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How LA’s N/Soto Assembles Its Trout and Ikura Donabe Dish

Chef Carole Iida-Nakayama uses kombu dashi to season the trout and rice inside the donabe

On this episode of Plateworthy, chef Nyesha Arrington visits chef Carole Iida-Nakayama at LA’s N/Soto as they make a trout and ikura dish in a donabe, which means “clay pot,” and serves as the finishing rice course on the menu.

When asked by Arrington whether there is a specific stock or liquid that is traditionally used in donabe dishes, Iida-Nakayama refers to kombu dashi, consisting of bonito flake and kombu steeped in a pot of water. “In Japanese food, you can’t cook without dashi,” says Iida-Nakayama.

The dish is assembled by first putting washed rice into the clay pot, then the trout on top of the rice, and topping it with the ichiban dashi before it goes onto the stove. “This is just a ratio of 10 parts dashi, one part usukuchi soy sauce, and then there’s a little bit of mirin to add a little sweetness,” says Iida-Nakayama.

The donabe allows everything to cook evenly and the steam to be trapped inside with the food.

“There’s nothing hyper-technical about this,” says Iida-Nakayama. “It’s really about the deeper meaning that I really want people to get from N/Soto and Japanese cooking.”

Watch the full video to see how Arrington and Iida-Nakayama cook and assemble each part of the trout and ikura donabe dish.

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