Cha han is a fantastic dish and an easy way to use up any leftover cooked rice. I often make this at home myself, and it’s so quick to make. It features regularly in ramen bars around Japan as a side dish, but it’s also enjoyed as a main dish on its own. You can really put whatever you want in it, the key is to wait long enough for the rice to get brown and crispy on the bottom before you add the rest of the ingredients.
How to make Cha Han
Makes: For 2 people as a main dish, or 4 as a side
Time to prepare: 25 minutes
50g wild mushrooms (optional)
2 cloves garlic
40g fresh ginger
½ bunch spring onions
a little vegetable oil
100g salmon off cuts (or other fish trimmings)
300g leftover cooked rice
30g soy sauce
2 whole eggs
2 small bowls
flat frying pan
1. Cut the mushrooms (if using) into small chunks or slices. Peel and chop the garlic and ginger into small pieces.
2. Roughly slice the spring onions, and wash them under lots of cold water using a sieve. Then divide them in half.
3. Cut the salmon into about 2cm dice.
4. Heat a frying pan on a high heat with a little vegetable oil. Once it’s smoking hot, add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and half the spring onions.
5. Stir fry for about 1 minute, then add the salmon pieces. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the fish starts to turn golden.
6. Bring the salmon and vegetables to one side of the pan.
7. Add the cooked rice to the pan, breaking up any lumps with a fork. Then pour the water over the rice, and leave until evaporated, without stirring or moving the rice. This is to steam and warm it up.
8. Once the water has evaporated, mix the fish and vegetables with the rice, then spread everything out, and press it down lightly.
9. Leave it all to cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until you see the rice start to turn a dark golden colour when you lift up the edges with a fork.
10. When it’s nicely golden and crispy, mix everything together again.
11. Add the soy sauce and mirin.
12. Last of all, crack the eggs into the pan. As soon as the eggs are in, switch off the heat, and mix everything about quickly. You want the eggs to lightly cook, but not so much that they start to scramble.
13. Once everything is nicely mixed, pour it onto the serving plates, and finish the dish with the rest of the spring onions.