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Donburi with Chicken and Mushrooms The Rice Book (new edition) by Sri Owen is published by Bloomsbury Publishing 28th September (Hardback, £30). Photography by Yuki Sugiura.
January 2024
Reading time 2 Minutes

This is my favourite way of making a donburi, or Japanese 'rice bowl' dish. It may not be authentically Japanese, but it is quite irresistible even so

You can of course omit the wine, or use mirin instead, but remember that mirin is much sweeter. As with any donburi, the topping can be stored in the fridge, separately from the rice, for up to 48 hours, before the two components are brought together and reheated in a microwave: give each serving two to three minutes on full power.
  • 450g short-grain rice, ideally Japanese (or soft long-grain rice, such as jasmine)
  • 30g dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Hot water, for soaking
  • 115g fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 50g butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, cut into very thin strips
  • 2.5cm ginger, peeled and cut into very thin strips
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and cut into very thin strips
  • 400g chicken thigh meat (reserve the skin and bones for the stock), cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 125ml dry white wine or
  • 2 tbsp mirin (optional)
  • 5 spring onions, trimmed and cut into thin strips
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the rice, ideally timing it so the rice is still warm when the chicken and mushroom topping is ready.

Rinse the dried shiitakes well, then soak in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain, then trim off the stalks (reserving both soaking water and stalks for stock) and thinly slice the caps. Cut the stalks off the fresh mushrooms and thinly slice the caps.

To make the stock, put the bones and skin from the chicken thighs into a saucepan. Add the mushroom soaking water and the mushroom stalks, pour in 900ml of cold water and simmer for about one hour. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, measure out 350ml and keep it aside.

In a wok or large frying pan, melt the butter and stir-fry the garlic, ginger and chilli for one to two minutes. Add the chicken strips and stir-fry for three minutes, then add the dried and fresh sliced mushrooms and stir-fry for another minute.

Pour in the soy sauce and the wine or mirin, if using. Increase the heat and let it bubble for two minutes, then reduce the heat slightly. Add the stock and simmer for two to three minutes, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Divide the rice among four bowls, then top with the chicken and mushrooms. Sprinkle over the spring onions and serve at once.

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