Japanese-style Shiitake Risotto with Miso

This recipe is an old favorite in our home. I took it and slightly adapted it from a book by Donna Hay. It is inspired by the classical Italian risotto, but it definitely has a good Japanese touch, with chili peppers, miso paste, sake, and shiitake mushrooms.

It is very nutritious and makes for a great main dish. If you don’t like spicy food, you can just omit the chili peppers. Moreover, you can use dried shiitake instead of the fresh ones.


Serves 2 – Total time 30 min
1.5 tbsp white miso
about 2 cups water
1/2 cup sake
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp peanut oil, coconut oil or olive oil
0.75 cup (160g) round-grain rice
0.75 cup (160g) fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 dried red chilies, chopped
1/2 tbsp mint, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
black pepper

Place water and sake in a pan. Bring to a boil; then, reduce the heat to low, and simply keep warm.

In a frying pan, add the oil on medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the chili peppers, fry for 30 seconds, and then add the rice. Fry, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

Add the water and sake mixture, a little bit at a time, and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently. When the rice is still a bit firm, add the shiitake mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the rice is done, adding some more water if necessary; it should be tender but not mushy at all.

In a small bowl, put the miso and a couple of tablespoons water; stir well until you get a smooth mixture.

Take the pan away from the heat. Add the miso and the herbs. Mix well.

Miso is a fermented product that contains many enzymes, and should not be heated above 118 F (48 C), or these enzymes would be destroyed. This is why it is added after cooking the rice.

Sprinkle with black pepper, and serve.


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