We love going out for sushi, but we’re just as happy with Japanese home cooking, at home. When Emma was in pre-school she was friendly with a little boy whose mother is Japanese. I asked her to teach me how to make miso soup from scratch, and also this dish, which I’d had at a Japanese grill. One thing led to another. I bought Japanese home-cooking cookbooks and spent hours trying to distinguish among all the ingredients. Funnier/more stressful was the shopping part. Nothing is in English at the Japanese markets–not the name of the product, not the ingredients, not the directions–and you’re hard put to find someone who speaks English, at least in Los Angeles. So, I’d have to take an old wrapper from something I bought when I was with my friend and match it up to stuff on the shelves. Imagine what it’s like when I try something new from a cookbook–I bring the book with me, open to the recipe page and either have to match the Japanese letters or the name of the product to what I’m trying to buy. I’m sure I look insane. I certainly feel insane.
This is Emma’s all-time favorite dinner….
(serves 3 or 4)
1 recipe ground chicken
1 recipe Japanese white rice (I use Tamaki Gold)
1 recipe eggs
Minced green onion…or blanched green beans, sliced in half on the diagonal…for garnish
2 cups water
1 lb. ground chicken
6 T soy sauce
6 T sugar
Put water and chicken in a pot, bring to boil, mixing constantly. Simmer until the water begins to reduce, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the soy sauce and mix well. Cook for about 6 more minutes, add the sugar, mix well, and simmer for another 3 or 4 minutes. There will be liquid left in the pot, so you’ll need a slotted spoon to remove.
2 cups water
1 cup Japanese white rice
Rinse the rice thoroughly in a strainer. Place water and rice in a covered pot and bring to a boil, then immediately turn down and simmer until water dissolves, approximately 20 minutes (check, but don’t let too much steam escape). Turn off heat and let sit for at least 15 minutes. NOTE: Of course, you can use a Japanese rice steamer, but I don’t have one…and this is how my friend taught me.
1 T rice vinegar (I use Marukan)
3 T sugar
Pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spray a non-stick pot with canola oil. Pour in the egg mixture and cook, on medium heat—you need six chopsticks (three sets), arrange them in your hand so they fan out as widely as possible and stir the eggs constantly until just done. Do not overcook. They will resemble scrambled eggs, but will be lighter in color and texture from the stir-technique.
Divide the rice among the bowls. Spoon drained chicken onto one side of each bowl; spoon egg onto other side. Garnish with minced green onion or blanched, sliced (on diagonal) green bean.