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Rice with chicken and dandelion greens

Rice with chicken and dandelion greens
Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

It always gives me great comfort to know that when I cannot think of what to make for dinner, I can always rely on rice and everything else will eventually fall into place. Many Japanese plan their daily menu this ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes plus soaking time for the rice | Serves 4

Rice with chicken and dandelion greens

  • 3/4 cup brown rice, sprouted brown rice or any whole-grain rice
  • 1 cup short- or medium-grain white rice
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water for a single-lidded donabe, or 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water if using a double-lidded donabe or electric rice cooker
  • 3 cups washed and loosely packed dandelion, shungiku or spinach leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 cup prepared dashi broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • Salt, optional
  • 1/2 bunch finely chopped chives or thinly sliced shiso, kizami nori (thin-sliced pressed seaweed),
  • 1/4 cup salted black sesame seeds or roasted sesame seeds and/or 1/2 cup thinly sliced beni shoga or amazu shoga (pickled ginger) for garnish (optional)

Step 1In a medium bowl, soak the brown rice in enough water to cover for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Step 2Wash the short-grain rice well using a colander or strainer. Set aside for 15 minutes to drain completely.

Step 3Drain the brown rice and place in the donabe or electric rice cooker with the rinsed short-grain rice and the measured water to soak for 20 minutes.

Step 4Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the dandelion greens just until wilted and bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain well, squeezing out any excess moisture, and finely chop. Set aside.

Step 5While the rice is cooking, heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, then the chicken, and fry until the chicken is crumbly and loose, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar and grated ginger and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.

Step 6When the rice has rested, remove the lid. Fold in the chopped greens, gently scooping rice from the bottom of the cooker using a paddle or spatula. Season to taste with salt if desired.

Step 7Mound the rice in a serving bowl and top with the warm chicken. Garnish with the topping(s) of your choice. Serve immediately.

Dashi broth

    Step 1To make the broth, steep 1 (2-inch) piece of kombu (dried seaweed) in 3 cups water over medium heat just until the water comes to a rapid simmer (it must not boil).

    Step 2Remove from heat and discard the kombu; cool the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Step 3Stir in 1 cup dried bonito flakes and allow the broth to steep just until the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the liquid, about 10 minutes.

    Step 4Strain the mixture using a fine-mesh strainer, being careful not to press the liquid from the bonito as this will cloud the broth. This makes 2 1/2 cups broth, more than is needed for the recipe; the remaining broth will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated.


    For a single-lidded donabe: Cover with the lid and place on the stove over medium-high heat. Cook until the water comes to a slow boil, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and rest, covered, for 20 minutes. Try not to open the lid too often during the cooking process as this releases the steam and disrupts the cooking process.

    For a double-lidded donabe: Cover with both lids (make sure the inner lid's ventilation hole is at a 90-degree angle relative to the hole on the outer lid). Place the donabe on the stove over medium-high heat. Cook until the water comes to a boil and steam comes rapidly from the outer ventilation hole. Remove from heat and rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

    For an electric rice cooker: Follow the manufacturer's instructions, but make sure the rice steams at least 15 minutes with the lid closed. Rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

    Note: The method and ingredients for this recipe vary depending on the cooking vessel you use. Instructions are given for both a single- and double-lidded donabe, as well as an electric rice cooker. Kombu, bonito flakes, shungiku (Japanese spinach), mirin, shiso leaves, kizami nori and pickled ginger are widely available at Asian markets.


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