Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

greenpeasgohan1.jpg

It’s finally spring, which means some of my favorite vegetables are showing up at the markets. One way I like to enjoy them is to make maze gohan (混ぜご飯), which just means ‘mixed rice’, featuring the ingredient in question. Maze gohan (pronouned mazeh-go-han) differs from takikomi gohan (炊き込みご飯), such as this mushroom rice, where the ingredients are cooked with the rice. Maze gohan is more suited for delicate ingredients. It’s also a frugal way of stretching the use of some rather more expensive vegetables, such as really fresh peas. Because the rice is subtly flavored, you don’t need a lot of other things in your bento box.

Here are two very simple recipes for spring maze gohan.

Green pea rice

Makes about 5-6 cups of cooked rice

  • 2 cups (about 500ml) shelled raw green peas
  • 2 rice cooker cups of uncooked rice, or 1 1/2 US cups (about 360ml)
  • 1 Tbs. sake
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of dashi granules (optional)
  • The appropriate amount of water for cooking the rice
  • Water and salt for cooking the peas

Wash the rice as you normally would (see how to wash and cook rice). Add the sake, salt and pinch of dashi granules to the water, and cook the rice as you normally would.

When the rice is done, boil the green peas until just tender in salted water. Drain, and mix in to the rice gently so that you don’t crush the peas.

This is good warm or cooled, so it is of course great for bentos.

Variations

You can use the same method for fava beans or broad beans. Cook them in salted water until tender, then take the skins off. This is a very traditional maze gohan called soramame gohan (Incidentally, soramame (空豆), the word for fava beans/broad beans, means ‘sky beans’).

Out of season, you can use frozen peas, though the fragrance won’t be quite the same.

You can also use edamame instead, fresh or frozen.

Asparagus rice

asparagusgohan1.jpg

Asparagus is not a traditionally known vegetable in Japan, though in recent decades it’s become very popular. I use the stalk parts of the asparagus stalks after using the tips in something else, so it ends up being quite economical.

Makes about 5-6 cups of cooked rice

  • 2 cups (about 500ml) cut up asparagus stalks
  • 2 rice cooker cups of uncooked rice, or 1 1/2 US cups (about 360ml)
  • 1 Tbs. mirin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of dashi granules (optional)
  • Pinch of sugar (optional, but it does enhance the flavor of the asparagus)
  • The appropriate amount of water for cooking the rice
  • Water and salt for cooking the asparagus

The method is the same as for the green pea rice.

Wash the rice as you normally would (see how to wash and cook rice). Add the sake, salt and pinch of dashi granules to the water, and cook the rice as you normally would.

When the rice is done, boil the cut up asparagus stalks until just tender in salted water. Drain, and mix in to the rice gently.

This is good warm or cooled, so it is of course great for bentos. This one is especially good with a bit of toasted sesame seed sprinkled on top.

Extra: Here’s some pea porn!

The last pea in the pod

Whenever I’m shelling peas or fava beans, I always wonder if’s worth all the trouble. All those pods going to the compost, vs. the tiny mound of peas or beans. And the frozen kind are so handy! Of course, once I taste those fresh peas, it all makes sense.

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8 comments

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Re: Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

Mmm, these rice dishes look lovely! This is such a great time of year for fresh vegetables. Here in England, we're just getting the first fresh asparagus, and we're on the brink of new peas and broad beans. I can't wait to try out some maze gohan or soramame gohan with them.

Incidentally, if you don't want to just compost all those empty pea pods, they're great for making homemade vegetable broth. I store them in the freezer until I'm ready to boil them up, either on their own or with other veggie scraps (or sometimes seafood or chicken scraps).

Re: Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

It may be a stupid question.... but what is pea "porn" ?
I searched this word in the dictionnary and only found it was for pornography... :$
I looked for the translation of "cosse" in french and found "pod".
Is it the same thing ? I guess it is
Thank you for helping me!

Re: Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

'Food porn' is often used to describe moutwatering pictures of food, so... 'pea porn' ^_^; Sorry for confusing you!

Re: Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

O_o I learned something new today!
Thanks for the explanation!
(and I confirm, yours pictures are always very mouthwatering! )

Re: Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

Dear Maki
I've just made the green pea rice. It is delicious! So simple, yet so tasty, just love it. I'm so looking forward to tomorrows.
Thank you for sharing!

Re: Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

..."tomorrows bento" i meant of course...

Re: Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

is it ok to use either mirin or sake? i noticed it says mirin in the ingredients list and sake in the instructions

Re: Spring maze gohan: Green pea rice, Asparagus rice

This is a great idea! I think some people shy away from bento because they think it's all about rice, so this is a nice way to add some more veggies. I try not to eat many carbs, so I would probably make these with 'rice' made of grated cauliflower instead of white or brown rice. You just take a cheese grater to a head of cauliflower, and it makes rice-like grains that cook up like rice, and look like white rice. The first time I made it it tricked my dad!

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