Brown rice and shi­itake con­gee with rayu

The Guardian - Feast - - Feast -

Prep Cook Serves 20 min 1 hr 4

80ml veg­etable oil 8 spring onions, 6 finely chopped, 2 finely sliced, to serve 4cm piece fresh gin­ger, peeled and finely minced

6 gar­lic cloves, peeled and finely minced


180g short-grain brown rice

50g dried shi­itake mush­rooms, roughly chopped 150g rain­bow radishes, cut into thin rounds

2 tbsp rice-wine vine­gar

½ tsp caster sugar 50g crispy shal­lots, shop-bought or home­made

For the rayu

1 tsp aleppo chilli flakes (or ½ tsp if us­ing a spicier chilli flake)

1½ tbsp sweet pep­per flakes 1½ tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

1 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted

2½ tsp grated tan­ger­ine zest 2½ tbsp soy sauce

Rayu is a Ja­panese chilli oil of­ten en­joyed with rice, ra­men or gy­oza. My take on it in­cludes tan­ger­ine zest, which sweet­ens and en­riches the oil. Make it even if you’re not do­ing the con­gee and keep it in the fridge for when­ever you need a bit of ex­tra spice on your food.

Put the oil, chopped onions, gin­ger, gar­lic and a quar­ter-tea­spoon of salt in a large, high-sided saute pan on a medium heat. Fry for 12 min­utes, stir­ring of­ten, un­til soft and very aro­matic; turn down the heat if it be­gins to colour or siz­zle too much. Strain through a sieve and re­serve the oil. Re­turn half the drained solids to the pan, and put the oil and the rest of the spring onion mix­ture in a small bowl.

In two batches, blitz the rice in a spice grinder or pulse in a food pro­ces­sor, un­til the grains are bro­ken up. Add the shi­itake in two to three batches, and pulse un­til chopped into roughly 1cm pieces. Tip the rice mix into the spring onion pan and put on a medi­umhigh heat. Add a litre and a half of wa­ter, a tea­spoon and a quar­ter of salt, bring to a sim­mer, then lower the heat to medium and leave to cook for 30 min­utes, stir­ring of­ten, un­til it’s very well cooked and the con­sis­tency of wet por­ridge.

While the rice is cook­ing, put the radishes in a bowl with the vine­gar, sugar and a quar­ter-tea­spoon of salt, and leave to pickle lightly.

Stir all the rayu in­gre­di­ents into the bowl with the re­served spring onion and oil mix­ture.

Di­vide the cooked rice be­tween four bowls and top each por­tion with rayu. Gar­nish with the pick­led radishes, sliced spring onions and crispy shal­lots, and serve.

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