We’re all about hearty bowls of food — plates are overrated, anyway. Join James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Rachel Yang as she dives into this most useful piece of servingware and shows you how to keep it fresh. This rib-sticking Korean treasure rice is a healthy way to fortify a weeknight meal.
In Korea, there’s a traditional special-occasion dish whose name translates to “healthy mix rice.” It’s served in a big stone pot, usually posed as a table centerpiece and decorated with, say, a circle of gingko nuts, or something else that makes it pretty. It always has grains, nuts, mushrooms, and dates, but beyond that, like so many traditions around the world, the recipe varies by household. This is my own version, which I make with Medjool dates (rather than Korean jujubes) because they break down and become almost jammy. It’s the ultimate recharging dish in the winter, meant to be deeply satisfying but also nutritious when the juiciest produce isn’t in season. Eat the rice alone as a meal in itself, for breakfast or lunch.
Look for mixed-grain rice in the rice section of a large Asian grocery store. It should have a mix of grain types — different-colored rice, oats, millet, barley, and sometimes beans.
- 2 cups mixed-grain rice, rinsed and drained three times
- About 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 quart water
- 1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted and halved
- 1 2-inch piece burdock root, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
For the rice
Put the rice in a medium mixing bowl. Add cold water to cover, and soak for 30 minutes.
Put the mushrooms in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the 1 quart of water to a boil, then pour the hot water over the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms soak, submerging them with a plate if necessary, for about 30 minutes, or until soft.
Drain the rice and add it to a large saucepan, then drain the mushroom soaking liquid directly into the pot with the rice. Trim off and discard the mushroom stems, then quarter the mushrooms and add them to the pot, along with the dates, burdock, and walnuts. Bring the rice to a simmer, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for about 1 hour, or until the water is absorbed and the grains are cooked. Remove the rice from the heat, let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff and serve.