We’ve served up 1000s of these at festivals. Taking inspiration from both Korean Bibimbap & Japanese Donburi, it's an ode to lots of things we love: miso glazed aubergines, big dollops of chilli oil, zingy pickles, anything green & funky ferments that are good for the gut.
You can swap out the ingredients for whatever’s in season, or whatever’s left in the fridge. Mushrooms work just as well as aubergines. If tofu’s not your bag, try a different protein. And you can basically pickle anything and it’ll taste good. If you only do one thing with our rāyu, do this. You won’t be disappointed.
Our fave Rāyu Rice Bowl toppings
Boil ½ bag of peas (we love peas). They don’t take long. Run them under the cold tap once boiled to stop them cooking more.
We love having a jar of pickled radish in the fridge. It keeps for weeks (watch it go bright neon pink) and is an amazing acidic kick in your salads and sandwiches, especially the melted cheese variety. Mix sliced radish with rice or any clear vinegar, sugar, ginger and a few Sichuan peppercorns. And wait. Either a few hours or a few weeks.
Cucumber pickle is super quick. Finely slice a cucumber ideally using a mandolin, sprinkle with salt, sugar and grated ginger, and leave for 10 minutes or so for it to release its juices.
Shop-bought is fine – or make your own if you fancy!
Preheat your oven to 200°C. Cut aubergines into medium-sized chunks and chuck onto a baking tray with low sides, making sure it's not overcrowded (if it is, we beg you, use two trays!) Cover aubergines in LOTS of oil. They really do love oil – it’s what makes them go deliciously gooey. Add your miso and some salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes.
The chunks should be totally soft when pressed and the edges should be a little charred. Sometimes they need a good shuffle about and a little longer in the oven. Taste to check if they need a little more seasoning.
Always press your tofu a ton to get all the liquid out – this is the key to a crispier crust. Wrap the block in a tea towel as if it’s a precious ornament, stick it between two plates, then put a big heavy object on top. (We use a utensil jar.)
Leave it to squish for a few hours, or overnight if you like it super dry. When it’s suitably squished, marinade in some tamari and sesame oil. Season and sprinkle with sesame seeds, then roast in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes until nicely browned.
Sticky Japanese rice
Rice cookers are the best thing ever. They do all the work for you and your rice comes out perfectly fluffy every time. No rice cooker? No problem.
We work off a ratio of 1 ½ cups of water to every 1 cup of rice. Wash the rice a few times in a sieve, put it in a big pot, add the water and bring to a proper boil. Put a lid on your pot, turn the heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes – no peeking!