[F&B] Specialty Dashi Donabe Dishes Take Centrestage at MAI

[F&B] Specialty Dashi Donabe Dishes Take Centrestage at MAI

The premium dashi concept restaurant launches a new range of Japanese claypot rice dishes featuring seasonal ingredients

Singapore, 16 Oct 2019MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya has just launched a new range of Japanese donabe (claypot) rice, featuring the brand’s specialty dashi made from 2-year aged katsuobushi (dried bonito). Boasting an elegantly smoky flavour, MAI’s dashi is the secret ingredient to the deliciousness of its Japanese claypot rice, crafted with dashi-infused Hokkaido Yumepirika grains and seasoned with soy sauce and a dash of Japanese sake – delivering that distinct hint of umami in every bite.

The all-new donabe rice dishes are offered on MAI’s ala carte menu and are also featured as part of the restaurant’s omakase offerings. For $128++ per pax, expect an indulgent omakase experience with seasonal delights such as matsutake mushrooms. Typically picked in September and October, the arrival of matsutake mushrooms signals the beginning of autumn in Japan. Indulge in the meaty texture, slightly spicy aroma and earthy flavour of this prized fall delicacy in dishes such as the Shrimp and Matsutake Mushroom Clear Soup and Grilled Matsutake Mushroom Rolled with Seared Wagyu Beef, all thoughtfully infused with MAI’s signature dashi.

Donabe means claypot in Japanese and it is one of Japan’s oldest cooking vessels. Favoured for promoting even heat distribution, donabe allows food to be cooked at high temperatures, and is especially great for preparing rice dishes. In Japan, the tastiest rice dishes are often cooked in a donabe as the grains stay firm yet aptly sticky and evenly cooked. This Japanese “one-pot-wonder” however, takes time.

At MAI, the donabe rice dishes are well worth the wait. Each donabe rice is cooked to order over slow fire and takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes. This creates rich and deep flavours complemented with perfectly crispy rice, or what the Japanese call okoge, at the bottom.

Delight in the floral notes of chrysanthemum petals, alongside freshly grilled Spanish Mackerel

The Matsutake Mushroom Donabe Rice showcases the highly sought-after matsutake, prized for its distinct aromatic profile, while the Grilled Spanish Mackerel and Chrysanthemum Flower Donabe Rice features the assertively-flavoured oily fish from Yamagata, alongside floral notes of edible chrysanthemum petals. Both dishes are full on flavour, yet light on the palates. For heartier options, order the Seared Sliced Wagyu Beef Donabe Rice, where marbled slices of A4 Miyazaki or Hokkaido Wagyu are laid atop the bed of fragrant claypot rice, flame-seared, then mixed together with a slab of butter, egg, green onions from Kyoto, and crisp garlic chips. Luxe it up further with additions of creamy uni and dollops of ikura at supplementary prices, and you’ve got yourself a lavish meal.

Taking inspiration from Hainanese Chicken Rice, the MAI Style Chicken Rice features grilled dashi-flavoured chicken and a special sauce made to mimic flavours of the quintessential chilli that comes with the local delight. Made from Japanese chilli, young ginger, yuzu juice and perilla leaf, the in-house sauce provides that spicy kick, firing up your taste buds for more with every mouthful.

Flavours of Marusaya’s specialty dashi shine through its well-curated omakase menus

Ala carte prices for the donabe rice dishes start from $38++, and each claypot can serve up to 4 pax. Round up the dining experience at MAI with other dashi-centric dishes from its a la carte menu such as the 2 Years Aged Dashi Flavour Japanese Egg Custard (from $14++), Deep Fried Minced Wagyu Beef Cutlet “Dashi Flavour” ($6++) and Deep Fried Chicken “Dashi Flavour” ($16++), all made to complement their assortment of Japanese whiskies and fine sakes.

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