Taste of spring, vegan-friendly one-pot-meal—rice with deep-fried tofu and wild vegetables

When too busy to make dashi stock to cook soup, this hearty rice dish is a simple yet nice alternative. This versatile one-pot-meal recipe can be customised depending on the season and whatever you have on hand. It is especially great for vegetarians or vegans!

Every spring, as apart of my cooking workshops, I offer sansai wild vegetable picking outings with visiting students. We then use our freshly foraged goodies in our selected recipes. If interested, have a look at the video or book your own personalised workshop here! 

In the springtime, just after a rainy day, my mum loves going out to pick baby warabi (fiddlehead fern) and takenoko (bamboo shoots). We add these wild baby vegetables and some juicy chicken thigh meat or age (deep-fried tofu) to make a quick, yet nutritious meal. In autumn, we use shimeji mushrooms and matsutake instead. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms can be used in other parts of the world. 


Rice with deep-fried tofu and wild vegetables

Serves 4


  • 5 cups* short grain rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 60g carrot (shredded)
  • 1 sheet of deep fried tofu (age)
  • 120g warabi (baby fiddlehead fern)
  • 1/4 teaspoon juso (baking soda**)
  • vegetable oil as needed
  • 80ml soy sauce (koikuchi)
  • 40ml mirin
  • splash of sake (optional)

   *1 cup is 200ml                                                                                                                        **The Japanese use juso to remove subtle toxins of some wild vegetables


  1. Blanche deep-fried tofu in boiling water, dice into 1x1cm cubes.
  2. To prepare warabi, wash it in fresh water and put them in a metal bowl and add juso powder.
  3. Cover with boiling water and leave for overnight.
  4. The following morning, rinse in running tap water for about 6 hours. This removes aku, the natural toxic substance found in some wild vegetables.
  5. Cut warabi into half-inch long pieces.
  6. Oil frying pan and stir-fry shredded carrot for about a minute.
  7. Add warabi and chopped deep-fried tofu, and add soy sauce and mirin.
  8. Cook over medium heat for about one minute.
  9. Remove from heat and mix with freshly cooked rice. You may use re-heated leftover rice.

Thanks for joining me this week on my cooking blog. I hope to see you next week, when I’ll be making another version of this one-pot meal—rice with bamboo shoots and chicken. Combining juicy chicken thigh meat with fresh rice and nutritious bamboo shoots creates a hearty and satisfying meal. It's also quick and easy to make! See you next time!