A recipe for Chahan (チャーハン, Japanese Fried Rice)! Leftover steamed rice is quickly stir-fried with carrot, green onion, chashu, and egg for an easy and flavorful meal.
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Chahan (Chāhan,チャーハン) is the Japanese version of fried rice introduced in the 1860s by Chinese immigrants. Also known as Yakimeshi (焼飯) depending on the region, this dish is the perfect way to add some flavor to leftover rice and best of all, everything comes together in less than 20 minutes!
Day old, cooked Japanese short-grain rice is quickly cooked in a large wok or pan with garlic, carrots, chashu (braised pork belly), green onions, and seasonings until heated through. Serve the Chahan immediately with a few pieces of sliced green onion for garnish or alongside a little Beni Shōga (red pickled ginger).
I used Chashu (Japanese braised pork belly), but cubed ham, chicken, or even shrimp would be delicious. Claire especially likes the rice with pieces of leftover Karaage (fried chicken).
A Few Tips
This recipe is perfect for using leftover, cold rice. Refrigerating will help dry out the rice, making it easier to crumble and separate. Warm, freshly prepared rice will have too much moisture and is more likely to stick together, especially since it is short-grain. For best results, bring the cold rice to room temperature 15-30 minutes before adding to the pan.
I like to use my hands to crumble the rice into the measuring cup to help remove any large clumps before adding to the pan.
Keep the temperature on a higher heat and work quickly, constantly stirring, to combine everything and prevent sticking. Have all the ingredients ready before starting.
The amount of ingredients in this recipe is enough for 3 large or 4 smaller servings. If doubling, cook the rice in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. You need enough room to easily toss and heat the ingredients quickly.
To serve, I pressed the Chahan into a bowl (pack it in well), covered with a larger plate, and flipped create a dome shape.
Japanese short grain rice (Uruchimai 粳米) is a short to medium-sized rice that is stickier after cooking than other types of rice. I have been able to find it in local Japanese markets and increasingly in larger grocery stores.
Chashu is Japanese braised pork belly and often used as a delicious addition to ramen. I bought the pork ready-made at our local Japanese market- Mitsuwa, but there are also a few recipes to make it at home such as this Chashu from Chopstick Chronicles.
Pickled ginger (beni shōga, 紅生姜) is made by pickling thin strips of ginger in a plum vinegar (赤梅酢). I have been able to locate it in small jars in the Asian section of larger grocery stores and the refrigerated section of my local Japanese market. Many brands use artificial coloring to get that distinctive red color.
Looking for more Japanese Recipes?
- Niratama Donburi (Japanese Eggs with Garlic Chives over Rice)
- Katsu Sando (Japanese Pork Cutlet Sandwich)
- Kofuki Imo (Japanese Powdered Potatoes)
Chahan (Japanese Fried Rice) Recipe
Adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking (Amazon Link)
Chahan (Japanese Fried Rice)
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) canola or vegetable oil
- 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
- 1 carrot peeled and finely chopped
- 4 ounces (113 grams) chashu diced, or ham
- 3 cups (380 grams) cooked and cooled Japanese short grain rice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 3 green onions thinly sliced, set aside a few green pieces for garnish
- 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) sesame oil
- Beni shōga (red pickled ginger) optional, for garnish
- Place a large wok over high to medium-high heat and drizzle with the vegetable oil.
- Once hot, add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 20-30 seconds. Add the carrots and chashu and cook, stirring constantly until heated through.
- Crumble in the rice and toss with the ingredients, breaking apart any clumps, until each grain is coated in the oil.
- Push the rice to one side of the pan and pour in the beaten eggs into the empty area. Once starting to set, break apart lightly to scramble and toss with the rice.
- Pour the soy sauce and sake around the edges of the rice and toss to coat. Season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Toss in the green onions and season with sesame oil. Adjust flavors to taste and serve immediately, garnished with additional green onions or beni shoga (pickled ginger) if desired.