The supermarket shelves in Japan are stocked with instant gomoku takikomi gohan (five-ingredient-boiled-together rice), but little do the Japanese housewives know it’s so easy to make from scratch! The orginal recipe I followed (from the half-Japanese, half-English Recipes of Japanese Cooking) calls for chicken thighs as one of the five ingredients, but I have successfully made a vegetarian version with abura-age (deep-fried tofu). And even if you have an aversion to konnyaku, that gelatinous, flavorless devil’s tongue jelly, it is an essential part of the dish, providing occasional chewy mouthfuls that liven things up. Gomoku takikomi-gohan (5-Ingredients Mixed Rice) Makes 3 servings 1 1/2 cups Japanese rice, washed and drained 3 oz/80 g chicken thighs 2-inch piece of carrot 1/3 gobō 2 dried shiitake mushrooms 1 package konnyaku strips 1 cup dashi or chicken broth 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon sake 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably usukuchi shōyu (light soy sauce) 1/2 teaspoon salt mitsuba or other leafy green herb, for garnish Put the chicken in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sake and let stand while you prepare the other ingredients. Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup water to soften. Cut the carrot into matchstick-sized pieces. Scrape the gobu with the back of a knife under running water to clean it, then cut into thin shavings. Rinse if desired. Drain the mushrooms, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking water, then remove the stems and cut into strips. Pour the stock and reserved mushroom-soaking water in a medium-size pot and add the mushrooms, carrots, gobō, konnyaku and chicken (with sake and accumulated juices). When it begins to simmer, add the sugar and sake and continue cooking for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and salt and simmer for another minute. Drain the ingredients into a sieve over a bowl, keeping the solids and liquids separate. Put the washed rice in a rice cooker or pot and add the solid ingredients. Measure the strained liquid; add water or pour off some of the liquid so it measures 1 1/2 cups. (Use slightly more liquid if you are cooking in a pot rather than a rice cooker.) Pour the liquid into the rice cooker or pot and cook as usual. When the rice has finished cooking, stir to distribute the ingredients. Garnish each serving with a few mitsuba or other herb leaves.