Experiences - Asia

Must-eat in Japan – Hayashi Rice

Hayashi Rice is an early 1990s popular western style Japanese beef stew which is poured over Steamed Rice. Hayashi Rice is normally served under Yoshoku (Japanese-adapted Western food) alongside Tonkatsu and Hamburger Steak. This is a popular home-cooked dish, whose sauce is usually made from instant roux.  The sauce has distinct flavours of demi-glace brown sauce and red wine.

Hayashi Rice

Image Courtesy: Ad Blankestijn used under the Creative Commons Licence

The origin of the name “Hayashi” is unknown. But the legend has it that a chef named Hayashi (a common Japanese surname) at some restaurant made it as an employee meal, but others say it came from a European dish called “hashed beef”. It is known to be an amalgamation between beef stew and beef bourguignon.

The base of the stew is made from a dark luscious demi-glace sauce, a kind of French brown sauce. The demi-glace sauce, which is rich and full of flavour, is made from caramelised onions, red wine, tomatoes, beef broth with brown instant roux box (flour browned with fat), and seasonings. The roux thickens it, giving the sauce a gravy like consistency that envelopes the tender beef, onions and mushrooms.

Japanese hayashi rice

Image Courtesy: Catherine Ling used under the Creative Commons Licence

Demi-glace is reduced, concentrated beef stock that is thick and paste-like. It is normally available in cans all across Japan. Though it is slightly expensive, it is absolutely worth it and delicious. A substitute to demi-glace is reduced home-made strong beef stock from beef bones and meat trimmings.

Leftover sauce is fantastic when served over Omurice, an omelet with buttered fried rice in the middle. Hayashi Rice is a very simple dish but with a number of steps and a long list of ingredients. However, a little effort is all it takes to serve your family a delicious, tasty Hayashi Rice meal for supper.

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