Here’s the second recipe from our Japanese curry bento: salty-sweet-sticky glazed pumpkin with toasted sesame seeds. This is a super comforting side dish and a total snap to make, requiring only 3 ingredients in addition to the pumpkin itself. It’s quick braised in the glaze on the stove top which I think is a total genius move since I’m used to thinking that anytime I cook fresh pumpkin, I’m going to need to turn on the oven….. and wait.
Have you seen the book “Everyday Harumi“? I’m kind of obsessed with it right now. In a nutshell: simple, comforting Japanese recipes that are great for a beginner like me who’s still figuring out one miso from the next. Her book has a nice primer on Japanese pantry basics (how to make dashi and ponzu for instance) and the recipes are pretty simple once you’ve stocked your pantry. With Harumi’s guiding hand, we’ve started exploring new aisles at the Asian supermarket and I’ve found willing eaters to experiment on because my husband and the boys love any meal that has the possibility of soy sauce and/or rice.
My whole family gives two enthusiastic thumbs up for her Three Topping Rice recipe. It’s a bowl full of comfort food yum and a great place to start a Japanese home cooking adventure. The recipe has the bonus of being fab dinner-lunch “one two punch”. Our leftover rice and toppings turned into a fun school lunch (and Stacie lunch) of rice balls which was a welcome departure from the usual fixins. The baby enjoyed his Three Topping Rice (minus the eggs) mashed up with a little chicken broth.
Do check out the book when you have the chance. I’m eager to cook my way through it this summer so f you’ve given any of her recipes a try, let us know which ones are your favorites.
Harumi’s Three Topping Rice
(adapted from Everyday Harumi)
- Pantry items: Dashi (or your favorite stock), Mirin, Sake, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Sushi Rice, Sesame Seeds (for your leftover rice balls)
- Fresh ingredients: Minced Chicken Thigh (1/2 pound will do), Eggs (one per person is a good place to start), Green Beans (as many as you like)
- Bring the following ingredients to a simmer 1 1/2 cups of dashi stock (you could use chicken or vegetable stock. I used a miso-dashi paste mixed with water), 2 TBL soy sauce, 1 TBL sake, and 1 TBL mirin. I forgot to buy sake and mirin, so I used 2 TBL of rice wine vinegar. Add 1/2 pound of minced chicken thigh and let it poach for several minutes. Strain off the chicken, keeping the poaching liquid to cook the rice. You can do this step ahead.
- Blanch green beans until tender crisp and then plunge them into cold water to stop their cooking. When cool, drain them well, slice on the diagonal into bite-sized pieces and set aside. You can do this step ahead. The cooked beans store well in the refrigerator in a plastic container lined with a damp paper towel.
- Top off the poaching liquid with dashi (stock or water) until you have 1 2/3 cup. Add this to a rice cooker and add 11 oz of washed and drained sushi rice. If you don’t have a rice cooker boil the rice for 10 minutes in a covered pot, then take it off the heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes to finish cooking.
- To a saucepan add 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 TBL mirin (again I used rice wine vinegar), 2 TBL of sugar and 1 TBL sake (I omitted it). Simmer the poached chicken in the sauce, stirring often until the liquid is gone, approximately 5-10 minutes.
- In a separate pan scramble several eggs. Harumi suggests adding a pinch of salt and sugar and a dash of sake. I used salt and sesame oil.
- Arrange the rice on the platter and top with each of the three ingredients. It makes a prettier presentation to keep the toppings separate rather than mixing them. This also works better for kids like my son who don’t like mixed up food.