Mixed Rice with Chicken and Burdock has a delicious sweet-soy flavour of chicken and burdock. A touch of garlic flavour makes this rice dish unique for a Japanese dish. It is so flavoursome that you won’t need any other dishes to go with it.
Today’s dish is a home-cooking version of ‘Yoshino no Tori Meshi’ (吉野の鶏めし), which is a famous local specialty of Yoshino district in Ōita prefecture. It is said that the dish originated in the late Edo period when the bird hunters made rice dishes using game birds such as pheasants.
The word ‘tori’ (鶏) means chicken and ‘meshi’ (めしor 飯) is cooked rice. They could have called it ‘chikin raisu’ (チキンライス, chicken rice), but I think the use of the word ‘meshi’ for the rice sounds more rustic. Besides, chikin raisu in Japan denotes ketchup rice with chicken, like the fried rice in my Omurice recipe.
Today’s rice dish is a ‘maze gohan’ (混ぜご飯, pronounce /maze/, not /māz/). It is made in a very different way from those takikomi gohan dishes.
Takikomi Gohan (炊き込みご飯) vs Maze Gohan (混ぜご飯)
Takikomi gohan is made by cooking the rice and the other ingredients together, while maze gohan is made by mixing the flavoured ingredients with cooked rice. The word ‘maze’ (混ぜ) means mixing and ‘gohan’ (ご飯) is cooked rice.
Not only are the cooking methods different, but there are different characteristics between the two types of rice dishes. Depending on the situation you are in, you can pick a suitable cooking method.
Takikomi Gohan – the flavour of the ingredients and seasonings penetrate the rice grains, resulting in a harmonious and deep flavour.
Maze Gohan – although the rice does not soak in the flavour easily, you can enjoy the flavour, the texture, and the colour of ingredients better. If you want to taste the original flavour of the ingredients, maze gohan suits better.
Takikomi Gohan – depending on the ingredients to go into the rice, adjusting the quantity of water can be difficult. If the ingredients contain a lot of water, you may reduce the water level slightly when cooking rice with them.
Maze Gohan – Since you cook rice in the normal way, it is easy to cook rice perfectly. However, if you are mixing wet ingredients, you may need to cook the rice al dente.
Speed of Cooking:
Takikomi Gohan – the process of preparation and cooking is sequential and takes more time than maze gohan. If the ingredients need to be pre-cooked, you need to do this first, then cook rice with them.
Maze Gohan – while cooking rice, you can prepare the flavoured ingredients. It is suited better if you are pressed for time.
Takikomi Gohan – you can make a large amount of takikomi gohan at once. It is suited to special occasions with many guests.
Maze Gohan – you can make a just for 1 serving of maze gohan and you can even adjust the flavours by controlling the amount of ingredients to be mixed into the rice.
What’s in my Mixed rice with Chicken and Burdock (Tori Meshi)
- Chicken thigh fillet or breast fillet diced into small bite-size pieces
- Chicken skin chopped finely
- Sasagaki-shaved burdock
- Cooked rice
- Cooking sake
- Soy sauce
- Grated garlic
I used chicken thigh fillet as I like it better than breast fillet. Chicken skin is required because you need to get the oil out of it. This will enhance the flavour of the chicken. If you don’t have chicken skin, use 1 tablespoon of oil instead.
I could not find fresh burdock root, so I used frozen shaved burdock pieces. You can buy them in a bag at Japanese/Asian grocery stores. Some grocery stores might only sell burdock cut into matchsticks, rather than sasagaki-shaved. The matchstick burdock is used to make Kinpira Gobō and does not absorb the flavours as much as the shaved burdock. But it can still work.
If you are using a fresh burdock root, put the shaved pieces in water as soon as possible. This will prevent discolouration of the burdock pieces.
How to Make Mixed Rice with Chicken and Burdock (Tori Meshi)
Since this is maze gohan, you need to cook the ingredients first, then mix them with the cooked rice. See the video.
- Cook chicken skin in a frying pan and get the oil out of it. Transfer the skin bits to a plate.
- Cook chicken pieces in the pan, then add burdock pieces.
- Sauté until the edges of the burdock pieces start browning.
- Add the flavouring ingredients and stir well.
- Add skin bits to the pan (optional) and continue to cook until the liquid has almost evaporated.
- Transfer the flavoured ingredients to the rice in a large bowl and mix well in a cutting motion.
You will need about 1 tablespoon of oil extracted out of the chicken skin. If you do not have enough, add oil to make up for it. If you have too much, discard the excess.
It is important to let the liquid evaporate sufficiently, but not completely. The balance is a bit tricky. Too much liquid makes the rice soggy, and no liquid does not add a flavour to the rice evenly and the rice will end up with brown patches. When you move the ingredients to the side and you can see patches of liquid on the bottom of the pan, you have a right amount of liquid (see the video).
Yoshino no Tori Meshi is often sold as an Onigiri (Japanese Rice Ball). You can make Onigiri and take it for lunch (photo above). Tori Meshi also freezes well. My recipe makes quite a large quantity of Tori Meshi. So, why don’t you pack it into serving portions and freeze them?
Watch How To Make It
Mixed Rice with Chicken and Burdock comes with the delicious sweet-soy flavour of chicken and burdock. A touch of garlic flavour makes this rice dish unique for a Japanese dish. It is so flavoursome that you won’t need any other dishes to go with it. See the video.
Cook Time does not include the time to cook rice.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 200g/7.1oz chicken thigh fillets (note 1)
- 30g/1.1oz chicken skin finely chopped (note 2)
- 150g/5.3oz burdock thinly shaved using the sasagaki method (note 3)
- 670g/1.5lb freshly cooked rice (note 4)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cooking sake
- 2⅔ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic grated
Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
Put chicken skin into the pan and sauté for a few to several minutes to get the oil out of the skin.
When the chicken skin pieces become brown and crispy, transfer the skin bits to a plate.
You need about 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. If not sufficient, supplement with oil. If too much, remove excess oil.
Put the chicken pieces into the pan and sauté until the surface of the chicken pieces become whitish.
Add the burdock to the pan and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the edges of the burdock pieces start browning.
Add the Flavouring ingredients to the pan and stir well ensuring that every chicken and burdock piece is coated with the sauce.
Add the skin bits (optional) and continue cooking for a few minutes until the liquid almost evaporates (note 5).
Turn the heat off.
Put the hot cooked rice in a large bowl, then add the chicken and burdock mixture to the rice.
Mix well in a cutting motion using a spatula, ensuring that chicken and burdock pieces are mixed evenly and the rice grains are coated a light brown colour with no white patches.
1. I used chicken thigh fillet as it adds a richer flavour to the rice than other cuts of chicken. But you can use breast fillet if you like.
2. I removed the skin from my chicken thigh and used it. If you don’t have chicken skin, use 1 tablespoon of oil and skip steps 2, 3, and 4.
3. I could not find fresh burdock root, so I used frozen sasagaki burdock. Remove the moisture from the thawed burdock as much as possible.
You can buy a bag of frozen burdock at Japanese/Asian grocery stores. You might find that the shops only sell frozen burdock cut into matchsticks. They are used to make Kinpira Gobō. The matchstick burdock can work for today’s recipe but sasagaki burdock absorbs flavours much better.
If you are using fresh burdock root, leave the shaved burdock pieces in water as you shave them. This will prevent discolouration of the burdock pieces.
4. The quantity of rice is equivalent to cooking 360ml /12.2fl.oz of rice, which is 2 rice measuring cups (a rice measuring cup is 180ml/6.1fl.oz). 1 rice measuring cup of rice weighs about 150g/5.3oz. So, you need about 300g/10.6oz of uncooked rice if you measure it by weight, instead of volume.
Depending on the brand of rice and how you cook it, the cooked rice may weigh a bit less or more.
5. Do not leave too much liquid in the pan. Extra liquid will make the rice soggy. On the other hand, not enough moisture does not consistently stain the rice to light brown.
If you can see a small patch of liquid in the pan when you shift the chicken and burdock pieces to one side, you have the right amount of moisture.
6. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 284g calories: 406kcal fat: 11g (17%) saturated fat: 3g (15%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 2.4g monounsaturated fat: 4.6g cholesterol: 54mg (18%) sodium: 671mg (28%) potassium: 331mg (9%) carbohydrates: 58g (19%) dietary fibre: 2g (8%) sugar: 4.4g protein: 16g vitamin a: 1.1% vitamin c: 2.2% calcium: 3.3% iron: 16%