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.
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.
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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