Kinoko Gohan (Japanese Mushroom Rice) – Recipe

Kinoko Gohan (Japanese Mushroom Rice)
Kinoko Gohan (Japanese Mushroom Rice)

Kinoko Gohan is classic, soothing Japanese comfort food. It has strong associations as a fall dish, but the typical mushrooms used in it are mostly cultivated and therefore available year round. Of course if you have access to seasonal, wild harvested maitake or matsutake, for example, then you’ll be making something truly special.

One way to get a good variety of mushrooms for your kinoko gohan is to use one of those sampler packs that seem to be popular in grocery stores these days. In any event, I would not make this with white button, crimini, or portabella mushrooms.

The most traditional way of making kinoko gohan involves making a separate dashi (broth), then using that to cook the mushrooms, then finally using the mushroom cooking liquid to make the rice. I like to take an unauthorized shortcut and make a light dashi at the same time as I cook the mushrooms. You can make the whole dish right in the rice cooker, if you have one.

Although the dish is primarily about fresh mushrooms, I also use a few dried shiitake to bump up the umami factor. If you’ve been around the site for awhile, you’ll know I find a lot of use for these little power-packs of flavor. I also like to add a bit of toasted sesame oil to round things out.

Kinoko Gohan (Japanese Mushroom Rice)
Vegetarian, vegan, kosher and potentially gluten free
Serves at least 4

  • 3 tablespoons shoyu (Japanese soy sauce; look for a gluten-free tamari if needed)
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • One piece of dried kombu, approximately 6″ by 1 1/2 “
  • 8 ounces mixed fresh Asian mushrooms (such as king oyster, oyster, maitake, shimeiji, bunapi, shiitake), trimmed and cut if very large
  • 2 cups Japanese-style rice (like Niko Niko or Kokuho Rose), pre-soaked for an hour if time permits
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  1. Put the shoyu, sake, mirin, 2 cups of water, the dried shiitakes, kombu, and fresh mushrooms in a good-sized pot with a lid, or in a rice cooker. Bring to a simmer and let cook 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  2. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Discard the kombu (or save for another use) and reserve the mushrooms. Cut the stems out of the dried shiitakes as they will be too hard to eat.
  3. Rinse the rice thoroughly and add to the pot or rice cooker. Measure the mushroom liquid and add enough water to it to make 2 1/2 cups total. If using the rice cooker, add the liquid and cook on a normal cycle. If using a pot, add the liquid to the pot, bring to a boil, lower to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  4. When the rice is done cooking, turn off the heat and, if possible, let stand 10 minutes. Fold in the mushrooms, toasted sesame oil, and salt to taste, then serve hot or warm.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

7 Responses to “Kinoko Gohan (Japanese Mushroom Rice) – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    March 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    I have been looking for that recipe for a long time! Thank you for publishing it. I am a long time reader of your blog and have ordered the book. Vegetarian for over 30 years. Thanks again.

  2. Reply
    March 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Hi Michael, I recently came across your blog and I am so excited to see so many innovative vegetarian recipes!! You are doing a great job, congratulations on the book. Can’t wait to see it!! This rice sounds fabulous. I used to hate mushroom as a child but now I adore it! Would love to try this recipe.

  3. Reply
    March 29, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    This looks delicious! Xx

  4. Reply
    April 4, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    The dish looks so amazing! I remember having this dish in Osaka 2 years ago. It was really delicious. Mushrooms are an absolute delight to add into our meals. Somehow, I’ve grown up loving mushrooms (doesn’t matter whether it is Asian mushrooms or European mushrooms – makes no difference to me as each has its own unique taste). Some dishes can only be prepared with a particular mushroom to get that unique taste. A chef will certainly know the difference!

    By the way, I have also posted another similar recipe using Shitake mushrooms. It is also deep fried and vegetarian. If anyone is interested, do read it at link to

    Keep it up! Waiting for more…

  5. Reply
    April 8, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    That looks really good. I don’t know that i can get those mushrooms where I live though.

  6. Reply
    Some Person
    May 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

    Are those measurements in standard cups or rice-cooker cups?

    • Reply
      May 25, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

      Standard cups.

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