaking, add the flavoring (dashi, sake, soy-sauce, salt) and stir a bit.

cut ingredient leave to soak add the flavoring

click to enlarge


  1. Cover pot and cook on high heat for about 15 minutes.
  2. When the water boils, turn to medium heat for about 5 minutes until the water evaporates completely.
  3. If you’re using electric stove, turn heat off. If you are using gas stove, turn heat all the way down. Let it sit for another 5 minutes.
  4. Turn over thoroughly and put cover back on. If you’re cooking with gas, turn it off.
    Let the rice steam for at least another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve in rice bowls and, if you’d like, garnish with finely cut strips of nori sea-weed.

cook finish cooking let rice steam

for microwaveclick to enlarge

Takikomi-gohan works well hot or cold, and you can consider making a big batch and freezing the extra portions in saran-wrap, to be microwaved later.

Tonight, I made my husband some takikomi-gohan alongside a simple broth with chinese cabbage in it.

15th dinnerItadakimasu!


One Response

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