In Japan, we have a rice gratin dish called Doria (ドリア). What’s Doria? Surely it doesn’t sound like a Japanese word but it is a popular Japanese rice casserole.
Doria was invented in 1930’s by a Swiss chef Saly Weil, the first master chef at Hotel New Grand in Yokohama, Japan. The first doria, Seafood Doria, was improvised by Weil for a guest who was sick, and since then all kinds of doria including his first Seafood Doria have been popular Yoshoku (Japanese western food) dishes in Japan (source).
Doria has three components: steamed rice, the savory sauce, and the melted cheese on top. The savory sauce was originally Bechamel sauce (white sauce), but these days there are many sauce variations and this is where you can be creative.
I’ve shared the doria with the tomato-base sauce (Meat Doria recipe) before and I’ve made today’s recipe with a popular spice – curry powder. However it’s not spicy so children can also enjoy this dish.
When you make the sauce, make sure to season the sauce well, make it a teeny bit on salty side. The reason is the rice dilutes the flavor so you don’t wouldn’t 2 bland components for this dish.
Rice or Pasta for Doria
By the way, if you prefer pasta instead of rice, you can use elbow (macaroni) or Fusilli pasta. Fusilli is a short spiral pasta with twisted surfaces that grabs hold of the sauce for more taste.
Growing up in Japan, doria has always been one of my favorite comfort food. As a mom, I love a simple dish like this where you have grains, vegetables, proteins, and dairy in one dish. Plus, how could you resist the melted cheese on top? I especially love the crusty crispy cheese on the baking dish…
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- 3 cups rice
- ½ large onion
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 small carrot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ lb ground beef
- ¼ lb ground pork
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp. Tonkatsu sauce (recipe)
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 2 Tbsp. butter, separated
- ½ cup Mozzarella cheese*
- ½ cup Romano cheese*
- 2 Tbsp. panko
- Parsley for garnish
- A fine mesh skimmer
- 2 medium size baking dishes or 1 large baking dish
- Start cooking rice. See How To Cook Rice (rice cooker or stovetop) for reference.
- Mince the onion, celery, and carrot into small pieces.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat and add crushed (or minced) garlic and a bay leaf (if you tear in half, the fragrance will come out faster).
- Saute minced onion and celery over medium high heat until they are almost translucent.
- Add carrot and cook until tender.
- Add the meat and break it up, stirring occasionally. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add 1 Tbsp. curry powder and 1 ½ cup chicken/vegetable broth. If the liquid doesn’t cover the ingredients, you will need to add more broth or water.
- Cover with the lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover and skim off the foam, fat, scum off from the liquid. It’s important to get rid of them so that you can achieve a nice and clean soup. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 Tbsp. Tonkatsu sauce, 2 Tbsp. ketchup, and 1 Tbsp. butter. The meat mixture should be a bit on saltier side than bland taste. You will be eating this dish with rice, so make sure it’s well seasoned. Cook and reduce the sauce until you see the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes, and turn off the heat.
- Use the other 1 Tbsp. butter to grease the sides and bottom of the baking dish(es). Place the steamed rice in the baking dish.
- Place the meat mixture (and sauce, if you like) on top of the rice. Then sprinkle both kinds of cheese. Finally sprinkle panko on top to add crispy texture.
- Pre-heat the oven on broil for 5 minutes. Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted and you see nice char on top. If you don’t have a broil setting, you can simply bake it until the top is golden brown. Everything is already cooked, so all you need to do is melt the cheese.
- Sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve immediately.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.