Monday, July 8, 2024

Japanese Rice (1908)

 365 Foreign Dishes: A foreign dish for every day in the year

15.—Japanese Rice.

Boil 1 cup of rice; add 3 chopped shallots, 1 teaspoonful of soy and salt to taste. Place on a platter, cover with chopped hard-boiled eggs, sprinkle with salt, paprica and chopped parsley. Garnish with some thin slices of smoked salmon.

Since I am not an expert in Japanese cuisine, I crowdsourced opinions on how close this was to Japanese. The general opinion was that it was possibly trying to be salmon donburi or tamago gohan, except substituting Japanese ingredients with ingredients that were visually similar,available in Philadelphia in 1908, and appealing to western cooks. Hard boiled eggs=raw egg or soft boiled, parsley=mitsuba or shiso, shallots=green onion, paprika=shichimi or ichimi togarashi, and smoked salmon=plain salmon, raw salmon, or katsuobushi? 

And yes, I did boil the rice. Sigh. 

Verdict: The temptation here is just to make fun of this.  But you know what?  Someone tried.  And with limited resources, I think the attempt is worth respect.  I personally love when different countries make a stab at American cuisine and end up with something only tangentially related.  That said, is this authentically Japanese?  No.  No it is not.  But is it delicious?  Also no.  I suspect by “shallot” the author meant scallions/green onions of some kind, because three scallions would be fine, but three shallots is A LOT OF SHALLOTS.  It’s almost equal volume shallots to rice.  

So very, very much shallot.  Everyone ate around the shallots, and everything around the shallots was fine.  The smoked salmon was spectacular, and when I granted permission to just pick the good bits out, the kids fought over it to the last shred. 

You deserved better. 

So if you wish to make a turn of the century Americanized Japanese dish, this is not a bad way to go!  If you are, in fact, Japanese, make this just for the giggles.  Just make sure to use scallions, not shallots!  

No comments: