Kiritanpo is the local traditional food in Akita prefecture, Japan, made from roughly mashed cooked rice on a skewer.
Traditionally, Kiritanpo is roasted over an open charcoal fire called “Irori”, then, sliced and add them into a Japanese hot pot dish.
Akita prefecture is famous for this unique traditional food and still, many visitors look forward to trying Kiritanpo.
KIRITANPO became a unique shape in history based on an ancient idea to save and preserve cooked rice leftovers.
To broil the rice in IRORI-a traditional sunken hearth, it is skewered after being half-mashed and often glazed with miso paste.
Adding the KIRITANPO to a Japanese NABE hot pot dish is said to eat dried and hard KIRITAPO nice and delicious.
How To Make KIRITANPO
Kiritanpo recipes differ from region to region, from family to family.
Traditionally, mash steamed rice in a Japanese mortar and a pestle until the rice will be half-mashed and get sticky enough to fold together.
As the tip for KIRITANPO, stop mashing the rice when it is mushed half though.
Leave some grains in the rice.
Make rice balls and wrap them around wooden skewers while turning the skewer so that the rice covers nicely around the tip.
Broil Kiritanpo on an open grill until it turns into a nice charcoal color.
To serve Kiritanpo, remove the rice ball from the skewer, and slice and throw it into a Japanese hot pot dish called “Nabe”.
My recipe is a super-easy version of home cooking.
Kiritanpo will absorb a rich savory soup and the rice will not be mushy since they’re broiled.
Can you make it without skewering?
Traditionally, KIRITANPO is made with sugi cedar skewers, and in the NABE dish, the KIRITANPO will be delicious while absorbing the savory soup from the hole.
The rice balls that are partially mashed and rolled a ball before becoming KIRITANPO are called “Damago” doesn’t need skewers, and basically, it’s not grilled.
Like Kiritanpo, Damago is a popular local dish in Akita’s winter.
In Akita Prefecture, there is a custom of cooking freshly harvested rice and making Damago or Kiritanpo, and enjoy them by simply grilling after glazing miso paste or throwing them into the local chicken-based soup NABE.
Miso-glazed rice balls are already a popular Izakaya snack in Japan, so why not grill Kiritanpo (or Damago) with miso-glaze?
Simply, glaze sweet miso paste on Kiritanpo and grill them in an oven or a toaster oven.
To make sweet miso paste, simply combine these ingredients,
- 3 tbsp of red or yellow miso paste
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp of water
microwave or heat them on the stovetop.
Grill Kiritanpo in a toaster oven or an oven first until they get crispy outside, and glaze the top with the sweet miso paste. Broil the miso-glaze over low heat until fragrant.
KIRITANPO WITH ZUNDA SWEET PASTE
I know you’re curious about the green stuff on Kiritano in the picture.
It is the grilled Kiritanpo with “ZUNDA-AN” which is made of edamame beans.
Zunda sweet paste is a traditional bean paste used for Japanese sweets in the Tohoku region, especially, in Miyagi prefecture.
Kiritanpo is served as a sweet snack in the TOHOKU region not only in the Nabe dish and grilled with miso-glaze.
KIRITANPO NABE RECIPE: Broiled Half-Mashed Rice For Japanese Hot Pot
- Wooden skewers or chopsticks
- 2 cups cooked short-grain "sticky" rice *Japanese rice, sushi rice
- 1 TSP salt
- 1 cup water
- (Prepare the rice) Use warm rice. If you use leftover cooked rice, cover the rice and microwave for 1 minute.
- (On The Stovetop) How to cook rice without a rice cooker on a stovetop
- (With Instant Pot/ pressure cooker) How to cook fluffy rice with instant pot
- Make salt water while mixing salt and water.
- Use the back of a ladle or spoon, half-mash the rice while dipping the spoon or the ladle in the salted water, until the rice gets half-mashed and sticky.
- Wet your hands with the salted water and make rice balls.
- Stick skewers or waribashi chopsticks, and wrap the rice ball around while pushing the rice up gently so that the rice covers nicely around the tip.*Use a few wooden skewers or unbreak chopsticks to make a hole inside the Kiritanpo.
- Make a shape on a wet cutting board while rolling the skewered rice if needed.
- Grill the Kiritanpo, or cook with a skillet. Line parchment paper or spray oil on the skillet.
- Sear the kiritanpo until browned.
- Let them cool and remove the wooden skewers or chopsticks.
- Chop the Kiritanpo into your favorite size, then, throw the piece into a Japanese hot pot or soup. How To Make Chicken Ball Nabe
How To Store Kiritanpo
Remove the wooden skewers and wrap tightly each Kiritanpo with plastic wrap.
Put wrapped Kiritanpo in a storage bag, and store them in a fridge for up to 2 days.
Kiritanpo will be harder and harder so you may want to freeze them if you don’t have a plan to consume them.