Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the 'bun' together

For various reasons, I’ve been staying away from eating bread recently. This has led me back to an old favorite that I hadn’t made in a while, rice burgers. Rice burgers are made with rice that is formed into two flat patties, then made into sandwiches. Here are my original instructions for making a rice burger. Rice burgers are great for people who like onigiri (rice balls) but want a high filling vs. rice ratio.

One problem I had was that with some fillings, the rice would fall apart while I was eating the burger. I tried putting nori seaweed on the outside of the ‘bun’, as you would on the outside of an onigiri, to keep the rice together, but the rice would still fall apart on the inside if the filling was too loose or a bit oily or something. A kinpira burger is a really tasty vegan treat, that is great either with a complete bento or as an in-between meals snack. The ever popular Easy Carrot Kinpira, the classic burdock root and carrot kinpira, or the Forgotten Vegetable Kinpira all work well. However, leftover kinpira does tend to a a bit limp, and the oil used to stir fry the vegetables can make the rice of the burger ‘buns’ fall apart easily.

I was talking about this to my sister back in Japan, and she mentioned that at MOS burger (the Japanese fast food chain that serves rice burgers) they put the nori seaweed on the inside of the rice patty, the side that goes next to the filling. Doh, why didn’t I think of that - so simple and obvious. So I gave it a try, with some leftover classic kinpira that had gotten a bit soggy.

kinpirariceburger1.jpg

The nori not only held the rice of the ‘buns’ together, it acted as a sort of moisture and oil shield too, preventing the rice from falling apart while eating. Here’s the burger with a couple of bites taken out.

kinpirariceburger2.jpg

To put on the nori seaweed: Just roughly cut or rip a piece of nori that is the size of the ‘bun’. After forming the ‘bun’ following these instructions, press the nori onto one side. Pan-fry the ‘bun’ in a lightly oiled and/or non-stick pan on both sides. For an even sturdier ‘bun’, you can try putting nori on both sides of it, though I find a ‘bun’ covered with nori on both sides tends to be a bit harder to bite through.

(Note: every time I post a recipe with nori seaweed, someone always comments ‘waah I don’t like nori, what can I use instead?’ In this case, the stick-together-rice nature of the nori is the whole key, so you can’t substitute something else.)

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Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

Wouldn't lettuce or fresh spinach work too? I know some rolled sushi uses these instead of nori and tastes fine.

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

You can use lettuce leaves etc. as a filling, but fresh salad leaves don't have the adhere-to-rice-and-keep-it-together quality of nori seaweed, so for the purposes of keeping a rice burger together, they don't work.

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

Ooooo nice tip! I just need to try and get a hold of nori!! I love it so much but not easy to get any of the Japanese ingredients around here :(

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

What about the soy wraps that some places use in place of nori? I haven't tried it yet (sitting in my cupboard) and it looks handy.

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

I haven't used those in years because I'm not fond of the taste, but I don't think they would work well in this case. You'd have to try it out to be sure.

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

anankaf:
I don't think the soy wraps will work as well as nori. I made some maki rolls with them the other night, and even though they have a unique flavor and make for a very pretty roll, the rolls fell apart fairly easily. The wraps just don't stick to the rice like nori does. If you really want to use the wraps in your cupboard, fill them with fresh shredded cabbage, carrots, and avocado and roll them up burrito style. I dip them into a sweet/spicy sauce (duck sauce mixed with chili garlic sauce) and it's a really tasty snack. You can also add cooked shrimp or any other vegetable you like.

Maki:
These little burgers look great! I love the idea of a really filling onigiri. Thanks for the recipe.

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

Do you think this would also work with brown rice? I love white rice, but I am trying to eat more brown rice lately to get more whole grains into my diet. This looks so delicious! I am also sensitive to gluten so this would be such a great alternative.

Thank you! And I hope you are feeling better, day by day. I send good wishes your way!

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

As long as it's medium grain brown rice, it works fine.

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

I've tried this and onigiri with brown rice and, in my opinion, do not do the trick like japanese short-grained sushi-style rice. The way japanese rice sticks together is something I haven't seen with any other rice. Even jasmine rice doesn't do it this well. I also try to focus towards brown rice for its solid amounts of fiber. However, there's a reason the japanese steer towards their never-failed short-grained polished rice for their cuisine.

Re: Kinpira rice burger and how to keep the rice of the ...

Since you've made it clear that you don't like edible rice paper I'll do my best to try this technique with it and report back :D (May be a while though...)

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