Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for soy marinated pumpkin maze gohan | Vegan food and drink

Myour favorite place for breakfast in London is Koya in Soho. I like to sit at the wooden bar facing the chefs, who go about their business quietly but conscientiously and very precisely as the steam of rice and noodles rises behind them. This is also where a few months ago I ate gohan maze, or mixed rice, for the first time: a mixture of sticky, sweet, short-grain rice sprinkled with marinated ingredients seasoned with dashi and soy. It was a delight for the senses and the perfect blend of comfort and joy.

Soy marinated pumpkin gohan maze

There are many great pumpkins and edible squash around this time of year, but for flavor my favorites are acorn, crown prince, delica, and kabocha. You will need two lidded saucepans: one with a tight-fitting lid for the rice and a larger one for the vegetables.

Preperation 15 minutes
to cook 50 minutes
Serves 2

250g short grain rice
teaspoon of fine sea salt
4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of cooking sake
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
5 cloves of garlic
, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
5 new onions
, trimmed and thinly sliced
150g fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
450 g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
100g cooked chestnuts, sliced

Place the rice in a medium saucepan and cover with lukewarm water. Shake with your hand until the water turns cloudy, then strain and repeat until the water runs clear. Cover with cool, lukewarm water, let soak for five minutes, then drain well.

Return the rice to the pot, cover with 290 ml of cold water, add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt, cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for another 10 minutes.

To prepare the pickling liquid, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar and cooking sake in a small bowl and set aside.

Put the sesame oil in a large frying pan with a lid on it and put it on medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Then add the spring onions (reserve some of the greens to decorate the finished dish), stir to combine and cook for another two minutes. Add the mushrooms, cook for five minutes, until sweaty, then add the marinating liquid, pumpkin and chestnuts. Cover the pot, cook for three minutes, stir, then replace the lid and cook for another three minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender.

Using a fork (so as not to crush the rice), scrape the rice into the vegetable dish and mix everything gently. Divide between bowls, sprinkle the greens with reserved scallions and serve.

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Tanya S. Norvell