Feb 25, 2021

Japanese Hijiki No Takikomi Gohan ひじきの炊き込みご飯

This is what I called a "one pot fix" recipe. Basically adding all the ingredients to the rice cooker, simply press the button and less than one hour, you'll have a nutritious and colorful meal. Easy cleaning and definitely hassle free.

This recipe calls for a lighter-tasting takikomi gohan, which was done on purpose. That way, I can still serve the rice with other side dishes, perhaps some tsukemono too. It won't leave you with an overly-salty feeling after downing two bowls of rice. However, if you want to enjoy the takikomi gohan only, no other dishes involved, simply pump up the tsuyu to 3 tablespoons plus some powdered dashi, or use light stock instead of water for a flavor boost.

Japanese hijiki no takikomi gohan ひじきの炊き込みご飯 -

Ingredients (about 5 portions)?

  • 3 rice cups short grain white rice
  • 1/3 cup dried hijiki seaweed
  • 1/2 medium carrot
  • 1 big piece aburaage 
  • 50 grams peas
  • 2 tablespoons triple-condensed tsuyu
  • 1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon mirin


To be exact, the hijiki I've got here is "芽ひじき," not the 長ひじき. Both are basically the same but the 芽 or the bud one apparently should be more tender compared to the 長, the long version made from the stems. 

Soak the dried hijiki with cold water for 20 to 30 minutes. Once ready, drain and set aside.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add in the peas and cook for about one minute. Drain and set aside. Peel and julienne the carrot.

Change water and bring to a boil again. Add in the aburaage. A quick 10 seconds will do. Drain and press out extra liquid. Cut in half first then cut into strips.

Pour the rice to the rice cooker. I'm using a Japanese brand rice cooker, it's fairly new and capable of getting a crispy crunch bottom when making takikomi gohan. Rinse the rice a few times then drain out the liquid. 

Add in 2 tablespoons of tsuyu, 1 tablespoon of rice cooking wine, and 1 tablespoon of mirin. Use more tsuyu plus some dashi powder too for a heavier taste.

Add in carrot, aburaage, hijiki, mix till blended. Pour in water or light stock till almost the same height as these solid ingredients.

Transfer to the rice cooker. I selected the function for takikomi gohan. If such option is not available, simply press the usual start cooking button will do.

Once done cooking, take out the inner pot and fluff the rice. See the crispy bottom thanks to my rice cooker's takikomi gohan function?

Mix in precooked peas. The rice is ready to serve. 

One thing about prepping one pot mixed rice is that we tend to add way too much water as it supposed to, especially for people who are unfamiliar with such recipe. Keep in mind that these ingredients used all contain water in it, so during the process, they'll release some moisture too. So don't judge the amount of water or stock used by looking at the scales on the side of the inner pot. As for me, I usually just pour in the liquid till it reaches the same or the most a wee bit higher to the solid ingredients. It's better to be on the drier side than overly soggy rice in the end.

I'd like to serve it with some tsukemono or soup. Miso soup works great by the way. If you can grill up a fish to eat along with, even better.

Extended reading:

Feb 19, 2021

Chicken and Shrimp Tagliatelle in Creamy Saffron Sauce

Happy Lunar New Year! Saying goodbye to mouse, this time, it's the year of the ox. Even though I'm not posting fancy Chinese meal that echoes the holiday, how about something fancy western-wise? I'm going to use saffron, one of the most expensive spices in the world in this pasta recipe. Saffron has this distinct hay-like note that I absolutely adore, and it's quite aromatic. This recipe only calls for 0.2 gram of saffron threads, and the whole pasta was infused with such pleasing note. I would love to use 0.5 grams if I have enough stock at home though. Wanna guess how much my tiny bit 0.2 gram organic saffron threads cost? I'll announce the answer in the end of this recipe.

Chicken and shrimp tagliatelle in creamy saffron sauce -

Ingredients (about 5 portions)?

  • 1 pack/500 grams tagliatelle
  • 0.2 gram/0.007 oz saffron threads
  • 350 grams chicken breast
  • 150 grams shrimps (peeled/deveined)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 200ml heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper
  • Some flat leaf parsley


Look at this tiny pack of costly saffron threads.

Peel and dice the onion. Peel and chop the garlic clove. Finely chop the flat leaf parsley. Grate the cheese. Peel and devein the shrimps. 

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add in few pinches of salt and cook the pasta till nearly al dente. Once ready, drain and set aside for later use.

Season chicken breasts with some salt and black pepper on both sides. 

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a big pan or a Dutch oven, turn to medium high heat. Once the surface warms up, transfer chicken over and sear till both sides turn slightly colored.

Don't move the chicken too soon, let it sear for a little while before flipping to the other side. It can better prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom. Once done searing, remove the chicken and let it cool off. Slice into large bite size pieces. Set aside for later use.

Use the same pan or the same Dutch oven, still under medium high heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter along with onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Give it a quick stir once a while. Sear till the onion turns translucent.

Add in garlic and shrimps, cook about 30 seconds.

Pour in heavy whipping cream and wine. Also add in saffron threads. Lower the heat a little if the mixture starts to boil. Cook for about 1 minute.

Add in lemon juice and about 1/4 cup grated cheese. Also add the chicken back to the mixture along with 1 more teaspoon of salt. Cook for another minute or so.

Mix in pasta and toss till fully combined with the sauce. Taste and see if more seasonings are needed. Cook till pasta reaches al dente texture. Plate and garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley. Also sprinkle some of the remaining grated cheese throughout right before serving.

Remember to use "aged" Parmigiano-Reggiano, the aroma can be significantly better and brings more depth compared to the pre-grated tubed variety sold at a much cheaper price. I used 60-months aged Parmigiano-Reggiano here.

So back to the price of my tiny bit 0.2 gram/0.007 oz organic saffron. It was about $9! Not even one gram and sold for $9, but I would repurchase over and over again though. I'm truly a sucker for saffron.

Other pasta recipes: