Kiritanpo – miso-glazed grilled rice

Kiritanpo – miso-glazed grilled rice

Coming from the Akita prefecture in Japan, these kiritanpo celebrate one of the regions major industries: rice growing.

Kiritanpo

Supposedly kiritanpo was developed as a travel ration for hunters, keeping the fellas content as they traipsed into the mountains in search of something to kill and bring home.

Kiritanpo

This rice on a stick is held together by the process of pounding cooked rice while it’s still hot, just enough to make it sticky. Moulding the pounded rice with hands dipped in salted water helps season it before it’s put infront of coals, burnishing the surface and drying the insides at the same time.

Kiritanpo

In Akita they tend to toss it into nabe, a soup containing loads of goodies like vegetables, meats and tofu. This rehydrates and flavours the kiritanpo and gives the soup even more substance.

I haven’t gone as far as making the kiritanpo-nabe, but I have done my skewers much like how you could expect to have them at festivals in the prefecture.

Kiritanpo

A delicious glaze is made by combining white miso, sugar, soy and honey. This is generously brushed onto the kiritanpo after it gets a little colour from sitting infront of hot coals. Once the glaze is on, the kiritanpo spends a bit more time by the coals; drying out the glaze and almost fusing it to the rice.

Chomping into one is kind of delicious. First you hit the salty and sweet glaze, and then the crispy surface of the rice that gives way to a hot, chewy centre.

One thing I would definitely try next time I make them, is mix toasted sesame seeds and crushed nori through the rice before moulding it.

Recipe by Adam Liaw.

Kiritanpo - Miso glazed grilled rice 06

 


Print Recipe
Kiritanpo - miso-glazed grilled rice
Coming from the Akita prefecture in Japan, these kiritanpo - or grilled rice on a stick - are the perfect street snack or addition to a hearty nabe soup.
kiritanpo
Cuisine Japanese
Servings
sticks
Ingredients
Rice
Glaze
Cuisine Japanese
Servings
sticks
Ingredients
Rice
Glaze
kiritanpo
Instructions
Rice
  1. Wash the rice really well until the water runs clear. Put it into a large saucepan and top it with enough cold water to reach 2 centimetres above the rice. Bring it to the boil over high heat, uncovered, until the water boils down to the surface of the rice. Holes will appear on the rice with steam bubbling out.
  2. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pot with a lid and continue cooking for 12 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, move the saucepan off the heated element and let it sit for 5 minutes, still covered.
  4. Put the cooked rice into a large bowl or mortar and half mash it with a pestle while it's still hot. Don't over-do it as it will become pasty, but don't under-do it as they'll fall apart during cooking.
  5. Divide the rice into 6 even portions.
  6. Dissolve the salt in the 1 cup of warm water, then dip your hands into the water, take one portion of the rice and shape it into an 18 centimetre sausage shape. Take your stick and gently pierce it into the rice, stopping a couple of centimetres before it comes out the other side.
  7. Repeat with the remaining rice and sticks, remembering to keep your hands nice and wet with the salted water.
  8. Cook the kiritanpo over or around hot coals, turning occasionally to get some colour all over the rice. Generously brush the glaze over the rice after it gets charred colour on it. Continue cooking and turning until the glaze gets toasted and looks nice and golden brown.
  9. Serve while still hot.
Glaze
  1. Combine the miso, honey, sugar and soy sauce until smooth. Set aside.
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