Seasoned Rice with Japanese Flavour

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seasoned rice with Japanese flavour Takikomi gohan image for pinterest pin with text overlay

Plain cooked Japanese rice is delicious on its own. But seasoned rice with Japanese flavour is super delicious and addictive. Learn the Japanese way to season rice with dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. Easy one-pot cooking makes this seasoned rice recipe with Japanese flavour a new weeknight favourite!

seasoned rice with Japanese flavour served in a rice bowl with a pair of chopsticks

What is this Seasoned Rice Dish Called in Japanese?

This Seasoned rice dish is called “Takikomi Gohan” or also known as “Gomoku Gohan” in Japanese. Takikomi translates to seasoned and cooked, Gohan is cooked rice. It is seasoned with Japanese flavours such as Dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar with vegetables and proteins.

rice, chopped chicken, chopped konjac, chopped carrot, chopped deep fried tofu

What Do I Need?

dashi stock in a jag mirin, salt, sake, soy sauce and sugar in small bowls

What to Season Japanese Rice with?

Seasoned rice cooked in a staub brand cast iron rice cooker.

How to Cook Seasoned Rice the Japanese way?

  • Rice Cooker [4] – If you have a rice cooker add all ingredients including seasonings, and press the cook button.
  • Cast iron pot – I used STAUB Cast Iron 1.5-qt Graphite Grey Petite French Oven. The same as using a rice cooker, place all ingredients in a cast-iron pot over medium heat. Place a lid on and heat to boiling. Once it boils, turn the heat down to medium and cook a further 15 min. Never open the lid. After 15 minutes, leave it for 10 minutes to steam cook without opening the lid.
  • Clay pot – You can also cook it with a clay pot in the same way as using a cast iron pot.
4 photo collage showing preparing konjac and age deep fried tofu

Preparation is the Key to Successful Seasoned Rice

Rice – Wash rice and let it soak for 30 minutes (1 hour in winter) in order for the rice to absorb the water fully. We do this because we are going to add seasonings. The seasonings prevent the rice from absorbing water sufficiently which in turn keeps the rice from cooking to the core.

4 photo collage of preparing seasoned rice ingredients and rinsing rice

A-ge – Deep fried tofu is a little oily when it is cooked as it is, and it also has an acrid taste too. So we need to prepare the a-ge by pouring boiling hot water over it.

4 photo collage process shot showing placing all ingredients into a cast iron rice cooker

Konnyaku[5] – As I explained in the Konnyaku Steak recipe post, Konnyaku has a fishy odour. To remove the fishy smell, cook Konnyaku piece in boiling water for a few minutes. Read more about Konnyaku also known as Konjac by clicking the link.

4 photo collage showing cooking seasoned rice in a cast iron rice cooker

Tips to Make Takikomi Gohan Deliciously

  1. Wash the rice 30 min prior and let it soak in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Water and rice ratio is 1:1 which is the same as cooking plain white rice. Except the liquid in this recipe is made of water and seasonings (soy sauce, sake and mirin) So if using two cups of rice then the water and the seasoning should together equal 2 cups) 
  3. Add the seasonings just before you start to cook the rice.
  4. After turning the heat off, leave the lid on to steam cook.
  5. After steam cooking, remove the lid and turn the rice and ingredients to mix so that they will spread evenly. It also allows any excess moisture to evaporate to prevent making the rice soggy.
Seasoned rice with Japanese flavour served in a rice bowl with a pair of chopsticks

Okoge: Blackened bottom part

Because of the seasonings, the rice may have blackened at the bottom of the rice cooker, especially when you cook with the cast iron or clay pot. In my humble opinion, it is not failing. Actually the soy sauce and other seasonings which cause the blackened bottom is the best part! When I was a young child back in Japan, we often fought for that part with my siblings.

Seasoned rice blackened part in a cast iron rice cooker

What to serve with?

Kinpira gobo served on a bowl with a bowl of rice and a pair of chopsticks


Q: What should I do with any leftovers?

A: I would suggest making either Onigiri or Yakimeshi Fried Rice with the leftovers. It is already seasoned so it makes delicious fried rice. I usually make scrambled egg and set aside. Using same frying pan fry the seasoned rice leftovers. Then add the scrambled egg and toss them all together. Maybe a pinch of salt to taste too. Or you can divide it into one portion size and freeze individually. It will last for a month in the freezer. seasoned rice in three small container and made into a rice ball. [6][7]

Q: I don’t have Sake and Mirin. What can I substitute with?

A: You can substitute sake with dry sherry or Chinese wine. Mirin can be substituted with sherry and sugar or honey. Read more about this in my Japanese food substitution[8] post.

Q: I don’t have a rice cooker nor cast iron pot. What else can I use?

A: You can use any pot you have, just cast iron has very good heat distribution and cooks rice evenly. And a Rice cooker is the easiest, because you just add everything in it and the rice cooker will do the rest for you. You can also use an instant pot too.

seasoned rice with Japanese flavour served in a rice bowl with a pair of chopsticks

Seasoned Rice with Japanese Flavour (Takikomi Gohan)

Seasoned Rice with Japanese flavour recipe. It is simple and easy to make yet you can create a delicately flavoured dericious rice!

4.25 from 4 votes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Course: Rice, Rice dish

Cuisine: Japanese

Servings: 6

Calories: 274kcal



  • 30 min prior to cooking, wash the rice a few times and let the rice soak in water for at least 30 minutes. *5

  • Meanwhile, cut the chicken into about 1 cm sized dice, and slice the carrot, deep fried tofu, and konnyaku. *6

  • Set the chopped ingredients aside.

  • Drain the rice and place it in the rice cooker.

  • Add all the seasonings in a measuring cup and add water to make a total of 2 cups (that is, the water and the seasoning should together equal 2 cups) and pour onto the rice in the rice cooker. *7

  • Place the rice cooker over high heat. When it boils, turn the heat down to low-medium with the lid on. From this point forward, do not open the lid and cook a further 15-20 minutes.

  • After 15-20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it stand for further 10 minutes without opening the lid to steam cook.

  • Open the lid and turn the rice and ingredients to spread evenly and also let the excess moisture evaporate.

  • Serve the seasoned rice in a rice bowl.


*1 I used short-grain Japonica “Koshihikari” rice. They are available from Japanese/Asian grocery stores or online stores.  *2 I used 2 strips of chicken tenders, this can be substituted beef or pork or any other protein.  *3 Both Age and Konnyaku can be found in the cold food aisle or any Asian Grocery store. If you can’t access any of the ingredients, you can either omit or replace with mushrooms etc.  *4 Those seasonings substitutions options read the “Japanese food substitutions[12]” post.  *5 In winter you may need to let it soak for 1 hour.  *6 Please read preparation for Age deep fried tofu and Konnyaku in the above post.  *7 If you are using a rice cooker, just press the cook button or follow your rice cookers instruction. Note: 2 cups of rice goes with 2 cups of liquid as mentioned above *8 Cooking time is an indication only as each rice cooker is different. If you don’t have a rice cooker, check How to cook rice without a rice cooker[13] post.


Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 607mg | Potassium: 192mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 835IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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  1. ^ Koshihikari (
  2. ^ How to Cook Rice Japanese way (
  3. ^ konnyaku (
  4. ^ Rice Cooker (
  5. ^ Konnyaku (
  6. ^ Onigiri (
  7. ^ Yakimeshi Fried Rice (
  8. ^ Japanese food substitution (
  9. ^ Shihoko | Chopstick Chronicles (
  10. ^ Metric (
  11. ^ US Customary (
  12. ^ Japanese food substitutions (
  13. ^ How to cook rice without a rice cooker (

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