Crispy Rice with Miso and Leeks

I love burnt rice. It’s hard to top something as simple and perfect as yakionigiri, but this recipe shows that the slightest effort makes something entirely different and delicious in its own right. I saw a photo of this recipe in the Japanese magazine, Kyouno Ryouri Beginners. This “beginners” series focuses each issue on one ingredient, and this month it’s rice. I quickly picked it up, knowing I had much to learn.

You can see in the photo below that this was supposed to be like a crispy rice pancake cut into neat wedges. But, you can judge how things went when I tried this at home. Disaster. I tried it a couple of times, but my version was not holding together. Maybe the variety of rice I’m using isn’t sticky enough? In any case, I’m not going to dwell on my shortcomings, but embrace them!


If we overlook the difficulty of flipping this baby in the skillet, the recipe uses simple ingredients and is easy to prepare. The combination of miso, sake, and mirin creates a complex flavor that is punctuated with the soft leeks. I recommend eating this right away as it doesn’t reheat well.

Crispy Miso Rice with Leeks | Negimiso iri Okoge Gohan
Adapted from きょうの料理ビギナーズ(2010年3月号)
Makes 2 servings

1 1/2 cups cooked short-grain rice
1 large egg
1/2 leek
2 Tbsp. miso
1 tsp. sake
1 tsp. mirin
canola oil

Trim the leek and cut in half lengthwise. Slice leeks crosswise in 1/4 inch thick half moons. Place in a bowl, rise with water, and dry with towels or spin dry.

In a large bowl, combine miso, sake, and mirin and whisk until smooth. Add the egg and whisk until well mixed. Add rice and mix well with a rice paddle or spatula. Finally, add leeks and fold into the rice mixture.

Heat a 1 tsp. of oil in a 10 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the rice mixture, shape into a round disc, and flatten with a rice paddle. Keep pressing the rice and cook for about 3 minutes.

Flip as best you can by placing a plate over the skillet and flipping the rice onto the plate. (I wasn’t very successful at this, but do the best you can!) Add 1 tsp. of oil to the skillet, then slide the rice back onto the skillet to cook the other side. Again, press the rice and cook for 3 minutes.

If you’ve managed to keep the rice in a pancake shape, bravo! Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 6 wedges. If not, take my lead and don’t sweat it. Serve it up like that’s how it’s suppose to be—it might not look as pretty, but it’ll taste the same.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted April 18, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I think I want to marry this. I love burnt rice. I love going to Soon Tofu places (my fave is Lee’s Tofu in Gardena) and getting the hot stone rice bowl. Yummmmmy.

  2. charlotte scheide
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I am going to make this but wonder which miso to use, I have shiro miso/ average white miso taste. I have a white miso from Kyoto that is sweeter. I have a red miso and I have awase ? (sorry for spelling) medium flavor miso. Which one do you feel is the best? Judging by the color of the finished product I say shiro miso! Will the sweeter miso be too sweet or help caramelize the rice? I used it with eggplant gratin lat week and it was wonderful. (recipe from Harumi Kurihana) and I want another use for this yummy miso.

  3. Posted April 19, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Charlotte, you have quite a selection of miso! I used shiro miso for this recipe, but I imagine the red miso would work, giving you a more robust flavor. I think the sweet miso might be too sweet, but if you have a hunch it will work, you should give it a try! If you’re looking for ways to use the sweet miso, I find it’s great on its own with some chilled Japanese cucumber spears. Also, I love the sound of the eggplant gratin—sounds like a winning recipe. Let me know how your dish turns out!

  4. Posted April 19, 2010 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this great recipe! I made it last night for my boyfriend and we both were crazy for it. I think it must have been beginners luck, because I managed to get it out of the pan in (mostly) one piece- no idea how I managed that.
    I’ll definitely be making this again soon. So yum!

  5. Posted April 19, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Temma, I’m so impressed! What’s the secret?! Really, for the life of me I couldn’t get the thing to stay in one piece. I’m happy it worked out for you!

  6. B
    Posted April 27, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    i’m planning on trying this tonight and i was wondering if you thought “old” cooked rice would work better? i have some leftover rice from last night that’s sitting in the fridge and i was thinking it might work better kind of like how making fried rice with “old” rice is better than fresh rice? what do you think?

  7. Posted April 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    B, old rice will be less starchy, so it won’t stick together the way fresh steamed rice would. If you don’t mind having the final dish stay in one piece, then go for it! Let me know how it turns out!

  8. Posted January 17, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Sounds lovely. I’ll have to try this out!

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