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Crab and Spinach Doria
November 2022
Reading time 2 Minutes
People who assume all Japanese food is light and fresh are often taken aback by doria, an indulgent rice gratin that first gained popularity in Yokohama in the 1930s. Nowadays, doria are firmly part of the yōshoku canon and are made with a very wide variety of toppings. This recipe might more correctly be called a gratin rather than a doria, because doria contains a sauce - béchamel, tomato, bolognese, curry, etc. In this case, a generous amount of cream is mixed with the crab, spinach and cheese topping, so it sort of self-sauces as it melts. Whatever you call it, it's really good and an incredibly indulgent and satisfying meal.
2 as main or 4 with side dishes
  • 150 g crab meat (half-half white and brown meat is ideal)
  • 120 g frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (or about 180 g fresh spinach, blanched, squeezed dry and chopped)
  • 70 g grated mozzarella
  • 30 g grated Emmental
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 4 tablespoons double cream
  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Several shakes of Old Bay (optional)
  • Quite a lot of pepper
  • a little butter, for greasing
  • 2 portions of cooked rice
  • 1 egg
  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, to garnish

Preheat a fan oven to 180°C/gas 4. Mix together all of the ingredients except the butter, rice, egg and parsley. Ensure everything is well combined and in particular be mindful that there are no un-mixed lumps of miso.

Lightly grease a gratin dish with the butter, then press the cooked rice into the base of the dish in a compact, solid layer. Scoop an egg-sized divot out of the middle of the rice and crack the egg into it.

Spoon the crabby cheese mix over the entire surface of the rice – take care when covering the egg, so that you don’t break the yolk. This can now be covered and refrigerated until ready to cook and serve, for up to three days.

If you’ve just assembled this using hot or warm rice, bake the gratin in the oven for 18 minutes; if you’ve used cold rice, or prepped the whole thing ahead and taken it out of the refrigerator, bake for 22 minutes until the cheese has melted and lightly browned, but the egg is still runny.

Garnish with the chopped parsley just before serving while still piping hot.

JapanEasy Bowls & Bento by Tim Anderson (Hardie Grant, £25), Photography © Laura Edwards

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