Mushroom Rice Balls

  • Servings : 4

In Japan, various combinations of vegetables are served as garnishes with rice, or cooked with the rice to allow their fragrance and flavor to blend in. This is a popular dish for fall, when rice and mushrooms are at their best. Mushrooms give off liquid when cooked so the rice needs less cooking water.


  • 3 cups (600g) short-grain rice
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 3/4 ounces (50g) burdock
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100g) assorted fresh mushrooms, such as shimeji, maitake, enoki
  • 1 sheet abura-age deep-fried tofu
  • 1 cup (240ml) Konbu Dashi
  • 3 tablespoons sake
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Beni shoga pickled ginger, to serve
  • Radish, Ginger, and Cabbage Pickle, to serve


Step 1

Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Step 2

Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the shiitake and soak for at least 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and slice the shiitake thinly.

Step 3

Shave the burdock and carrot into thin slices. Cut the assorted mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.

Step 4

Place the abura-age pouch in a colander and pour boiling water over it to remove excess oil. Cut the abura-age into thin strips.

Step 5

Put the shiitake, assorted mushrooms, burdock, carrot, and abura-age in a large saucepan or rice cooker. Add the rice, the reserved shiitake soaking water, and the konbu dashi. Add the sake, soy sauce, and salt, then follow the instructions for cooking rice (see Notes below).

Step 7

When the rice is cooked, use the hands to form into balls (see picture).

Serve with beni shoga or Radish, Ginger, and Cabbage Pickle, and miso soup.


Cooking Japanese Rice

If using an electric rice cooker, transfer the rice with the soaking water to the rice cooker and cook in the usual way.

To cook the rice on the stove, follow the steps below:

  • Place the rice and water in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to high and cook for another 5 minutes. Do not remove the lid.
  • Lower the heat to medium again, and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • Turn the heat as low as possible and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let the rice stand covered for 10 minutes, so that it continues to cook in its own steam.

Recipe Source: The Asian Vegan Kitchen
Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Kodansha International.
Photograph © Tae Hamamura.

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