I’ve been a fan of donburi since I first tasted it when a friend brought me to a small Japanese restaurant in New York City. The restaurant, more of a lunchroom, had no sign and was on the second floor above some shops. The room contained several long tables that were filled with Japanese people enjoying their lunch: the rice bowl dish known as donburi. A kind of Japanese fast food, donburi is boiled rice topped with fish, meat, eggs, or vegetables simmered in a dashi broth made with soy sauce and mirin.
This vegan donburi recipe features a topping of one of my other favorite Japanese dishes: gomai, which is spinach with a sesame sauce. The combination of donburi and gomai are Japanese comfort food at its finest.
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil or 1/4 cup water
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 8 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 10 ounces fresh spinach, well washed and coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
- 3 scallions, minced
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and tahini, stirring until blended. Set aside.
Heat the oil or water in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and stir-fry until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved coconut milk, soy sauce, and tahini mixture, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, stirring frequently, until hot and creamy, 5 to 7 minutes.
Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the tofu, scallions, and remaining tablespoon of soy sauce and cook, stirring to coat. Add the cooked rice and sesame seeds, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine and heat through. Spoon the rice mixture among individual bowls, top each with the spinach mixture and serve hot.
This recipe is from Vegan Without Borders © Robin Robertson, 2014, Andrews McMeel Publishing, photo by Sara Remington.