Gomoku Gohan and onion soup
Today was Japan day!  It was harder to find some recipes for Japan, since we've cooked meals from there both previous times we've done this Olympic cooking.  To read more about how we've previously cooked and studied Japan during the Olympics, go here and here.  I finally came up with a recipe for onion soup and Gomoku Gohan, a mushroom, chicken and rice dish.  I started cooking at 1pm and we ate at 5.  I was not actively cooking the entire time, since the soup was in the crock pot, but be forewarned that you will need to plan some time for them.

I'll give you the family's verdict following each recipe, but no one was unhappy with the meal today.

Benihana Knock-Off Onion Soup (original recipe from Titi601)

You will need:

5 cups water
1 white onion
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 celery stick, chopped 
2 tsp chicken bouillon seasoning 
2 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
~3/4 cup of all-purpose white flour
1/3 cup soy milk  (you can use any kind of milk, but Bug is dairy-free)
3-4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
a bunch of green onions, chopped

Mix together the water, salt, and bouillon in a medium/large crock pot.  Add the chopped carrots and celery to the broth. Chop one half of the onion and add to broth. Cover the crock pot and let it cook for 2 hours on high and then 2 hours on low.

This is what it will look like after cooking for 2 hours.
Slice the second half of the onion into thin slices and set aside for later. When there is about 15 minutes of cooking time left on the soup, dip the onions in the milk and then toss in the flour until coated. 

Heat some oil in a frying pan.  Once oil is hot, put onion in and fry until they are golden brown, stirring frequently. 

Sorry for the crappy picture.  I was taking it with my phone and one hand. 
While the onions slightly cool, strain the veggies out of the broth, leaving a yellowish, but clear broth, or dashi. 

Next, serve soup in a bowl, and add thinly sliced mushrooms, green onions, and add a few fried onions.

Onion soup
Verdict:  I felt the flavor was a little bland and added more salt.  Everyone else liked it, although they didn't want to eat just the broth when the other parts were gone.

Gomoku Gohan (original recipe by Marc Matsumoto on PBS's Fresh Taste blog).  

You will need:
1 ounce of shiitake mushrooms (I used fresh but the original recipe called for dried)
2 cups of water
5 oz of chicken thigh, cut into 1/3 inch pieces
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP mirin
4 oz sliced water chestnuts
2 oz carrots, diced
2 oz of shimeji mushrooms, separated 
1 tsp oil
2 cups of brown rice
1/2 tsp salt
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Rinse shiitake mushrooms, cutting off the ends of the stems and any spots that look bad, and soak them in 2 cups of boiling water for 30 minutes.  While soaking, mix the soy sauce and mirin and add chicken, coating all the pieces. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.

Once the shiitake mushrooms have finished soaking, drain them, but KEEP the soaking liquid. Put the rice into a large pot with a tight fitting lid.  Add 1 3/4 cups of the soaking liquid to the rice, and let it soak for an hour.

While the rice is soaking, take out your shimeji mushrooms.  If you are like me, you have never heard of shimeji mushrooms, much less seen them!  Gently separate the stems from each other, chopping off the root part.  Rinse them lightly and set aside.

Shimeji mushroom
When the rice has been soaking about 45 minutes, heat the oil in a saute pan.  Add the chicken, keeping back as much of the marinade in the bowl as you can.  Fry the chicken until it is a golden brown.  Add the carrots, water chestnuts, both types of mushrooms, and the marinade you'd held back in the chicken bowl.  Stir fry them until the vegetables are browned and there is no liquid left in the pan.

Once the chicken and veggies are brown and at risk of drying out, gently dump them over the rice, being careful not to disturb the rice.  DO NOT STIR!!  Bring the water in the pot to a boil over high heat, then cover with a lid and turn the heat down to medium low for 15 minutes.  Do not open the lid while the rice is cooking!  After the 15 minutes, turn off the heat, but leave the lid on and let the rice steam for another 15 minutes.

When the rice is completely done, mix the rice, veggies, and chicken and serve, garnishing with the sliced green onions.
Gomoku Gohan
The Verdict:  While the kids weren't too thrilled about the shiitake mushrooms, they really liked the flavor of the Gomoku Gohan.  Except for Ebabe, everyone cleaned their plates!  The rice was slightly under cooked, but I think that one of the kids may have bumped the dial for the burner, turning it up slightly higher than medium-low and thus cooking the rice too quickly.

For dessert, we (well, 4 of us) enjoyed the Sopapilla cheesecake we'd made yesterday, but didn't get a chance to eat!  The recipe is listed in yesterday's post.

Verdict:  Those in the family who like cheesecake and can eat dairy, LOVE the Sopapilla cheesecake.  I am not a cheesecake fan, but I had a small piece and it was good!
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