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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Old Japanese standby still favorite dish

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Columnist

 •  The perfect prune cake
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Meshi, a one-dish dinner made of flavored rice, is a favorite of mine. Here's a modernized version of the meshi found in the 1957 book I wrote about last week, "Japanese Foods," written by the women of the YWCA's Hui Manaolana International Institute. This recipe was contributed to the book by a Mrs. Kyuro Okazaki.

The original recipe suggests you cut all the "gu" (flavoring ingredients) into strips, but I chose to do large dice instead. Also, you can use dried matsutake mushrooms soaked in warm water to rehydrate them, or you can use fresh ones; I used the Hamakua mix of hon-shimeji and oyster mushrooms. If using dry mushrooms, measure after you hydrate them and be sure to save the soaking liquid. The rice used is, of course, Japanese-style short-grain rice.


  • 2 cups raw rice
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup peeled fresh or canned bamboo shoots
  • 2 ounces konnyaku noodles
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons sake (divided use)
  • About 3 cups chicken stock (fresh is best)
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (divided use)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt (if stock is salty, omit or reduce salt, divided use)
  • 4 tablespoons reduced sodium shoyu (divided use)
  • 2 ounces kamaboko (fish cake)
  • Sugar snap peas or frozen green peas for garnish

    Wash rice and soak in water to cover for at least 4 hours. Slice or chop chicken, mushrooms (reserve liquid if using dried mushrooms), bamboo shoots, konnyaku and carrot. In a medium saute pan, melt butter and saute chicken until it begins to turn white. Add bamboo shoots, carrot and konnyaku and cook 2 minutes. Combine the liquid from the soaking mushrooms, 1 tablespoon sake and enough chicken stock to make 1/2 cup. Add to chicken mixture, along with matsutake, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons shoyu. Add kamaboko and cook until ingredients are well-seasoned.

    Measure 1 3/4 cups stock into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons shoyu. Drain rice well and add to boiling stock; stir, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and steam, covered, 15 minutes. Add cooked ingredients on top of rice and steam, covered, 10 more minutes. Gently mix to evenly distribute gu (flavoring ingredients) in meshi. Serve hot in donburi bowls. Garnish at the last minute with parboiled sugar snap peas or green peas.

    Serves 4 as entree, 6 as side dish.

  • Per serving (as entree): 540 calories, 5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,500 mg sodium, 94 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 18 g protein

    Send recipes and queries to Wanda A. Adams, Food Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802. Fax: 525-8055. E-mail: wadams@honoluluadvertiser.com.

    For more information about our 150th anniversary cookbook, call 535-8189 (message phone; your call will be returned). You can pre-order the cookbook online.