Kamameshi (釜めし) is a popular rice dish eaten throughout Japan.
It is made of rice and various other ingredients that are cooked and served directly in a small pot. Typically, each pot is meant to be eaten by just one person (i.e. single serving).
The word “kama” (釜) translates to iron pot, or kettle. “Meshi” simply means rice or meal in Japanese.
Read on for more interesting info about Kamameshi:
The main ingredients of Kamameshi are:
- Various toppings
Any variety of vegetables, meat or seafood can be used to make kamameshi. Chicken and shiitake mushrooms are a very common choice.
Typical flavoring / seasoning is made with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi
The pot itself could actually be considered an important ingredient, as everything is cooked and served in the same pot. Traditionally, a cast iron or clay pot is used.
When rice is cooked in this way, the rice on the side/bottom will be slighlty burnt, giving it a nice crispy texture that is much different from rice cooked in a rice cooker.
Kamameshi can be found throughout Japan. It is very popular as an “ekiben“, which is boxed lunch (i.e. bento) bought at a train station (i.e. eki).
The most famous kamemeshi ekiben is from a shop at Yokokawa station in Gunma prefecture (Shinsetsu Line). It is called “Touge no Kamameshi” (峠の釜めし), or “mountain pass” kamameshi, due to the station’s location. The company, Oginoya (https://www.oginoya.co.jp), has since expanded to many locations throughout Japan.
History / Origin
The first kamameshi was invented in 1924 by a small shop in Asakusa, Tokyo called “Kamameshi Haru” (釜めし春).
It is said that the owner of the shop started cooking meals in a single pot out of necessity after the Great Kanto earthquake.
The owner also taught others how to cook kamameshi, and worked together with craftsmen to create single serving pots.
The shop is still open today, so make sure you try it if you happen to be in Tokyo (Google Maps link).
Have you ever tried kamameshi before? What did you think of it?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!