Advanced Chahan Recipe – Okinawan Fried Rice

ChahanBy far my most popular post on More Things Japanese is my easy recipe for Chahan.  This time around, I wanted to share a slightly more time-consuming, but even tastier recipe for those of you who love Chahan.  As with my advanced recipe for miso soup, it is all made from scratch, including the dashi.

Ingredients

  •  5 cups water
  • 1 piece conbu
  • 1 cup packed bonito flakes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 170g sausage
  • 1 pack mushrooms
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 package nirai
  • 1 cob fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped nira (a scallion-like leaf)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1tbsp sake
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2tbsp mustard
  • 2tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions

Start off by making the dashi.  We’ll use less than we would for soup or chanpuru so set a pot of water (5 cups) boiling and add one piece of conbu.  Add 2 teaspoons of powdered garlic and 1 tsp of ground pepper. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove the conbu.  Reduce heat to low.  Add 1 semi-packed cup of bonito flakes and stir.  Remove the boninto flakes after about 20 seconds. Remove from heat.

Wash 3 cups of white rice.  Traditionally this is done in the rice cooker pot, I use a strainer until the water runs clear.  Measure the rice to the top of the cup.  For sushi or regular rice, you would normally leave about a centimeter free.  We want firmer rice for chahan, so we’ll use a smaller water to rice ratio.  Add 3 cups of dashi, measuring with the same cup as you measured your rice.  You might notice in the video I add an extra cup, this was because the shape of the pot kept each cup from filling completely.  Let the left over dashi simmer on your lowest heat setting while you cook your other items.

Cook the rice per the instructions on your rice container, or use a rice cooker.  While you’re waiting, prepare your other vegetables.  Dice onions, mushrooms, and a carrot.  I used pre-shredded carrots for ease of use.  Wash and chop green onions and nira. Cut the corn from a fresh cob and dice the sausage.  Roast a garlic clove then dice it.  Wait about ten minutes to give the rice time to start cooking and then start cooking your other ingredients. If you have a fast rice cooker you can start straight away.

In a large frying pan, add olive oil and set to medium low heat.  When the oil begins to heat add the onions and mushrooms.  Add 1 tsp of salt to prevent carmelization of the onions. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally and then add the carrots and corn.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the meat and garlic.  Cook for another two minutes and add the nira.  While the mix cooks, crack open 5 eggs in a bowl, then scramble them.  Add the eggs to the mix and stir until the eggs are cooked. Let the mixture cook another two minutes.

In a separate bowl, make the sauce for the chahan.  Add soy sauce, sake,  mustard, ginger, pepper, and honey.  Mix well.  Add the remaining dashi which should be reduced to about 1/4 cup.

Add your cooked rice to the meat and vegetable mix.  Stir well and cook on medium heat.  Add the sauce and mix again.  Continue cooking until the Chahan is no longer wet, but is not hard.  Serve and enjoy.

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You can easily substitute other ingredients in this dish.  Try your favorite vegetables or chicken.  If you can’t find conbu or bonito flakes, you can use water or chicken stock for the rice, then add a packet of dried hon dashi from your local asian supermarket when you add the sauce.   This recipe will yield a large serving for three or four people and will have a mild flavor.  For a stronger bite, add more salt or soy sauce.

If you use this recipe, please share how it went in the comments!