If you want to experience traditional Okinawan cuisine, then jushime is a must-have!
Jushime (or jushi, for short) is a classic dish in Okinawan home cooking, and just about every family in Okinawa has their own recipe. While it was originally a dish intended for the Bon Festival (a late-summer festival to welcome the spirits of one’s dead ancestors), it eventually evolved into a dish that could be enjoyed any time of the year.
Classic jushi has a few key components—rice cooked in broth, a variety of vegetables such as carrots or shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, and pork (because, really, it’s not an Okinawan party unless there’s pork). However, in the years since World War II, canned fish (introduced by American soldiers) has also become a popular addition to the dish. I’m a fan of the more traditional ingredients, but there’s plenty of ways to experiment and make this exactly how you like!
If you own a rice cooker, this dish comes together easily in that. If you’re using a regular stockpot, though, the process is only slightly more involved. Simply bring the jushi up to a boil over high heat, cover, and let simmer on low heat for 18 minutes. After that, just remove from the heat and let it rest covered for 10 minutes before you serve. Enjoy!
4 1/2 cups water, divided
5 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 lb pork belly or shoulder
2 cups rice
1/2 cup kombu, sliced into 1/2” pieces
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp dashi powder
Pour 1 1/2 cups of water in a bowl, and soak the shiitake mushrooms in it for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight. Drain the water from the mushrooms, squeezing the mushrooms to wring out the excess; reserve the water. Slice the mushrooms thinly, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the pork belly to a boil with the remaining water. Boil for 8-10 minutes, until scum begins to float to the top. Remove from the heat; drain the pork, but reserve the stock. Dice the pork belly into bite-size pieces.
Rinse the rice, then put it in a rice cooker with the stock reserved from both the mushrooms and the pork belly. (If needed, add extra water to bring the liquid level up to 4 1/2 cups. If using brown rice, you will need 5 cups of liquid.) Add in the mushrooms, pork belly, kombu, carrots, soy sauce, and dashi powder. Turn on the rice cooker; once finished, let it rest for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid, and gently stir the mixture with a rice paddle to fluff it. Serve hot.
Serves up to 6.