Japanese fried yakimeshi rice: reduce waste & use leftover rice!

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  October 19, 2021

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Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

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Many of us have eaten fried rice. But what about yakimesi fried rice? If you haven’t traveled to Japan, you may not even know what this is.

Yakimeshi fried rice is the Japanese version of fried rice. It translates as pan-fried rice.

It is made with short-grain rice, seasoned meat, and egg. While many professional chefs prepare the dish in a teppan, it can also be made in a frying pan at home.

Japanese fried yakimeshi rice recipe feature

If you are thinking of cooking up some yakimeshi fried rice for your guests, this article will give you some great recipe ideas. I’ll also dive into pairing suggestions to make a complete meal with yakimeshi.

For a bit of background, I’ll explain the origins of yakimeshi fried rice, and how it differs from other Asian fried rice recipes.

Let’s start with a basic, but delicious, Yakimeshi fried rice recipe!

Japanese fried yakimeshi rice recipe image

Yakimeshi fried rice recipe

Joost Nusselder
Here's a simple recipe for making yakimeshi fried rice!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 325 g cooked short grain rice stale will work best
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 70 g ham
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 scallions chopped

Instructions
 

  • Crumble rice with your hands.
    Crumble rice with your hands
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegetable oil and tilt the pan to ensure it’s coated.
    Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegetable oil and tilt pan to ensure it’s coated
  • Add egg. Allow to bloom, then scramble.
    Add egg. Allow to bloom, then scramble.
  • Add crumbled rice to the egg before it becomes cooked. Use a spatula to break up any clumps.
  • Add ham, tossing to distribute evenly.
    Add ham tossing to distribute evenly
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss rice to make sure seasonings are distributed and to keep it from sticking.
    Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Toss rice to make sure seasonings are distributed and to keep it from sticking
  • Drizzle soy sauce on the edge of the pan and toss the rice to ensure it’s coated.
    Drizzle soy sauce on the edge of the pan and toss the rice to ensure it’s coated
  • Add sesame and scallions. Toss to combine.
  • Press rice into a bowl to mold it. Release from bowl and serve.
    Press rice into a bowl to mold it. Release from bowl and serve

Video

Notes

  • To give this recipe a protein boost, add an extra egg.
  • Putting the rice in the egg beforehand will coat the rice, making it less sticky and easier to work with.
  • The soy sauce is put on the edge of the pan, as this caramelizes the sauce instantly.
  • Two spatulas can be used to mix the ingredients, but tossing them in the pan is a more efficient way to cook.
  • Scallions and sesame oil are great for adding color and flavor.
  • Variations include adding curry powder to make curry fried rice. You can also add chicken instead of ham and season it with ketchup.
Keyword Fried rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Yakimeshi recipe

Yakimeshi recipe card

(this recipe is part of our free Japanese with ease recipe book here)

Japanese fried yakimeshi rice recipe pin

Yakimeshi fried leftover rice

Japanese garlic yakimeshi recipe

Joost Nusselder
Here’s another version of the recipe. This one has a garlicky, buttery twist.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 2 rice cooker cups uncooked short grain rice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 stalks parsley
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cook rice using your preferred method. Set aside for about an hour to remove the moisture.
  • Cut half of your garlic cloves into thin white round slices. Mince the remaining half.
  • Remove parsley leaves from stems and mince.
  • Add olive oil to the pan and heat on medium high. Fry garlic slices until golden brown. Don't add garlic slices when the oil's hot or they'll burn. Rather, let the garlic and oil heat together.
  • Add minced garlic and heat until golden brown.
  • Add butter, swirling it around so it coats the pan. Then, add warm steamed rice.
  • Break up the rice to separate it. Once it's coated in garlic, add soy sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure it's seasoned to your liking.
  • Add the chopped parsley and mix.
  • Serve by putting the rice in a rice bowl, pressing to make sure it's packed. Invert the bowl and serve in a domed shape.

Notes

  • Unlike the other recipe, this one doesn't recommend using stale rice. In fact, it recommends adding warm rice to the recipe. That’s because if the rice is added cold, it'd take too long to heat up and the garlic might burn.
  • Like most Japanese garlic recipes, this recipe doesn't require an excessive amount of garlic. If you want to add more for a stronger taste, that’s perfectly acceptable.
  • You can substitute the rice for a lower-calorie alternative if desired.
  • You can substitute parsley with scallions.
  • You can add an egg to the dish, but if you're serving it as a side dish, it’s best to keep it simple.
Keyword Fried rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Also read: Rice to water ratio in a rice cooker | White, Jasmine, Basmati

What can you pair with yakimeshi fried rice?

Yakimeshi fried rice goes well with protein dishes including red meat, white meat, and seafood.

Here are some suggestions that may inspire you to make a complete meal:

Yakimeshi fried rice origins

It is believed that yakimeshi originated in the 1860s and was first prepared by Chinese immigrants living in the port of Kobe.

It went on to become a staple dish in many Japanese households.

How does Yakimeshi different from other Asian fried rice recipes?

Yakimeshi also goes by the name Chahan. Though many people think these are two different dishes, they are actually the same. Chahan is simply a variation on the Chinese name for fried rice, chaofan.

As compared to other rice dishes, the biggest difference that you will find with Yakimeshi rice is that it’s made with short-grain rice as opposed to long grain.

Long grain is commonly used in fried rice dishes because it has a high amylose-to-amylopectin-ratio. This formula keeps the rice from sticking together when it’s stir-fried.

Even though the short-grained rice means Yakimeshi is harder to make, it has a chewy texture that makes it delicious.

However, because the rice is hard to work with, it’s best to use leftovers or at least rice that’s been cooked in advance and stored in the fridge for a few days.

Leaving it in the refrigerator makes the rice become dry, brittle, and easier to manage. Once the rice is heated, the soft, sticky texture returns.

Now you have everything you need to make a delicious Yakimeshi fried rice dish. How will you be preparing it in your kitchen?

Read next: how about a great Teppanyaki Fried Rice Recipe in 11 simple steps?

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.