Monday, July 24, 2017

Rice is nice with shiitake mushrooms

Phyo's Cooking Adventure

Rice. Very simple, yet there are so many ways to cook it for so many flavours. The variations take the boredom out of eating plain steamed rice all the time.

Luckily for me, my Aussie husband is an enthusiastic consumer of rice, which gives me all the excuse I need to experiment with mixing flavours from different culture and regions. We always have fun with these experiments.

This week I explain how to prepare Japanese mushroom rice using a rice cooker. How easy it is!

This is a very popular traditional Japanese rice dish, which can be cooked with dashi (cooking stock) and different types of mushrooms. I use dried shiitake mushrooms here, which are available at the local markets. The strong flavours and smell of the shiitake mushrooms tickle all the taste buds, making for a delicious meal.

In the past I made this recipe using white (shio) miso paste, which is easy to get at Asian supermarkets in Sydney. But it’s not easy to find dashi or shio miso paste in Yangon, so I figured out an amazingly easy way to make my own dashi.

I also substitute Shan rice for sushi rice because it’s cheaper and easier to find in Yangon. Shan rice is also sticky, so it combines perfectly with all the flavours and the mushrooms. 

This rice dish goes very well with greens, so I have also included a recipe for spinach salad with sesame dressing. Enjoy!



(4 servings)

2 cups of Shan rice

180g of oyster mushroom 

60g of dried shiitake mushrooms, or 200g of fresh shiitake mushrooms

3 tablespoons of Mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

4 tablespoons of Kikomon soy sauce 

2 teaspoons of sesame oil

3 tablespoons of roasted white sesame seeds


Wash the shiitake mushrooms and soak them in 3 cups (750ml) of hot water for at least 3 hours. We will use this water for cooking (this is Phyo-style dashi).

At least 30 minutes before cooking, wash the rice, drain well and set aside.

When the shiitake mushrooms are ready, gently squeeze them and cut their stems off. Then boil the stems in the shiitake mushroom water for 3-4 minutes. We need 2½ cups.

Slice the shiitake mushrooms and drain well. Wash and slice the oyster mushrooms thickly and drain well too.

Mix the Mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and shiitake mushrooms in a saucepan and cook for 3 minutes. Add the oyster mushrooms into the saucepan and cook for another 5 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Mix the shiitake mushroom water, rice and mushroom mixture well, place in the rice cooker and cook. When the rice is finished cooking, add the roasted sesame seeds and mix well.



3 bunches of spinach

4 cloves of garlic (sliced)

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of Mirin

2 tablespoons of Kikomon soy sauce

1 teaspoon of brown sugar or caster sugar 


Pick the spinach leaves and young stalks (crisp and easy to break).

Blanch the leaves in lightly salted boiling water for 2 minutes, and do the same separately with the stalks for 3 minutes. Refresh them in cold water immediately. Squeeze them gently until no water is left.

Mix the remaining ingredients (except the garlic) in a jar for dressing.

Lay the spinach on a serving plate and pour the dressing along the leaves and stalks. Garnish with sliced garlic.

Kikomon soy sauce is available at City Mart, and Mirin rice wine vinegar can be found at all big supermarkets.


*The rice should be dry when combined with the liquid and mushroom mixture.  Otherwise it will turn out mushy.

*Instead of spinach you can use morning glory (ka zun yet).

*Drizzle the salad with sesame oil, if you prefer.