Zousui 雑炊

japanese cake

Rice porridge with chicken and shiitake mushroom 鶏肉と椎茸の雑炊

This is a variation of rice porridge or “okayu” お粥.  “Okayu” is usually made from uncooked rice and it takes a long time to cook and usually there are no other items in it. On the other hand, “zosui” 雑炊 means to “cook various items together”. The most typical way of having “zosui” is to add cooked rice to the remaining broth at the end of a “nabe” dish, especially “Muzutaki” or “Yosebabe” . This broth contains all the goodness of the vegetables and other ingredients cooked in the nabe. Adding the rice to make a savory porridge or “zousui” is one way to end your nabe feast. I often make this dish even when we did not have a “nabe” dish and it is a perfect way to end your Izakaya feast. Here I used left over “frozen” cooked rice we keep handy in the freezer (we portion the rice and put it in a Ziploc bag and freeze.)  The broth is a simple “dashi” or, in a pinch, you could use Japanese instant granulated dashi powder. Add a pinch of salt to the liquid. The proportion of broth to rice depends on how soupy you like the porridge to be but I usually use equal amounts of rice and liquid. I happened to have individual earthenware pots with a lid which is actually a rice bowl designed for making individual porridge servings. You could also use any small deep pan. You can add any vegetables. Here, I added thin (1/4 inch) daikon slices quartered, thin round slices of carrot, broccoli, and sliced Shiitake mushroom. If you have raw chicken (breast meat is good), you cut it into thin bite size pieces and add it toward the end of the cooking. I simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice becomes a nice porridge consistency.  I happened to have cooked chicken (grilled chicken breast) when I made this. I added the chicken and broccoli and eggs 5 minutes before the cooking is completed. The egg yolk has to be runny. You could add anything (any vegetables, shrimp, chicken, tofu etc) to this dish but an egg is a must.

I served this with a trio of condiments. They are 1) store-bought “takuan” pickled diakon radish was sliced and julienned and mixed with some soy sauce (it was too sweet as commercial “takuan” often is.) (top), 2) “Kelp tsukudani” that I made from left-over kelp when I made simmered daikon dish (middle), 3) “Bainiku” from umeboshi or salted plum (bottom). Mix any of these condiments, break the runny egg yolk and enjoy.

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