British Italian Bridge, Kani Zosui, Cross between Risotto and Porridge, Recipe from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda

A British Italian bridge, Kani Zosui is sort of a cross between risotto and porridge. This Crab Meat Rice Recipe is the first taste we share from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda (published by Ryland Peters & Small, 2022)

KANI ZOSUI 

CRAB MEAT RICE

Zosui is something between a risotto and a porridge. It is usually enjoyed at the end of a nomikai or work drinks party to finish the meal. There are various types of zosui, some being soupy and others a thicker consistency. I prefer the latter, which I’m sharing with you in this recipe. This dish is enjoyed at the end of the meal because of its digestive properties. The rice is simmered longer than usual and is very delicate in flavor. Especially prepared in winter, it will warm up your body at the end of a cold day. This is proper, healthy comfort food.

400 ml/1⅔ cups Kombu & Katsuobushi Dashi* 

250 g/9 oz. cooked rice (next-day rice is even better for this)

1 tbsp sake

1 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp mirin

150 g/5½ oz. white and brown crab meat

1 egg, beaten

salt

TO SERVE

50 g/1¾ oz. salmon roe s

mall handful of coriander/cilantro leaves

Serves 4

Kani Zosui

Bring the katsuobushi dashi to the boil in a large saucepan or Japanese donabe hot pot.

Add the cooked rice, sake, light soy sauce and mirin. Cover with the lid and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat.

Add the crab meat, stir and cover with the lid again. Simmer over low heat for a further 5 minutes. The consistency should be getting towards something like a thick porridge.

Towards the end of the simmering time, pour the beaten egg over the top of the rice, then replace the lid and simmer for a final 2 minutes.

Stir gently to mix the egg with the rice and season with a little salt if necessary. Serve in individual serving bowls, topped with salmon roe and coriander/cilantro leaves.

*DASHI

Dashi is an ingredient at the heart of Japanese cuisine, and is used as the base of many traditional dishes in this book. I have either specifed which type of dashi to use, or I’ve left it up to you to choose your favorite for the recipe.

NOTE I wouldn’t recommend freezing any dashi, it is easy to make and the flavors would not survive.

NOTE The quality of water is as important for dashi as it is for brewing tea, so a soft or filtered water is ideal.

KOMBU DASHI

Kombu dashi is the favored type of stock in shojin ryori (Buddhist vegan cuisine). Different varieties of kombu are available, each with slightly different flavours – Rishiri, Hidaka, Rausu and Makombu are the most common. There are two ways of making kombu dashi. Simply soak the kombu in cold water overnight to draw out its elegant flavour, or soak it quickly in heated water for a richer, deeper flavor. The recipe below is for the latter method:

1 litre/quart cold water

10 g/¼ oz. (5 x 10-cm/2 x 4-inch) piece of kombu

MAKES 1 LITRE/QUART

Place the water and kombu in a large saucepan and let it soak for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, start to gently bring the water to the boil over medium-high heat. Just before it reaches boiling point – when small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan – remove the kombu and take the pan off the heat. The temperature should reach no more than about 60°C (140°F). Do not let the kombu boil; if you do the flavor will be spoilt. The kombu dashi is now ready to use. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days. You can use the same piece of kombu again to make another dashi, or dice and add it to soups or salads.

KOMBU & SHIITAKE DASHI

This stock is useful in any vegetarian dish. The dried shiitake mushrooms add an extra earthy depth of flavor to the broth. The magic, umami-rich combination of both kombu and shiitake really enhances the flavor of any ingredient it pairs with. You can keep both the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and kombu for use in other recipes.

1 litre/quart cold water

10 g/¼ oz. (5 x 10-cm/2 x 4-inch) piece of kombu

20 g/¾ oz. dried shiitake mushrooms

MAKES 800 ML/3⅓ CUPS

Place the water, kombu and shiitake mushrooms in a large saucepan and leave them to soak for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, start to gently bring the water to the boil over medium-high heat. Just before it reaches boiling point – when small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan – remove the kombu. Do not let the kombu boil; if you do the flavor will be spoilt. Continue heating to bring the water and mushrooms to the boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Skim any scum off the surface of the dashi as it cooks.

Turn the heat off and strain the dashi through a muslin/cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve/strainer. The dashi is now ready to use. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

** KOMBU & KATSUOBUSHI DASHI

This is the most common dashi for non-vegetarians. It uses both kombu and bonito flakes (katsuobushi) together for an umami-rich dashi with a complex, deep flavor. It is perfect for clear soups, egg dishes or noodles in broth where the dashi shines through as the primary flavor.

1 litre/quart cold water

10 g/¼ oz. (5 x 10-cm/2 x 4-inch) piece of kombu

20 g/¾ oz. bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

MAKES 800 ML/3⅓ CUPS

Place the water and kombu in a large saucepan and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, start to gently bring the water to the boil over a medium-high heat. Just before it reaches boiling point – when small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan – remove the kombu and continue heating. Once boiling, turn the heat off and sprinkle the katsuobushi (bonito flakes) into the kombu dashi. Leave to brew for 2 minutes, letting the flakes sink to the bottom of the pan.

Strain the dashi through a muslin/cheesecloth or  fine-mesh sieve/strainer, letting it drip through. The finished dashi is now ready to use. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Otsumami cover

(* Excerpted from Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers: Over 70 Recipes to Enjoy with Drinks by Atsuko Ikeda, published by Ryland Peters & Small 2022 / Photography by Yuki Sugiura (c) Ryland Peters & Small 2022)

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