Japanese takikomi gohan is a fuss-free way to make a flavorful and satisfying pot of rice. It involves cooking tender ingredients directly on top of the rice—in this case, carrots and mushrooms tossed with soy sauce, mirin and fresh ginger. When the cooking is done, the toppings and rice are stirred together and can be seasoned further. Serve as a side to meat, poultry or seafood, or make it into a light meal on its own by topping it with soft-cooked or fried eggs.


We finish the dish by stirring in butter and miso to boost richness and umami. Assertive red miso is especially good here, but sweeter, milder white miso also is delicious. For the mushrooms, we like the meatiness of shiitakes, but feel free to substitute other varieties of mushrooms, or use a combination.


Use short-grain rice, as it has a satisfying sticky chewiness that holds on to the mix-ins better than less starchy rice. And don’t skip the step of rinsing the rice—rinsing washes away excess starch, which helps prevent the rice from becoming excessively gummy during cooking.

Let the Rice Do the Cooking for You

Japanese Mushroom Rice i45 Technique

The steam generated when cooking a pot of rice can be used to also cook tender mix-ins. Simply layer a variety of tender vegetables, such as baby bok choy, corn, shelled edamame, peas and kimchi, over the rice as it comes to a simmer. Cover and cook until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and the toppings are softened. Be sure the toppings are cut to similar sizes so they cook in the same time.