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Japanese Rice Burger..

Like me, you may be partial to the occasional hamburger. For many Japanese of a certain age, a McDonald's Burger - (or make that a MakaDonaldo as the Japanese pronounce it) used to be a big childhood treat in the 1970s. Like most foods that the Japanese adopt as their own, the taste and style of the recipe gets adapted over time to better suit local palates. One innovation that a Japanese rival to McDonald's called MosBurger (Mountain Ocean Sun Burger - don't ask me why!) introduced in the 1980s was the rice burger. Rice burgers were a great idea, especially if you found dry, spongey burger buns a bit of a disappointment. But there was a catch with the rice burger - it had to be served in a paper wrap because the rice was too soft to hold its shape - out of the wrapper, it would simply fall apart - not great for a "food on the go".

But there are some neat solutions to this problem, like my Japanese rice burger recipe presented here. The thing to do is to shape the rice using a mould and then fry it for a few minutes. Frying the rice makes the starch bind the grains of together into a much more solid form. This is the hack I use to make my burger "rice buns" and I find that the rice does become firm enough to be able to pick up and hold just like a burger bun.

So, how do I make these and what do you need to make this recipe? The only piece of "kit" you will need is a humble cookie cutter. It needs to be one of the larger ones in your inventory - large enough to be about the same size as a cooked burger. (Bear in mind that burgers do tend to shring while being cooked.)

As for the ingredients, you'll need a couple of burgers and obviously, you'll need some cooked Japanese rice. (The rice has to be a short grain "sticky" variety or the grains won't bind together when fried.) For this recipe, I flavour the burgers with plain old mayo and ketchup. If you prefer, you could use mustard or go full Japanese and use teriyaki sauce. I also add a slice of cheddar cheese but this is a "naughty but nice" option that you can omit if you prefer. (If you do add cheese slices, you can use the cookie cutter to cut them to size as well.)

If the photo above isn't enough to get you drooling just a little bit, then let me assure you, once you've tried one or two of these little beauties, you might never want a burger in a bread bun again. Really!

If you want to try this out, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Rice Burger or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.

Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.



(makes 2 rice burgers)

330g / 12oz cooked Japanese rice

2 fresh or frozen quarter pound beef burgers

1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 slices of cheddar cheese

2 slices cut from a large tomato

1 or 2 lettuce leaves

some mayo and ketchup (or mustard or teriyaki sauce)

a large cookie cutter (about the samesize as your cooked burger)

a bowl of water big enough to dip the cookie cutter and spoon


start by frying or grilling your burgers. personally, I fry mine on a medium heat. I find a quarterpounder takes around 8-10 minutes each side with the lid on the pan.

once you've got the burgers started, turn your attention to the rice. divide it into 4 equal portions in a bowl. next, spoon out 1/4 of the rice into your cookie cutter. tamp the rice down firmly into the cutter using the back of the spoon. the "bun" should be around 1.5cm / 3/4 inch thick. the key is to tamp the rice down quite firmly so that when you lift the cookie cutter, the rice doesn't fall out - you should have to push it out gently with the spoon. that way, when you cook your rice bun, it should turn out firm enough to able to eat it with your fingers without breaking up. so, once you've got a nice, uniform layer, use the dessertspoon to push your first "rice bun" out of the cookie cutter and onto a plate.

make 3 more rice buns using the same method.

(PS: remember to flip your burgers while you're making the rice buns.)

next, using a medium or large frying pan, pour in 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil. spread the oil around in the pan and get it nice and hot. gently slide your rice buns into the pan and fry for 4 - 5 minutes over a medium high heat. shake the pan gently a couple of times to prevent the buns sticking to the pan.

halfway through the cooking time, gently turn the rice buns over. keep an eye on the pan - when the rice buns are lightly browned, they are ready.

to assemble your rice burgers, place each burger onto one of the rice buns. use the cookie cutter to cut the cheese squares into net roundels.

add the round cheese and tomato slices and some lettuce leaves onto the top. squeeze over some mayo, mustard etc, then last, top with another rice bun.

serve with some salad.

once you've made these once or twice, you'll be able to tailor the thickness of the rice bun to your own taste. personally, I like the "buns" to be quite thick for a satisfying meal (and more substantial than a burger made with a bread bun.) on the other hand, if you prefer a thinner rice bun, this will also work. you can get the thickness down to about 1 cm / 1/2 inch and the rice will still be firm enough after frying to eat with your fingers.


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