Kamameshi (cooked rice in an iron pot) (釜飯)
Kamameshi is a rice dish cooked in an individual pot, seasoned with soy sauce and mirin (sweet sake) with ingredients such as shiitake mushrooms and chicken on top. It is a kind of takikomi-gohan (rice cooked with various ingredients) and is characteristically, like a casserole, served as a pot on the dining table instead of as a bowl with rice from the pot. Regarding types of kama (a cooking pot for rice), besides iron pots of hagama style (old type of pot for a hearth) as shown in the picture, earthware pots like Mashiko-yaki or Koda-yaki are also often used.
Prepare cooking rice and ingredients and put them in the pot. Add soy sauce, ryorishu (cooking sake), mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), konbu (a seeweed for broth), and so on to water for seasoning.
Boil the rice on high heat until the broth starts boiling over (about 5 minutes).
Turn heat lower.
When it is almost dry, cover completely and steam for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Kamameshi as ekiben (box lunch sold on a train or at a station)
Kamameshi is also well-known as ekiben. In this case, pottery containers of casserole type are mainly used. After lunch, the empty containers can be utilized in the home kitchen (it is convenient to cook a small amount of rice porridge).
In old times, in the Usuitoge Line, all the passenger train were stopped for a long time at the station because attachment and release of the bank engine were operated there (see Usui Toge Railway). Because of such unique circumstance of the train station, Kamameshi ekiben of Yokogawa Station, Shinetsu Main Line (Gunma Prefecture) was popular. Today, kamameshi is seen everywhere in Japan as follows.
Examples of kamameshi as ekiben
Tokaido Main Line
Unagi (eel) kamameshi (thermal type container)
Chuo Main Line
Takeda-shi jinchu (Takeda saumurai family at the front) kamameshi (first sold in 1967)
Sansai-tori (wild vegetables and chicken) kamameshi, Yama no fumoto no tori kamameshi (chicken Kamameshi served at the foothill), Sumibiyaki jidori (grilled local chicken) kamameshi, awabi (abalone) kamameshi
Tohoku Main Line
Kujira (whale) kamameshi
Shietsu Main Line
Yokokawa Station (Gunma Prefecture)
Toge no kamameshi (kamameshi served at a mountain pass) (first sold in 1958)
Kaen kamameshi (kamameshi of blaze)
Echigo no kuni (Niigata Prefecture) kamameshi
Takayama Main Line
Matsutake(matsutake mashroom) kamameshi
Manpuku (satiety) kamameshi
Inadani sansai (wild vegetables of Inadani) kamameshi
Other popular kamameshi
Mishima, Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Uni (sea urchin) kamameshi