Japanese Rice with Edamame and Sea Greens

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 30 minutes

If you haven’t yet discovered the wonders of sea greens (you might call them seaweed), this is your opportunity. And please try dashi here: It adds a complex flavor that simply can’t be replaced and shouldn’t be missed.

Though it can be eaten on its own, this rice is great with Stir-Fried Vegetables, or any straightforward tofu dish. A few pinches of Japanese Seven-Spice Mix or Citrus Sprinkle on top add great flavor.

11/2 cups short-grain white rice or parcooked brown (see Brown Rice)

Kombu Dashi or water as needed

4 dried shiitake mushrooms

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (see The Nut and Seed Lexicon)

Dash dark sesame oil

Soy sauce

1 cup shelled edamame

1/2 cup soaked and chopped hijiki, wakame, or kombu

Put the rice in a pot with a lid; add enough dashi to cover the rice by about an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so that it bubbles gently, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the shiitakes in hot water to cover. When they’re soft, chop them roughly and toss their water into the rice.

Add the shiitakes, onion, sesame seeds, sesame oil and soy to taste, edamame, and hijiki to the rice and continue to cook until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (you don’t want it soupy, but not dry either), about 15 minutes. Taste and add sesame oil and soy sauce as necessary. Serve hot or at room temperature or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (reheat or bring back to room temperature and stir in a little sesame oil just before serving).

Variations

Japanese Rice with Tomato and Fermented Black Beans. Totally unorthodox and really delicious: Add 11/2 cups chopped tomato (or about a 12-ounce can, drained) in Step 2 and substitute 1/4 cup rinsed fermented black beans for the edamame.

Sushi-Style Rice with Edamame and Shiso. Shiso adds a mysterious flavor: Omit the onion, sesame oil, and soy sauce; add 4 or 5 shiso leaves. In a small pan, combine 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, and a tablespoon of salt; heat until the sugar is dissolved and set aside. Proceed with the recipe and then stir in the vinegar mixture and chopped shiso just before serving.

Black Thai Rice with Coconut Milk and Edamame. A savory version of a classic Thai dessert: Use black Thai rice instead of regular white or brown. Substitute unsweetened coconut milk for the dashi or water and omit the shiitakes, sesame oil, and sea greens.