When I posted Chicken rice 鶏飯, I mentioned that if “鶏飯” is pronounced as “tori-meshi” とりめし instead of “keihan” けいはん, it means an all together different dish, which is the dish I am posting here. “Cooked rice” in a polite form in Japanese is “gohan” ご飯, so you could also call this dish, more politely, “Tori-gohan” 鶏ご飯. This is a flavored rice with pieces of chicken. There are many variations and the size and the amount of chicken in this dish also varies. This is my rendition.
The amount below is for 3 cups (Japanese cup, which is about 180ml, ones come with a Japanese rice cooker) of raw rice which serves 4-6 people (or 10 of us).
Vegetables: I used ginger root (one thin sliver, skin removed and minced), gobo 牛蒡 or burdock root (1/2), and carrot (1 small). For gobo, after scraping off the dark skin of the gobo using the back of the knife under running water, I cut it into small, thin, “small bamboo leaf shape” which is called “sasagaki” 笹掻き cutting (“sasa” 笹 is a type of small bamboo). This is a very common way to cut root vegetables, especially gobo. You do this by shaving the end of burdock like you are sharpening a pencil (I am not sure how many of you actually shaved and sharpened a lead pencil encapsulated in wood cylinder, i.e. an old fashioned pencil, using a knife). Here is a visual aid for “sasagaki”. I put the sasagaki cut burdock in acidulated water (with rice vinegar) immediately. I changed the water several times and let it drain (to reduce the pungent smell/taste and prevent discoloration). I also cut a carrot (one small) in the same way as the gobo. If you like, you could add, a deep fried tofu pouch (abura-age), shiitake mushroom, and/or lotus root (renkon 蓮根); all cut into small pieces.
Seasoning: I added vegetable oil (1 tbs) in a frying pan on medium heat and first cooked the chicken. When the surface of the chicken became opaque, I added the burdock and carrot and sauteed them for 1-2 minutes. I then added sake (3 tbs), mirin (2 tbs) and soy sauce (2 tbs) and cooked for 1 minute or so. Using a colander or strainer, I separated the solids from the liquid (preserving both separately).
Cooking: This time I used an electric rice cooker but I could have used a Donabe rice cooker. To set up the rice cooker, I added the washed and drained rice and then added the seasoning liquid reserved from cooking the chicken and other ingredients. I then brought the liquid level up to the 3 cup mark by adding dashi broth (or water). I added the chicken and vegetables and stirred it once or twice. I then cooked it like regular rice. After it finished cooking I let it steep for 10-15 minutes (see picture below). With a rice paddle, I stirred the rice and other items (in Japanese culinary parlance, these are called “gu” 具).
Serving: You usually want to add some greens to this dish. Cooked green beans cut into small segments, green pea, snow pea or snap pea can be added as a garnish. In my case, I added a chiffonade of perilla and nori.