It was dinner time, and Jen and I were super hungry. Not wanting to spend the money on delivery food, I opened my pantry, pulled out a bag of rice, and sat on my kitchen floor. I wondered to myself what I could do to elevate this simple ingredient. I smelled the rice, and the perfumed, almost nutty flavor reminded me in that moment of the toasted green tea I had just bought. I decided I'd cook the rice in green tea, and use some dried shiitakes and kombu to make a mushroom and soy dashi, which is a delicious and salty broth. I almost always keep dried mushrooms on hand for moments like this- usually I make ramen with them, but they often come in handy for last minute meals and stocks. I had also recently discovered that Trader Joe's began selling black garlic, so I had a pouch laying around at the time. It turned out to be the perfect tangy bite this soup needed.
DON'T LET THE NUMBER OF STEPS OVERWHELM YOU! This dish is extremely easy to make, and it can be done in roughly 30 minutes.
5 cups water
10-15 dried shiitakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
2x3 inch piece of kombu, rinsed thoroughly under warm water
Po Lo Ku Mushroom Seasoning to taste (I use this in place of salt, but you could just use salt)
Step 1. Dump everything in a large pot and bring to a boil
Step 2. After in comes to a boil, bring it down to a simmer
Step 3. Cover and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the Kombu out and discard after about 10 minutes, and the mushrooms out after 20. Do not discard the mushrooms!
You'll want to cook your rice while the broth simmers.
2 cups + 2 tablespoons water
4 Green Tea Bags
1 cup of your favorite rice (I use organic Mekong flower brown rice)
Step 1. Bring water to a simmer
Step 2. Steep the tea according to instructions, then remove the bags
Step 3. Cook rice in the green tea according to package instructions, adding salt if you'd like. I like to cook mine a little bit al dente since it will be sitting in broth as it's served.
All of the mushrooms from the broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup of dashi broth
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of your knife
Step 1. Pull the mushrooms out of the broth after about 20 minutes
Step 2. Wait until they cool a little bit, and then squeeze all the excess liquid out of them back into the dashi pot
Step 3. Cut the stems off of the mushrooms and slice them into thin strips
Step 4. Combine all of the other liquid ingredients in a small pot and bring it to a simmer.
Step 5. Drop the mushrooms in the pickling liquid and let them simmer for 5-10 minutes, until they've taken on a slightly tart, slightly sweet, salty taste. The liquid should cover all of the mushrooms, If it doesn't, just use less mushrooms, or add more soy sauce, mirin, vinegar and dashi.
Step 6. Take the mushrooms out, let them cool a bit and then strain them in a mesh strainer.
Note: I press out the liquid with my hands or the back of a ladle.
1 radish, sliced thin
1 fresh scallion, sliced thin
2 black garlic cloves, sliced thin
Step 1. Plate a large spoonful of rice in the center of a bowl
Step 2. Lay sliced radishes, picled shiitakes, and black garlic over the rice
Step 3. Pour in a ladle full of dashi around the edges of the rice. Repeat until there's enough liquid to reach just below the top of the rice
Step 4. Sprinkle scallions on top and serve