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.
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 (see below)
3 tablespoons soy sauce, more if desired
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons grated ginger
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)
1. In a medium bowl, soak the brown rice in enough water to cover for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
2. Wash the short-grain rice well using a colander or strainer. Set aside for 15 minutes to drain completely.
3. Drain 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.
4. Meanwhile, 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.
5. 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.
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.
6. While the rice is cooking, heat a medium sauté 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.
7. When 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.
8. Mound the rice in a serving bowl and top with the warm chicken. Garnish with the topping(s) of your choice. Serve immediately.
Dashi broth1. To 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).
2. Remove from heat and discard the kombu; cool the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Stir 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.
4. Strain 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.
Each serving: 500 calories; 26 grams protein; 67 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 75 mg. cholesterol; 857 mg. sodium.