Japanese-style vegan mushroom rice: Kinoko no takikomi gohan revisited


The very first full recipe I posted on Just Hungry almost 4 years ago was Mushroom Rice (kinoko no takikomi gohan), and it still gets a lot of visits and comments, even though there's no photo to whet the reader's appetite or anything.

The original recipe called for traditional dashi stock made from bonito (fish) flakes, and suggested adding chicken and other things. This version is a lot simpler to assemble and it's all vegan, but it's just as tasty. And it comes with a photo! (My early photos on the site are pretty awful. I like to think I've learned a little since then.) I am using this in an upcoming bento, but it's good for regular dinner too, so it's posted here. It's actually the best when it's freshly made - the aroma of the mushrooms fills the kitchen, quite irresistible if you love mushrooms as I do. It is a very autumn (fall) kind of dish.

I think that this dish reflects my changing tastes and eating habits too, not to mention how I approach writing for Just Hungry, too. 4 years ago, I wasn't that worried about health issues or anything of that nature in regards to food. Now, I am rather proud that I have a tasty dish that is sugar-free, gluten-free (if you use a gluten-free soy sauce), and vegan! I feel a bit trendy.

(The original recipe is not that unhealthy or anything, but it does have a bit of meat, sugar, and so on.)

Vegan mushroom rice (kinoko no takikomi gohan)

  • 2 large dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 piece kombu seaweed (optional), left whole (6 inches / 15 cm or so)
  • 2 cups white Japonica rice (sushi rice)
  • 1 piece (about 2 cm / 1 inch long) of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sliced or shredded mixed mushrooms - fresh shiitake, morels, chantarelles, chestnut mushrooms, or whatever is around
  • 1-2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. sake

Equipment suggested: a rice cooker

Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in plenty of water, with the piece of kombu seaweed. You can soak more than the two you'll use in this recipe and use the others in other dishes - they will keep in the water, in the refrigerator, well covered, for a few days.

Take out the two shiitake from the soaking liquid, squeezing out the excess. Cut off the hard stem and slice up the caps. Mix together with the chopped ginger and fresh mushrooms, and sprinkle on the soy sauce and sake. Squeeze the mushrooms with your hands until the fresh ones wilt. Leave for a bit.

In the meantime, wash the rice.

Put the rice in the rice cooker bowl, and add the mushroom mix. Add enough of the mushroom soaking liquid to come up to the 2-cup level. Let the rice soak for at least an hour - set the rice cooker timer accordingly.

When the rice is done fluff up with a rice paddle. Serve right away or in bento. It freezes well too.

This makes about 5-6 cups of mixed rice (depending on how much mushrooms you put in, and what kind - maitake or chantarelles would shrink a lot more than, say, eringi (pleurotus)), enough for 2 bento rounds for two plus for dinner.


I normally use white rice for mixed rice (takikomi gohan) like this, because I think the flavors permeate the rice better than with brown rice. I don't worry about the lack of fiber content in the rice itself, because the added ingredients usually have lots of fiber anyway.


hi! i was wondering if you can cook this as you would cook regular rice, in a plain saucepan, as i don't have a rice cooker. i know i should invest in one but i just haven't gotten around to it yet... thanks, love your blog!

I made this last week in a plain old pot, as I don't have a rice cooker. I've never used a rice cooker, either, so wasn't quite whether "add enough of the mushroom soaking liquid to come up to the 2-cup level" just meant to add two cups of the liquid.

I added two cups to my rice, and I think it could have done with slightly more as it came out a little too sticky. I think I'll try 2 1/4 next time...

Sure, you can cook it in a plain pot too. I would recommend letting the rice and mushroom mix 'sit' for a bit if at all possible, though it should taste good even if you cook it right away.

I'm glad you like the site! :)

How big are the pieces of ginger and kombu?

The ginger is chopped fine, and the kombu (which is just used for soaking with the mushrooms to give the soaking liquid added flavor) is just left whole, like in this picture.

lol! I meant how much. Like a thumb size piece of ginger or 7" piece of kombu. Is it in the post? Sorry if I missed it.

About an inch long piece of ginger, and a 6-7 inch or so kombu. I've added it to the instructions now.

Ok, this might be a silly question, but are the dried mushrooms better than the fresh for use in the rice cooker? I've never put anything but rice and water in mine... I've only used dried mushrooms (porcini) a couple times, but I had a bad experience where they ended up not nearly as well washed as I'd believed.. ugh.

I love the full-feed email, by the way, thanks :)

Dried mushrooms are much more concentrated in flavor than fresh...actually they have an almost different flavor, and a different texture too. And the water that it's been soaking in becomes the basis for a rather tasty stock. That's why I used both dry and fresh here, for that concentrated flavor and the stock you can get from the soaking liquid. I know what you mean about porcini...they can be a bit gritty sometimes. I sort of scrub them off (even if it may lead to a little loss in flavor) with a vegetable brush...since i'm not a chicken I don't like grit in my food!

Glad you like the full feeds :)

Do you need to mix the rice and the mushrooms when you add them to the rice cooker bowl? Or, do you leave the mushrooms on top of the rice in the liquid?

You can leave the mushrooms on top - they'll rise to the top somewhat anyway - and mix it in when you fluff up the cooked rice.

Hi Maki,

I ended up making your first version of mushroom rice a few days ago and really enjoyed it. Since I only had dried shitake mushrooms at home I decided to use just that instead of a combo or fresh and dried. I soaked the mushrooms the night before I was going to cook the rice but ended up not being able to do it, so I waited for the day after. The mushroom broth I got was really intense in flavor. I followed your recipe but also added a tsp of instant dashi and pinch of salt. The rice was WONDERFUL. The house smelled of shitake mushrooms when the rice cooker was cooking the rice. Really enjoyed it. Please keep on posting your wonderful recipes.

Hello from another 伊藤.

I tried this and perhaps you can advise me where I may have gone wrong. I used a (Zojirushi) ricecooker, and the mushrooms (I believe they were the fresh ones) turned out very rubbery. It tasted good none the less, but it made it a little more difficult for the whole family to enjoy.

Thanks for the inspiring sites and the Japanese veg tips/recipes.

You can try a few things next time -
- shred or slice the mushrooms finer
- use mushroom types that don't get rubbery (in my experience anyway) - shiitake (better if sliced fairly thinly), maitake, shimeji, chanterelles and other very tender mushrooms
- massage the mushrooms with the flavoring ingredients a bit longer so it turns quite limp

hope that helps!

Not only is this rice good with Bento No. 5, it also works really well on sliced French bread with brie. I know it sounds like a really improbable combination, but when I tried mixing various leftovers together on a whim, they went surprisingly well together. Who knew?

Hello! I'm 17 and, unfortunately, I've never really learned how to cook. BUT, I'm currently a 3rd year Japanese student and have decided I would like to start making bentos this year (you know, cafeteria food isn't that great and all). But part of the problem is, I live in Arkansas =( so I don't have much access to a lot of ingredients. Also both of my parents are southern (and have NO experience cooking Asian food) so I'm at a bit of a loss. I have a cheap rice cooker that gets the job done, some palm-sized dried shiitake mushrooms, and some Nishiki rice. But beyond that, I don't have much else listed =( So since my parents can't really help me out, I have a few questions!

About how long should I let the mushrooms soak?

I have mirin but no sake, I was curious about you opinion of substituting it?

The only other mushrooms I have are baby 'bellas', do you think they'd go alright?

Thanks so much! =)

Have you looked at our sister site, Justbento.com? It has loads of information, recipes, how-tos and so on for packing all kinds of bento.

Dried shiitake mushrooms don't taste like any other dried mushrooms really. They usually can be reconstituted in about an hour in cold water, or a shorter time in hot tap water.

Hi Maki,

I don't have kombu right now. But I have the hondashi granule type. Can I use it instead or better off not using anything to substitute the kombu?


You can use a teaspoon or so of the dashi granules, and just use 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. That should work out well.

Thank you for sharing this recipe - it has become one of my all time favourites and I make it all the time!

For today's lunch I made Inarizushi and filled the aburaage with kinoko no takikomi gohan. So delicious!

I made this last night along with some ginger pork. I used maitake and bunashimeji for the fresh mushrooms and it was delicious. My other half is finally starting to recognize umami. I was told it was very savory and a perfect fall dish.

My only question is I wasn't sure what to do with the kombu after soaking, do you cook it with the rice and remove it after? Or do you use it only to flavor the shiitake soaking water? I just ate it after soaking, but I almost threw it in the rice cooker.

Weirdly, it's really hard to get dried shitake ,mushrooms where I live yet very easy to get fresh ones. What can I do if I want to make the mushroom rice without any dried mushrooms to soak in the water?

This is a great recipe and I have made it several times. As I love brown rice I decided recently to try it with this, and definitely wouldn't recommend it. As Maki says the brown rice just doesn't absorb the delicious flavours as well, and also by the time the brown rice is cooked the poor mushrooms are very sad and over- cooked! It may work adding them later, but as the point of this dish is the gorgeous flavour of the mushroom-infused rice I'll be sticking to white rice in future for this particular dish! ;)

I come almost everyday on this blog, thank you so much dear Makiko, for all those wonderful recipes, discoveries and so much more !

I ran out of sake. What do you recommend I use as substitute?

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