A vegetable-loaded alternative to plain rice
On a lazy weekend morning when I’m hungry but unwilling to spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen, healthy and vegetable-rich dishes often take a backseat. But to prevent such habits, I have a repertoire of quick and simple ways to add more fresh vegetables to my meals, and tororo furikake rice takes a special place.
While a stir-fry or a thick sauce can be a nice way to add decadence to a meal, when I’m thinking light and refreshing, my favorite way of flavoring rice is done without using oils or heavy salt. Using natural umami flavors and whole vegetables to add fiber and texture, tororo furikake rice is reliable and comes out perfect every time.
What is tororo?
Tororo is grated Japanese mountain yam, also known as nagaimo, that is flavored with dashi and sometimes a bit of soy sauce. It’s often served as a condiment to soba in restaurants, but one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is over rice.
Nagaimo is sometimes referred to as “mountain medicine” because of its digestive boosting enzymes and healing properties. It is often used in Chinese medicine because it contains a compound called allantoin, which helps promote the growth of healthy tissue and speed up healing time for injuries and inflammation. According to nutritionists, it also helps break down carbohydrates.
Mix in some furikake (a dry Japanese seasoning that is often made with kombu kelp, dried bonito, and sesame seeds) with the rice for a boost in minerals and calcium. And with that, you have a wonderful and healthful way to enjoy rice.
How to make tororo furikake rice
Makes: 2 servings
- 1 nagaimo or Japanese yam (about 100 grams)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon dashi powder
- 200 grams cooked rice
- Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning) to taste
- Peel the yam and grate it down. Add water and dashi powder, and mix together in a bowl — this is tororo!
- In a separate bowl, mix together rice and furikake.
- Serve the rice into single-serving portions, top with the tororo, and enjoy!
People are often confused when I don’t mention cooking the yam, but you can eat Japanese mountain yam raw. It is one of the only (if not the only) kinds of yam you can eat raw, so don’t try this with other varieties of yam.While I may have been exaggerating when I said it’s the best way to have rice, sometimes we need a bit of variety in the way we eat our staples. Tororo furikake rice is a great way to add an extra serving of vegetables to your meal if you feel as though something is missing, and a small sprinkle of sea vegetables and seeds for a boost in minerals can make all the difference.