All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Benibana gohan / steamed rice with safflower petals

Cheerful orange-yellow rice accentuated with reddish petals. The slight bitterness of safflower petals is countered by sweet rice.


1 180 cc cup regular and mochigome sweet rice in combination (30% regular rice and 70% sweet rice in photo)
Approx. 120 cc water (not in photo)
1 tbsp dried benibana safflower petals
3-4 tbsp warm water (for hydrating safflower petals; not in photo)
1 tbsp sake
1/2 tsp salt
1 small (3-4cm square) piece kombu kelp


Wash regular and sweet rice, drain, and let sit for 1+ hours (longer when sweet rice proportion is higher than 40%).


Soak safflower petals in warm water.


When ready to cook, add sake and salt.
Strain, and add safflower petal rehydration water. (Save rehydrated safflower petals.)
Add water to a point slightly below the mark for 1 cup regular rice.
Put kombu piece, and cook.


When done, remove kombu, wait for 10 minutes, and gently fluff.


Add safflower petals, and turn.

  • Above I put a lot of sweet rice in order to get an okowa (steamed rice made with 100% sweet rice) effect and because I wanted to finish up some sweet rice that would not fit in a container. Mixing 20-25% sweet rice with regular rice should be enough to get a sweet taste that contrasts with the bitterness of safflower petals.
  • Sweet rice takes longer to cook than regular rice. If you use a higher proportion of sweet rice, let rice sit longer after washing to allow it to absorb enough moisture. If you use more than 70% sweet rice, it would be better to soak rice (for 2-3 hours), drain when ready to cook, and continue with Process 3.
  • If cooking in a pot, first measure 165 cc water (180 cc -15 cc/1 tbsp [the amount of sake]), and use some of this water to rehydrate safflower petals.

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