Takikomi Gohan しいたけと鶏の炊き込みご飯 (Rice steamed with shiitake and chicken)

takikomi_gSpring vegetables are nowhere to be seen yet, so the only comfort one may find in the kitchen is a new exciting dish with winter ingredients that start to become boring. The discovery of takikomi gohan has not only made me forget that mushrooms and carrots have been my staples of last months, but it has also unveiled a whole new world of potential experiments with what I see as a  lazier cousin of fried rice.

Takikomi gohan (炊き込みご飯) is a Japanese rice-based dish where all the ingredients are steamed together in a rice cooker or in a pan (for those who have mastered rice steaming in a pan). Its variations are infinite, they can change according to the season, to the fridge content, one’s preferences and for me the only limit would be not using the ingredients that become too soft during the steaming process (for example, I would never use courgette or French beans here). In short, I’m enchanted by this one-pot dish that doesn’t require much attention or efforts.

I found this recipe whole looking for new ways to use up my big stock of fresh shiitake mushrooms. I stumbled upon a video on Cooking with Dog, the food channel many of you know probably very well and didn’t look anywhere else. As always, the procedure is well explained and yields delicious results. I have made several modifications, also adjusting the amounts to a dish for two, so check the original recipe here.

TIPS: Normally you will end up with a thicker or thinner sticky, slightly burnt layer at the bottom, formed by juices, marinade liquids and rice. I must say I was scared at first that maybe my European rice-cooker reacted badly to this new method, but according to my Japanese friend A. it’s normal and for many people it’s the best part of this dish, so don’t worry if it happens to you too and enjoy the crunchy bits!

Since all the marinade juices ended up in a sticky layer at the bottom, my rice was barely seasoned, so I have added some soy sauce before serving.

You can easily make this vegetarian, skipping the chicken and adding more mushrooms.

I don’t like mushy carrots, so I have cut them into thick pieces. It’s up to you how big the pieces will be of course.

If you don’t like fresh ginger (I know some people find it soapy…) you can very well skip it. It’s far from necessary here.

Preparation: about 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves two):

1 Japanese cup of rice (180ml)

200 g shiitake mushrooms

1 medium carrot

1 small chicken breast

1 piece of konbu (about 4-5 cm long)

1 teaspoon of ginger, very finely shredded


3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or less if you use normal soy sauce)

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon mirin

30 ml dashi (Japanese stock)

fresh herbs to put on top before serving (mitsuba would be perfect, but you can add also chives or green onions)

more soy sauce

Cut up the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces (slices or chunks).

Put into the marinade.

Wash the rice until the water in the bowl is clear (I usually rinse it three-four times and soak it for 30 minutes if I have time, but I admit skipping the soaking stage quite often), put into the rice-cooker, add water as required and the konbu sheet.

Cut the carrot into bigger or smaller pieces, depending on how soft you want it to be.

Slice bigger shiitake caps and remove tough stalks (small shiitake have soft stalks, so you don’t have to remove them).

Add the shiitake, the carrots and the ginger to the marinating chicken and coat well.

Place the vegetables and the chicken mixture on top of the rice in the rice cooker, close and cook as usually.

Before serving remove the konbu, then stir well the ingredients in the rice-cooker.
Add soy sauce and serve.

22 Replies to “Takikomi Gohan しいたけと鶏の炊き込みご飯 (Rice steamed with shiitake and chicken)”

  1. What a beautiful and fresh looking dish Sissi. I just love the fresh sprig of parsley on it, the green is gorgeous. We’re in the middle of a snow storm as I type this, tonight we’re expecting freezing rain, not a pretty time of year.

  2. Looks very authentic! Nostalgia sets in and little bit melancholic because it reminds me that I miss Japan a lot. I definitely try this!

    1. (Ooops, I have mixed up your comments 🙂 ) Thank you so much! I am not surprised such a dish makes you a bit melancholic… it feels like homely comforting food, even to me.

  3. Takikomi gohan is comfort food especially in the fall and winter. (In the spring, you may want to use bamboo shoots to make takenoko gohan.) Those crunchy bits at the bottom of the okama (inner pot) are called okogo おこげ. Most people like to have some of them.
    If mushy ingredients are an issue for you, you can always apply the “mazekomi gohan” technique (cook separately and add after the rice is cooked).

    1. Hi, Hiroyuki. Thank you for the advice. I did think about it, but for me mazekomi gohan loses the “magical” (and lazy) touch of takikomi gohan 😉 If I ever see fresh bamboo shoots here, I’ll definitely try takenoko gohan of course!

  4. What a beautiful rice dish! Love the picture Sissi! Makes me hungry and definitely makes me want to make this which is what food photography is all about. Steamed rice is something that I’ve never tried and when you say, “if you’ve mastered it”, it make me worry. 🙂 I do hate gummy rice, unless it’s a sweet rice, but I do like dish where you just put everything in the pot and let it cook. You’ve inspired me to do a little research on steamed rice and get it a try. Like where you are, mushrooms and carrots and other root vegetables are pretty much what I can find at the market nowadays. Oh I hope the greens come in soon and the asparagus. Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend!!

    1. Thanks a lot, MJ for such a kind comment with soooo many compliments! I was worried about the messiness of this dish when I was taking the photograph… I have tried to steam rice in a pan maybe twice. Burnt the pan twice. This is when I decided to buy a rice cooker, but I will learn how to steam it in a pan one day. Many people say it tastes better.
      Oh, asparagus! I also dream about it!!! I cook it in so many ways… and every season my asparagus dishes list is longer and longer…

  5. Oh Sissi! I wish I have a bowl of this dish – such a comfort food for us Japanese! I especially love when the rice is cooked and open the rice cooker… the steam and all the dashi fragrance… so delicious! I like that your takikomi gohan include chicken and shiitake. Both give very nice umami in the rice. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Nami. You are right! I have forgotten to mention the aroma! It was wonderful indeed!

  6. Well I am very intrigued by this method Sissi. I use my rice cooker frequently but never in this way and I think I have to give this experiment a try… I’m drawn to the idea of the marinaded chicken and ginger harmonizing together in the steam. It must be delicious. I don’t always soak my rice either! Your photo is lovely and very emblematic of what I imagine this comfort food to be. ps. I had to smile at your opening sentence because I just completed a post (as in 10 minutes ago) where I talk about the abundance of spring vegetables now available! (well, at least you’re getting warm weather, right? the veggies will follow 😀 ).

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. You must try it! It’s like fried rice but without oil and without any effort 😉
      Thank you so much for the kind words about the photograph. We don’t have spring vegetables here yet, alas… (well we do have imported strawberries and asparagus in supermarkets, but I don’t even want to imagine how awful they taste in March…). For now I’m happy to have sun and warmer days!

      1. thanks Sissi, I did try it over the weekend and the method worked very well! It happened to coincide with the first time use of my new rice cooker (a larger ‘family’ sized one — my other one could really only accommodate 1 cup of dry rice at a time) — I was a little bit nervous about steaming 4 chicken breasts (would there be enough room to properly cook them etc) but the chicken was tender and perfectly cooked — my husband was impressed with how it all turned out too and thought it made a really good meal (my marinade was a little different but did the trick). I even bought shiitake mushrooms to go with it (so delicious with that resistant texture – I should buy them more often). Thanks for the great idea Sissi ~ we will definitely do this again.

        1. Thank you so much, Kelly! You know you always make me happy with such kind messages 🙂 I’m glad you tried this dish and liked it. I also loved shiitake even though I am not always crazy about them… I guess they get the perfect texture here (I often end up with them being too chewy or too soft…). I’m sure you will invent great new versions of this Japanese comfort food! Thank you again for the feedback! (It’s funny because I have scaled down my rice cooker a month ago… my old one was very old and huge – 10 cups-so now I have a four-cup one and I never make more than two cups at a time, so there’s still enough space for guests’ portions 😉 ).

  7. This is such a delicate rice dish…I love all the flavors that is incorporated in the rice…love the idea of shiitake mushroom and chicken…
    Thanks for the inspiration Sissi…enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

  8. Looks so delicious Sissi! We funnily have a very similar Chinese dish, and my mum makes a wonderful version of it. It is much simpler in terms of the ingredients, but we either add chinese sausage or dried shrimps for extra flavour, and loads of sesame oil :p It’s a lot punchier and oilier than the light clean version you have, so I’m curious to try this Japanese version soon.

    1. Thank you, Shu Han. I didn’t know something similar existed in Chinese cuisine too! You must post it one day. Dried shrimps sound like an excellent ingredient here and the sausage too… Hmmm… it gives me some new takikomi gohan ideas…

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