Zosui is the Japanese version of congee made with one or more ingredients: vegetables, egg, meat or seafood. Zosui rice is rinsed in running water to remove the surface starch before adding to the broth; this way, it keeps the grains from fusing together into a mash. Zosui is usually served with a pickle like umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum). Zosui is often served as part of a hot-pot meal. The ritual is to make zosui using the leftover rich broth in the pot. We call this finishing act "shime," which means "to close" in Japanese.
Techinique tip: Zosui is on the soupier side. If you let it cook an additional minute or two, it will turn into a thicker porridge. It's a matter of preference.
Swap options: Instead of dashi broth, use chicken broth or vegan broth instead of bonito and kombu dashi. Instead of sake and mirin, use white wine.
- 3 cups water
- 1 (2- by 2-inch) piece kombu seaweed
- 2 cups bonito flakes
- 1½ cups dashi (recipe above)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly, about 1/8-inch thick
- 1 teaspoon potato starch dissolved with 2 tablespoons water (optional)
- 1½ cups cooked short or medium grain white
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, semi-crushed
- 1 pinch shichimi togarashi pepper or freshly ground black pepper
For the dashi:1.
Combine the water and kombu seaweed in a medium-size pan.2.
Let stand in room temperature for 30 minutes to overnight.3.
Cook the kombu broth in medium pan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove the kombu and lower the heat to a simmer.4.
Add the bonito flakes and let the flakes steep in the broth for 2 minutes. Strain the broth through a paper towel or cheese cloth-lined fine-mesh strainer. Discard the kombu and bonito flakes or use them again to make more dashi. You can make the dashi ahead of time and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for a month.
For the zosui:1.
Combine the dashi (see recipe above), soy sauce, sake, salt and mirin in a medium pot and bring it to a boil.2.
Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and simmer for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add the potato starch mixture, if using. The starch mixture will add a slight sheen and creaminess to the broth.3.
While the mushrooms are cooking, rinse the cooked rice under running water to remove the surface starch. Drain the water.4.
Add the rinsed rice to the broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Then reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes.5.
Slowly, add the beaten egg, spreading it around the surface. Place the lid on pot and continue simmering for 10 more seconds, or until egg is nearly cooked and pale yellow.6.
Remove from heat and garnish with sliced scallions, toasted sesame seeds and shichimi togarashi or ground black pepper. Serve immediately, with umeboshi, if you like.