Okowa (steamed glutinous rice) with edible wild plants

Sansai Okowa


In spring, Sansai, edible wild plants are starting to shoot in mountains in Japan.

Warabi, edible wild plant in mountain
Warabi, edible wild plant in mountain

Eating Sansai awakes your body from winter and you can feel that spring has come. There are various ways to enjoy Sansai. Today we introduce Sansai Okowa. It is a dish of steamed glutinous rice which has a soft and chewy texture and vegetables which are seasoned delicately with soy sauce.


If you can’t find Sansai, you can still enjoy this okowa with your favorite seasonal vegetables. Traditionally, we use a steamer to cook Okowa. However, you can cook Okowa with a pot or a rice cooker as well. We introduce three ways, so try to cook in your preferable way.


Okowa (steamed glutinous rice) with edible wild plants
Sansai Okowa

Make time: 60 minutes | Soak time: 1 hour to 1 night | Serves: 2-3

 

Cook by a steamer

Ingredients

2 cups (300g) glutinous rice (soaked 1 hour to 1 night)


½ carrot (about 50g)

50 g Enokidake mushroom or your favorite mushroom

1 piece of Aburaage (thin fried tofu)

Warabi, or your favorite Sansai, edible wild plants (You should remove the harshness of Sansai on the day you get them. Read the bottom page of this blog on how to remove the harshness of Warabi. Or you can buy pre-boiling Sansai which are already removed from harshness.)


100 ml plant-based broth made from Kelp

1.5-2 tbsp soy sauce (light soy sauce is preferable)

1.5-2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)


Directions

To prepare glutinous rice

Wash glutinous rice. Soak it in water for 1 hour to 1 night, and drain the rice using a strainer.


Wash carrot well. Cut the carrot into the stick. Cut mushrooms, Aburaage, and Warabi.


Mix plant-based broth, soy sauce, and mirin in a small mixing bowl. If you prefer the delicate taste, add 1.5 tbsp soy sauce and mirin to the broth. If you want to taste the soy sauce flavor a little bit more, add 2 tbsp soy sauce and mirin.


Pour water into the bottom of the steamer and boil it. While the water is to be boiled, wet a clean cloth thoroughly with water and then squeeze out the water. Set the cloth on the steamer. Spread the rice on the cloth, and place Aburaage and the vegetables except for Warabi on the rice.


Rice and vegetables set in a steamer

Cover the cloth over the rice, vegetables, and Aburaage .


A cloth which covers over the rice and vegetables

Once the water is boiled, put the steamer above the bottom steamer. Steam it for 20 minutes on high heat. Turn off the heat.


Transfer the rice, vegetables, and Aburaage to a mixing bowl. Add the broth, soy sauce, and mirin, and mix them with rice till the rice absorb moisture.

Rice, vegetables and broth mixed well in a mixing bowl.

Set the cloth on the steamer. Spread the rice on the cloth. Place the vegetables, Aburaage, and Warabi on the rice.

Rice, vegetables, edible wild plant set in a steamer.

Cover the cloth over the rice, vegetables, Aburaage, and Warabi. If boiling water doesn't remain enough, add hot water to the bottom steamer. Steam it for 10 minutes on high heat. Turn off the heat. Take a bite and if the rice is still hard, steam it for another 5 to 10 minutes.



Cook by a pot or a rice cooker.

Ingredients

2 cups (300g) glutinous rice (soaked 1 hour to 1 night)


½ carrot (about 50g)

50 g Enokidake mushroom or your favorite mushroom

1 piece of Aburaage (thin fried tofu)

Warabi, or your favorite Sansai, edible wild plants (You should remove the harshness of Sansai on the day you get them. Or you can buy pre-boiling Sansai which are already removed from harshness.)


360 ml plant-based broth made from Kelp

2 tbsp soy sauce (light soy sauce is preferable)

2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)


Directions

To prepare glutinous rice

Wash glutinous rice. Soak it in water for 1 hour to 1 night, and drain the rice using a strainer.


Wash carrot well. Cut the carrot into the stick. Cut mushrooms, Aburaage, and Warabi.


Mix plant-based broth, soy sauce, and mirin in a small mixing bowl.


<Pot>

Put white rice in a pot. Add the broth, soy sauce, and mirin. Also, add the carrot, mushrooms, and Aburaage. Put a lid on a pot. Heat them on medium heat. After boiling, heat them on lower heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add Warabi. Let cooked rice and Warabi steam for 10 minutes after turning off the heat.


<Rice cooker>

Put white rice in a rice cooker. Add the broth, soy sauce, and mirin. Also, add the carrot, mushrooms, and Aburaage. Cook them with a rice cooker. If your rice cooker has a mixed button, cook it in a mixed-mode. Add Warabi. Let cooked rice and Warabi steam for 10 minutes in keep-warm mode.


How to remove the harshness of Warabi


Wash Warabi well. Boil plenty of water (more than 1 liter) in a big pot. After boiling, add 1tsp of baking soda. Add Warabi into the boiling water. Turn off the heat after 10 seconds. Let it cool in a pot for 1 night. Wash Warabi with clean water and drain the Warabi with a strainer. Keep Warabi in a container and fill clean water with it.


Traditionally, people use to remove the harshness of Warabi using firewood ash. If you can get ash, sprinkle ashes on Warabi after you wash Warabi well and place it on a bat. Pour boiling water into a bat, and let it cool for 1 night. Wash Warabi with clean water and drain the Warabi with a strainer. Keep Warabi in a container and fill clean water with it.


Warabi, edible wild plant
Warabi, edible wild plant




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