Jun 17
2020

Umeboshi Gohan (梅干しご飯) — Pickled Plum Rice

in Fuji Favorites, Japanese, Side Dish

rice made with umeboshi and tossed with shiso and sesame seeds

In episode 4 of our new podcast, The Onigiri Chronicles, my best friend Noriko and I discussed all things ume–the sour Japanese fruit that they use in Japan to turn into all sorts of wonderful things, like ume syrup and my favorite, umeboshi (pickled plums).  We talked about making umeboshi gohan (梅干しご飯), or pickled plum rice.  After recording I had to make some, because it is so good and the only remedy for my craving for it after talking about it was making some so I could eat it.

Umeboshi (pickled plums), fresh green shiso leaves, and toasted sesame seeds to add to rice for umeboshi rice

Making it is really simple.  You steam Japanese short-grain rice with umeboshi, then toss the steamed rice with the chopped flesh of the umeboshi that it was cooked with, along with finely chopped, fresh, green shiso leaves, and toasted white sesame seeds.  That’s it.  My umeboshi gohan was extra special this time around because I used umeboshi from my May Kokoro Cares Nourishing Essentials Care Package.  The umeboshi are made by Yasashi Ume Yasan in Kumano, Wakayama in Japan.  The ume are organically grown in Wakayama Prefecture which are then pickled with organic red shiso leaves in sea salt from Hyogo Prefecture, the old-fashioned way. (The way I like to do it!)

But if you want to take it a step farther and really treat yourself, use the finished rice to shape into onigiri (rice balls), for a wonderful snack or part of a meal!

Japanese rice balls made with umeboshi gohan (pickled plum rice)

Umeboshi Gohan (梅干しご飯) -- Pickled Plum Rice

Japanese short-grain rice that is steamed with umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums), then tossed with chopped, fresh shiso leaves and toasted white sesame seeds. This rice is simple, but absolutely delicious.

Ingredients

  • Uncooked, Japanese, short-grain, white rice
  • Cooking water: Use 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons of water for every cup of rice.
  • Umeboshi -- about 1 umeboshi per cup of rice* *Note: This amount of umeboshi produces a very subtle flavor. If you want a stronger umeboshi flavor, increase the number of umeboshi used.
  • Green shiso leaves, finely chopped, to taste (I use about 4 large leaves for every 3 cups of uncooked rice that I use)
  • Toasted white sesame seeds, to taste (I use about 2 tablespoons for every 3 cups of uncooked rice that I use)

Instructions

  1. Rinse the rice: Put the rice into a large mixing bowl and set it in the sink. Run cold water into the bowl, and with your hand, gently swish the rice around, and then carefully drain the water into the sink, without losing any of the grains of rice (it's ok if all of the water isn't completely drained). Repeat this until the water runs clear enough that you can count individual grains of rice, about 3 to 5 times. Drain the rice well after the final rinsing.

  2. If cooking in a rice cooker: Put the rinsed, drained rice and the cooking water in the pot of the rice cooker, then place the umeboshi on top of the rice. Follow the instructions for your rice cooker to cook regular rice. After the rice cooker has finished its cooking cycle, allow the rice to sit and steam for 10 to 20 minutes. When it has finished steaming, open the lid. Remove the umeboshi, then gently cut and fold the rice with a flat rice paddle or spatula, bringing the rice up from the bottom to the top to release excess steam. Do not stir or mix forcefully, as this will break grains of rice and the texture can become mushy.

  3. If cooking on the stove: Combine the rinsed, drained rice and the cooking water in a medium saucepan. Cover with a lid (it's best if it's see-through) and set it aside to soak for 20 minutes--the rice will become more opaque and plump.

  4. After soaking, remove the lid and place the umeboshi on top of the rice, then replace the lid and put the pot over high heat. Bring the water to a boil (listen/watch for the lid to start jiggling), then reduce the heat to low and cook until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid during the cooking process. (If you have to peak, do it as quickly as possible, opening the lid as little as possible.)

  5. Turn the heat off, but do not remove the lid, and let the rice steam for an additional 10 minutes.

  6. When it has finished steaming, uncover the pot and gently cut and fold the rice with a flat rice paddle or spatula, bringing the rice up from the bottom to the top to release excess steam. Do not stir or mix forcefully, as this will break grains of rice and the texture can become mushy.

  7. Remove the pits from the umeboshi and discard them. Chop the flesh of the umeboshi up, then gently fold it into the steamed rice. Add the finely chopped shiso leaves and toasted white sesame seeds and gently fold them into the rice. The rice is ready to serve or to be shaped into onigiri!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

gmail email login June 23, 2020 at 5:15 am

A nice lunch box idea! Thank you for the nice recipe, gotta try this very soon!

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Andrea July 19, 2020 at 12:18 am

This looks so good! I’ve been to Japan a number of times but have never tried this or anything similar before. I will have to search for umeboshi in my local Asian grocery and give it a try.

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