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Japanese Rice Bowl

by , featured in A Change of Appetite
Published by Mitchell Beazley
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Rice bowls are common dishes in Japan. Generally they have warm, simmered ingredients spooned over the top, such as braised beef. They are called donburi, which is both the name of the bowl in which they are served and also of the dish. This is a modern interpretation and a perfect recipe if you are watching both weight and health, with its whole grain rice, vegetables and raw fish. And the flavour is satisfyingly strong, because of the dressing. It also seems, perhaps because it is a beautiful dish, very centring to eat. There’s nothing to cut or wrestle with. It’s just you, simple food, a bowl and some chopsticks. Make it spicy by adding chilli to the dressing, or serving wasabi on the side.

Image of Diana Henry's Japanese Rice Bowl
Photo by Laura Edwards


Serves: 6

For the dressing:

  • juice of 3 limes
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons tamari soy sauce

For the rice bowl:

  • 375 grams brown rice
  • 150 grams edamame beans
  • 150 grams sugar snaps
  • ½ ridge cucumber (ideally a thin one), or regular cucumber
  • 525 grams very fresh sushi-grade tuna
  • 40 grams pea shoots
  • 6 spring onions (trimmed and chopped on the diagonal)
  • 4½ tablespoons pickled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds


Japanese Rice Bowl is a guest recipe by Diana Henry so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together.
  2. Cook the brown rice in plenty of boiling water until it is tender (it will still have a little bite in the centre of each grain), then drain and immediately stir in half the dressing. Cook the edamame and sugar snaps in boiling water for about two minutes, then drain and run cold water through them. Halve the sugar snaps lengthways. Half-peel the cucumber (so it has stripes down it), halve and scoop out the seeds. Cut the flesh into slices about ½cm (¼in) thick.
  3. Cut the tuna into slices about 3mm (⅛in) thick. Divide the rice between six bowls and top with the beans and sugar snaps, the cucumber, tuna, pea shoots and spring onions. Spoon the rest of the dressing over the top and add the ginger and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

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