This is actually a Chinese recipe, but we love eating them in Japan and they are perfect for a bento box. Traditionally in China they are wrapped in bamboo leaves, but you can also use tin foil like I have done here. They are delicious hot or cold and perfect for dinner parties. I use dried shiitake mushrooms which are far cheaper than fresh ones – they must be soaked for at least 30mins in water prior to usage. You need to find ‘Sweet Rice’ (mochi rice) which is available at any Asian supermarket. It is a deceiving name, since the rice is not actually sweet, but is used to make mochi and many other Japanese traditional rice dishes. You need to prepare the rice at least 2 hours ahead of cooking. The Japanese name of this dish is Chimaki.
200g chicken thigh or breast
Tin of bamboo shoots
6 shiitake mushrooms (dried or fresh)
2 cups of sweet rice (mochi gome)
1tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water (100ml)
1 cube chicken stock
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs soy sauce
Wash 2 cups of mochi rice and leave it in water for at least 2 hours. Then drain very well. If you are using tin bamboo shoots, boil them in water for 1 minute to get rid of the smell. Chop the chicken and vegetables trying to get them roughly the same size. Then add a 1tsp soy sauce in with the chicken, mix and leave for 5 mins.
Mix all these ingredients: 1/2 cup hot water (100ml), 1 cube chicken stock, 1tbs sake, 1/2tsp salt, 1 tbs sugar, 2 tbs soy sauce
Use a good drizzle of canola or vegetable oil frying pan and fry the chicken. When the colour changes to white, add the veggies and fry for another few minutes. Then add the rice and fry until the rice has changed colour – compare to my photos above. Then add the soup that you made in Step 2, and use the highest heat to get rid of as much of the liquid as possible – about 5 minutes. Keep it moving though to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan or anything burning.
Make a napkin sized square sheet of tin foil (I tend to make various sizes, none bigger than this), then after waiting for the rice mixture to cook slightly, add it to the centre of the sheet and make a triangle as shown.Twist the ends to seal. You can freeze them at this stage for later use.
Add the parcels to a steam, boil water underneath and steam for 15-20 minutes. Then remove and allow to cool. Opening the parcels is fun – the simplest method is to tear from the two twisted sides upwards to the top, then open as a book – bit hard to explain, but give it a go 😉