Chefs' Recipes

Jemma Whiteman’s grilled sticky rice with katsuobushi butter

“This dish reminds me of nights out in Tokyo, when we went to my favourite yakitori restaurant for their yaki onigiri (rice grilled over charcoal),” recalls chef-owner Jemma Whiteman.

Photo: Alicia Taylor

Alicia Taylor
1H 15M
2H 15M

These glutinous rice balls are grilled in the style of yakitori. Though directly translated yakitori means “chicken grilled over charcoal”, the word has been widely adopted in the West to represent the Japanese practise of grilling over charcoal. In Japan, yakitori is best enjoyed with a small glass of cold beer.


Katsuobushi butter


1.Cover sticky rice with cold water and soak for 4 hours in fridge. Strain rice then lay in a 20cm-diameter steamer lined with muslin. Place steamer over a saucepan of simmering water and cover with lid; steam until rice is tender, sticky and soft (1 hour). Scrape rice into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, set aside and cool to room temperature. Using wet hands, shape sticky rice into 18 small balls, flatten with your palms to create discs, then thread three discs onto each skewer.
2.For tare, mix ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened (5 minutes); cool.
3.For katsuobushi butter, place one-quarter of katsuobushi flakes and shallots in a small food processor and process until finely crushed. Place butter in an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on high speed until light and fluffy (2 minutes). Reduce speed to low, add crushed katsuobushi mixture, soy and zest, season to taste and mix until combined. Stand at room temperature until ready to use.
4.Preheat a lightly greased barbecue flat plate or non-stick frying pan to high. Cook skewers, in batches if necessary, turning halfway, until rice turns golden brown (2 minutes each side). Reduce heat to low-medium, and once golden, baste skewers with tare and continue to cook, basting and turning frequently (taking care as skewers caramelise quickly) until rice is sticky and caramelised (1 minute). Remove from heat and place on a plate, liberally smear with katsuobushi butter, and season with freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with remaining tare, kanzuri, remaining katsuobushi flakes and lemon wedges. Scatter with spring onions and baby purple shiso.

Glutinous rice, katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and kanzuri (Japanese fermented chilli paste) are available from Asian and Japanese grocers.


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