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Barbecue Secrets

Recipe of the week: Grilled Rice Cakes with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Aug 12, 2010

Grilled Rice Cakes

Makes 3–5 servings

These traditional Japanese rice cakes are often found, stuffed with tuna or salmon, in Japanese take-out shops. They take on a wonderful, crunchy, chewy texture when grilled, and they go well with any Asian-flavored grilled or barbecued meat. I learned how to make them from Vancouver chef Trevor Hooper’s cookbook, Asian Tapas and Wild Sushi. You can get sushi rice at just about any supermarket these days. If you can’t find it there, look for it at an Asian market or gourmet food store.

3 cups | 750 mL sushi rice

33/4 cups | 925 mL water

neutral-flavored oil, like peanut or canola

Home made teriyaki sauce (see recipe below) or your favorite bottled teriyaki

Place the rice and water in a medium pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil the rice for 2 minutes, then cover it and reduce the heat to medium. Cook it for another 5 minutes, reduce the heat to low, and cook it for 15 more minutes. Do not remove the lid. Turn off the heat and let the covered pot stand for another 10 minutes.

            Empty the rice into a bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes, or until it’s cool enough to handle with your bare hands. Have a bowl of cold water handy so you can wet your hands before you form each rice cake.

            Wet your hands and grab about 1/2 cup | 125 mL of the rice. Press it together firmly, cupping your hands to shape the rice into a triangular shape, about the size of a modest wedge of pie. Squeeze it tightly so it will stick together well when it’s grilled. Once you have formed all the rice into about 10 neat wedges, the rice cakes can be covered and refrigerated for a day or two before grilling.

            To cook the cakes, use a basting brush to paint each one with the oil. Grill them over direct high heat until they are crisp and golden brown, with nice char marks. Drizzle each rice cake with teriyaki sauce. Allow at least 2 per person.

Complicated but Delicious Teriyaki Sauce

Makes about 8 cups | 2 L

This homemade teriyaki sauce, which I have slightly adapted from an old recipe by famed Vancouver chef Trevor Hooper, has dimensions of flavor that make the extra work more than worthwhile. It stores for several months in the fridge, and it’s great as a marinade for meat or seafood, as a sauce for stir-fries, or just drizzled on steamed rice.

11/2 cups | 375 mL sake (Japanese rice wine)

11/2 cups | 375 mL mirin

2 cups | 500 mL brown sugar

4 cups | 1 L Japanese soy sauce

1/2 cup | 125 mL tamari soy sauce

1 small onion, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 2-inch | 5 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped

1 orange, chopped, skin on

1 small pear, chopped

1 small leek, split, washed thoroughly and chopped

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil. Cook it until it’s reduced by about 20 percent. Cool it, strain it into a large jar or bottle, and refrigerate it. It stores indefinitely in the refrigerator.