Caramelized sweet onion, seasoned with soy sauce and mirin, this simple Sweet Onion Takikomi Gohan is a flavorful and aromatic mixed rice to accompany your next Japanese meal.
Japanese meals are always accompanied by white steamed rice and miso soup, almost like a set meal. As we get bored with simple steamed rice, we often season the rice with soy sauce, mirin, dashi, and cook the rice with seasonal ingredients to make Takikomi Gohan (炊き込みご飯), or mixed rice.
As you can imagine, there are countless varieties of Takikomi Gohan with different seasonings and ingredients. Today, I’ll show you one of the quickest and easiest recipes – Sweet Onion Takikomi Gohan.
Sweet Onions for Sweet Onion Takikomi Gohan
What does sweet onion taste like? Sweet onion is not pungent and has a mild flavor due to its low sulfur and high water content compared to other types of onions. Sweet onion varieties include Maui Sweets, Vidalia Sweets, Texas Sweet, and Walla Walla Sweets.
It’s great to thinly slice the sweet onion and use it for salad as it doesn’t have that bitter taste. My children love them, so I always keep them in my pantry and make Takikomi Gohan with sweet onion.
When you saute the onion and season it with a savory-sweet sauce, the caramelized onion tastes so good by itself. But I especially love to cook the onion with short-grain rice. The Takikomo Gohan is a wonderful side dish to accompany any Japanese meal. Just top the bowl of Japanese mixed rice with mistuba (Japanese parsley), or chopped scallion.
Other Mixed Rice Recipes similar to Sweet Onion Takikomi Gohan
If you love Takikomi Gohan (Japanese mixed rice), here are more of my mixed rice recipes I know you will enjoy:
- Takikomi Gohan – the classic recipe
- Matsutake Gohan (Wild Pine Mushroom Rice)
- Kuri Gohan (Chestnut Rice)
- Ginger Rice
- Gobo and Miso Takikomi Gohan
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Sweet Onion Takikomi Gohan
- 2 rice cooker cups uncooked Japanese short-grain rice (180 ml x 2 = 360 ml; yields roughly 4 servings/4 US cups)
- ½ sweet onion
- 2 tsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.)
- ⅛ tsp kosher or sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- mitsuba (Japanese parsley) (or green onion/scallion to garnish)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Rinse rice until water is almost clear. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve for 15 minutes.
- Thinly slice the onion. I cut the onion against the grain so the onion keeps the texture after cooked.
- In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and pinch of salt and sauté onion until they are tender.
- Add mirin and soy sauce.
- Continue to sauté until the sauce is thickened.
- Add the drained rice into the rice cooker and pour the sauteed onion including sauce.
- Add the water up to “2 cup line” on the inner bowl and click start to cook. If you have a “Mixed Rice” option, use it (see Notes below).
- When rice is finished cooking, chop mitsuba into small pieces and fluff up the rice with a rice scooper. Serve the rice and garnish with mitsuba.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a month.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 21, 2011. The new images and step by step pictures were added in November 2017.