With all its complicated and creative dishes, I never really thought I would actually make anything from the currently airing anime series, Shokugeki no Souma…. But, in an unexpected twist while watching episode 2, a particular dish caught my eye and made me think that maybe, just maybe, the impossible was possible. And so, today we’ll be tackling what is known as the 8th item on Yukihira Diner’s secret menu: rice with transforming seasoning (furikake gohan)!
Made of lightly sweetened eggs scrambled into fluffy morsels arranged over hot rice and scattered with savory cubes of chicken aspic that melt slowly to coat everything in a delicious, concentrated flavor, this extravagant version of furikake gohan (rice sprinkled with seasonings) is a fun way to enjoy what is generally considered a rather plain meal…. And, the best part? It’s not nearly as hard to make as you might guess!
About the recipe:
Surprisingly, this elaborate version of furikake gohan is not too difficult to make. All you need is a little time and patience! The recipe can be broken into two main parts: the cubes of chicken aspic and the iri tamago.
The jiggly cubes of savory chicken aspic are made by simply boiling chicken bones in water to make a broth, then reducing the broth to concentrate the natural gelatin that was drawn out of the chicken bones and cartilage during the cooking process. When cooled, the gelatin causes the broth to turn to jelly, which can then be cut into wiggly cubes to add to your furikake gohan!
The recipe below makes enough chicken aspic for about 6 servings. If you’re having trouble eating that much furikake gohan, you can always freeze the aspic, since it’s basically just a seasoned broth.
Meanwhile, iri tamago has to be the fastest and easiest egg dish I know when it comes to Japanese cooking and bento making. It’s basically finely scrambled eggs that are sweetly seasoned and wonderfully fluffy, and is usually paired with seasoned ground chicken to make soboro-don. To cook the eggs so that they form small grains, use 4 chopsticks grasped in one hand to vigorously and continuously stir the eggs while it cooks. The closer you hold the chopsticks together, the smaller your pieces of egg will be.
About the ingredients:
Chicken backs and necks are probably the cheapest and easiest cut of meat to find… They’re not really the greatest for general eating, but are perfect for making a rich chicken broth. While Shokugeki no Souma shows Souma using chicken wings to make the aspic, I suggest using backs and necks instead due to their affordability. An old chicken (sometimes labeled as a fowl) can also be used.
Rice with Transforming Seasoning
Makes 2 servings
For the cubes of chicken aspic:
- 1.5 – 2 lbs chicken backs and necks, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 5 peppercorns
- Cold water
- 3 tbsp sake
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp dashi granules
For the iri tamago:
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp miso
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 bowls cooked Japanese short grain white rice, hot
- 1 green onion or a small handful of chives, finely minced (for garnish)
For the cubes of chicken aspic:
1. Heat a large pot on medium-high heat. Add in chicken bones and brown on all sides.
2. Add carrot, celery, onion, and peppercorns to the pot. Continue cooking until the vegetables begin to sweat, about 5 minutes. Pour enough cold water into the pot to cover the chicken bones. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally and using a spoon to skim any scum from the surface of the broth that might form.
3. When the broth has finished simmering, remove the bones and vegetables, and carefully strain the broth through a fine meshed strainer. Skim the fat from the surface of the broth using a spoon (alternatively, refrigerate overnight and remove the solidified fat that way).
4. Place broth in a medium pot and add sake, soy sauce and dashi granules. Bring to a boil and reduce broth to 1 cup. Pour into a heatproof container or tray, and let cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating overnight, or until the broth solidifies into a jelly.
5. Carefully unmould the chicken aspic from the container by running the tip of a paring knife along the edge of the the aspic. Hold the container at an angle and gently tap against a hard surface, turning it slowly to loosen the aspic on all sides. Invert the container and use your hand to gently guide the aspic out.
6. Cut aspic into small cubes using a sharp knife. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the iri tamago:
1. In a bowl, add sugar, mirin, miso, and sesame oil, and stir until the miso is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add eggs to the miso mixture and beat together until well combined.
2. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat. Lightly grease the pan using a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. Add the egg mixture to the pan and, holding 4 chopsticks together in your hand, mix the eggs vigorously. The eggs will gradually become more grainy as it cooks.
3. Continuously stir the eggs and cook until the eggs have just set and are no longer visibly wet. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
1. Fill a small bowl with hot, cooked Japanese short grain rice. Sprinkle rice with half the iri tamago and about 2 spoonfuls of cubes of chicken aspic over top.
Garnish with green onions or chives, if desired.