Put 3-4 C Japanese rice in a rice cooker. Set it on timer to be ready at dinnertime.
Prepare the ingredients. (It's not as hard as it looks.)
Remove the fat and skin from:
1 large chicken breast
Place in a pan, and add:
900 ml water*
3 chicken bouillon cubes (or 3 t Better than Bouillon)
Boil on a low flame, covered, for 5 minutes. Turn off fire, and leave until cool. Shred chicken with a fork. Save the broth for soup.
*I suggest that if you have made chicken for Mexican food or sandwiches, this is a great way to use the broth. Cook the chicken for this meal in the broth you have saved from previously making chicken. Do not add any more bouillon. This extra chicken will add more natural flavor to the broth. A strongly flavored soup is important for this dish.
If you are able to make the broth by boiling chicken with bones, all the better. That is not practical for me, so I cut corners.
Soak 4 dried mushrooms in 1 C water for 30 minutes or so, until reconstituted. Place a clean cup or something on the mushrooms to keep them submerged while soaking.
Pour the soaking water into the chicken broth. (If there is any grit from the mushrooms in the water, strain that out.) Remove the stems and thinly slice the mushrooms.
Place in a small saucepan:
100 ml water
1 T mirin
1 T sake
1 T usukuchi (light) soy sauce
½ t light brown sugar
1 T minced fresh ginger root
the soaked and drained mushrooms
Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and have absorbed the flavors.
Strain out the mushrooms and ginger; add the broth to the soup. (If you want include the ginger, you can add that to the soup. I remove it because my kids don't like it.)
½ t sugar
¼ t salt
Put a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and heat over a low flame. Pour ⅓ of the egg mixture into the pan and turn the pan to spread it. It should be very thin. When almost set, turn it and cook the other side. The egg should be yellow - not the least bit brown. Remove from pan and place on a plate. Repeat until you've cooked all the eggs.
When the eggs are a bit cool, roll them up and slice thinly.
Finely grate the clean, dry peel of whatever citrus fruit you have. Ideally, you would use yuzu, but if that is not available, mikan (known in the West as Satusumas) or lemon peels are fine. You will need about ¼ t per serving.
Takuan (daikon pickles) or pickled papaya
As this recipe originated in Amami (one of the southern islands of Kagoshima Prefecture), traditionally pickled green papaya is used. But since that's a little hard to find, I use pickled daikon.
Slice into small thin strips:
10-12 cm of pickled daikon
Nori (dried seaweed)
You can buy shredded nori in the supermarket, but regular nori is fine. Just cut that into thin 3 cm lengths.
Negi (spring onions)
These I buy in season, wash, slice and freeze, and I always keep some growing outside somewhere since they are so easy to regrow.
Remove the root ends, wash, and slice into ½ cm lengths:
4-5 green onions
Finally, to serve:
Fluff the rice in the rice pot up, and put some in each bowl. Arrange a little of each of these ingredients around the top of the rice: shredded chicken, mushrooms, egg, takuan. Top with negi and citrus peel. Ladle on soup. Place nori on the top.
Serve with Seven Pepper Spice.