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As promised in last month's issue, we're going to show you some ways to enjoy rice in its purest form, as a delicious companion to a flavorful dish. With the takikomi style of cooking rice, we added flavor and ingredients to the rice itself. This month's recipes will pair rice with the classic tempura, in two very different ways.

Donburi is a rice bowl. The word refers to this type of all-in-one meal, where a side dish like tempura or teriyaki chicken is served in a bowl on a bed of hot plain rice. Donburi can also refer to the bowl itself, a somewhat oversized version of a regular rice bowl. Onigiri means rice ball, the closest food to the Western sandwich in traditional Japanese cuisine. Onigiri can be eaten with your fingers and is usually filled with all kinds of ingredients, much like a sandwich.

Perfect Rice is the Key

Because these recipes are relatively simple, you will be rewarded with best results if your rice is as fluffy as can be. Fortunately, all Zojirushi rice cookers are made to yield hot, tender rice with a minimum of effort on your part. The cooker does everything, so all you need to do is enjoy the Japanese way of cooking with rice.

Arguably the second most popular Japanese food to Westerners, next to sushi, tempura is deep frying at its best. Keeping the batter cold is the secret to crisp tempura when fried. It should be noted that a distinction is made when ingredients are deep fried the Western way using breadcrumbs. This is known as furai (fry), which is different from tempura, even though the same ingredients might be used.

See recipe for Tempura
(Battered and Deep Fried Vegetable and Seafood)


A shortcut name for tempura donburi, Ten-don is quite simply tempura on a bed of hot white rice. The mildly sweet sauce that is drizzled over it not only seasons the deep fried shrimp and vegetables, it also gives the rice its own flavor that can be enjoyed all by itself. Ten-don is a one-bowl meal that is extremely popular in Japan.


Another abbreviated name, tenmusu is short for tempura musubi, or rice ball. The origins of the rice ball go back to the samurai period and even further back in Japanese history, but the attraction to this convenient snack has always been the same. Wrapped in nori, or seaweed, the rice ball is quick, portable and delicious.

See recipe for Ten-Don
(Tempura Bowl)

See recipe for Tenmusu
(Tempura Rice Ball)

Create Your Own Rice Bowl
A rice bowl is a bowl of rice topped with delicious foods such as Tempura. Toppings can be anything from cutlets, Teriyaki chicken, barbecued eel and much more. Explore with a variety of foods and create your favorite rice bowl today!
Donburi from Around the World
If there are ingredients resting on a bed of rice, it qualifies as being a donburi type of dish. Here are a couple of interesting ones from outside of Japan.

This is a signature Korean dish which literally translates to "mixed meal". This is very descriptive when you consider the variety of ingredients that sit on the rice and the way it is eaten. All of the toppings are mixed into the rice prior to digging in. It takes some work, but well worth the effort.


A local breakfast favorite in Hawaii, this hearty dish takes advantage of the fact that brown gravy goes really well with white rice. Hawaiian food historians seem to agree that the dish originated in the 1940s at a family restaurant, and the name came from a "crazy" football player and his teammates who frequented the hangout.

See recipe for Bibimbap
(Korean Rice Bowl)
See recipe for Loco Moco
See all Zojirushi Rice Cookers
This month, we'll make Sumashijiru by using the Ichiban Dashi that we intrduced in one of the past issues.
Shokado Bento Back Number
Shokado Bento Suimono
Suimono, or "things to sip", refers to the clear soup that is usually served with the traditional Kaiseki meal. An elegant meal calls for an elegant soup, and the simplicity of this basic soup is difficult to master with its subtle and delicate flavors. When starting this soup course in the context of Kaiseki, be sure to stop and take in the fragrance when you first take the lid off of the bowl; this is one of the pleasures of suimono.
Make Ichiban Dashi (Japanese Broth).
In a separate small pan, cook fu (dried wheat gluten bread) with a little Ichiban Dashi.
Bring Ichiban Dashi to a boil and add sliced Shiitake mushrooms.
Add soy sauce and salt to taste.
Add the cooked fu and ladle into bowls. Top with Mitsuba (trefoil stalks) and serve.

See recipe for Ichiban Dashi
(Japanese Broth)