Yakimeshi is Japanese for “fried rice.” It doesn’t differ from it’s Chinese counterpart too much. However, today’s recipe won’t require a wok or a strong gas burner; we’re making it entirely on an electric stove top and a non-stick pan.
Despite the simple preparation, this yakimeshi recipe is definitely delicious and absolutely easy to make at home! So if you love fried rice, then check out the video and try the recipe!
Watch how to make my Yakimeshi Recipe
What is this yakimeshi recipe, anyway?
Yakimeshi is the Japanese word for “fried rice”. Although this dish doesn’t have anything that totally separates it from the Chinese variation, there are a few things that separate it from the fried rice we get in America.
The biggest thing is the lack of heavy soy sauce. As I’m sure all of you know, fried rice at your typical Chinese restaurant in America has a brownish hue to it. This is due to the soy sauce added to the dish. Not only does it give a wonderful savory saltiness to the dish, it gives it that brown color.
Japanese yakimeshi fried rice is more similar to what you’d find in China: lightly seasoned and light on the soy sauce. Some of you may find this a little plain compared to what you may be used to a your local takeout joint, but in my opinion, the lighter soy sauce is actually a great benefit because you get to enjoy the actual flavor of the rice (yes, rice does have its own flavor!) and the egg!
The secret to my yakimeshi recipe: The Shrimp!
My yakimeshi recipe is different from others because of what I do to the shrimp. I REALLY enjoy the snappy texture that you get with shrimp in certain kinds of chinese dishes like shrimp dumplings, wontons, and shumai.
If you’ve never had shrimp in these dishes, the texture is similar to the snap you get with you bite into a sausage. I find that having that extra bit of snappy texture really elevates this dish, separating it from other shrimp fried rice recipes!
This snappy texture is achieved by brining the shrimp in baking soda and salt. The baking soda raises the pH of the water, which alters the texture of the shrimp. The salt allows the shrimp to absorb more water, keeping it juicy and moist throughout the entire cooking process.
The second secret to my yakimeshi recipe: the egg
When it comes to making traditional fried rice, eggs are scrambled in a hot wok, then day-old rice is added to the mixture. The reason day-old rice is used is so the rice doesn’t overcook, resulting in mushy fried rice.
But what if you WANTED to use fresh rice? Sometimes I don’t want to make rice, just to throw it in the fridge and wait until I can make my yakimeshi recipe! In that case, you can use this technique: coat cooked rice in egg!
Usually people will do this step before cooking: They’ll mix their rice completely with the uncooked egg in a bowl, then add it into the pan. However, if you use a cold pan and mix your rice and egg together, you get the same result!
So what is the point of using this method? As you combine the egg and rice completely, each grain of rice gets coated in egg. As the dish cooks, the egg will form a barrier around each grain of rice, preventing it from overcooking and achieving a texture that the Japanese call “para para”, or “easily separating”. This texture is the hallmark of a good fried rice in Japan.
You can see the brilliant yellow hue that the rice takes on as the egg fries around each grain of rice. This adds that wonderful eggy flavor to each bite of rice you take!
Ingredients for my yakimeshi recipe
Here are some tips for making my delicious yakimeshi recipe!
1. Brine the shrimp!
As I said earlier, brining the shrimp in a combination of baking soda and salt will result in plump, juicy shrimp that have an excellent snappy texture! You can skip this step if you don’t have time, but I recommend doing this the night before!
2. Let the finished rice steam for a bit!
Before serving this delicious fried rice, I add it into a bowl, then flip it out onto a plate. This will give the rice that beautiful mound shape that you see in my pictures. BUT, let it sit like that for a bit! The extra bit of steaming will allow the rice to remain soft to the bite!
When you’re ready to serve it, just grab the bowl and lift up slowly! Not only does it elevate the presentation of the dish, you’ll feel like a bada** chef doing it in front of your guests!
Garnish it with a bit of pickled ginger on the side and you’ve got an amazing yakimeshi fried rice!
Japanese Shrimp Fried Rice (Yakimeshi)
- 6 large shrimps
- 1.5 cups cooked, warm rice
- 3 eggs
- 1 stalk Green onion
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon
Cooking Sake (See it on Amazon)
- 1 tbsp
Pickled Ginger (See it on Amazon)
- Peel & devain shrimps, and add them to a small bowl. Add baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ cup of water. Let it sit for 15 minutes – 1 day. This process will give the shrimp a snappy texture, as well as brining them, ensuring that they stay juicy. Feel free to skip this step.
- Remove shrimp from solution and rinse them thoroughly.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt
- In a pan, add a generous amount of oil (2 – 3 tablespoons)
- Add the eggs to the pan. When the eggs start to bubble and you can see the that the underside has started to set, add cooked rice.
- Working quickly, work the egg on top of the rice, then break up the rice and eggs. Cook and stir until the rice starts to separate into smaller chunks, about 3 minutes.
- Push the rice to the far half of the pan and add in shrimp. Allow them to cook for about 30 seconds per side. Add sake to the shrimp and allow it to cook for another 20 seconds, then incorporate the shrimp into the rice. Cook together for about 1 minute.
- Add sliced green onions and stir. Season the rice with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Finally, make a small amount of space in the pan and pour soy sauce in the space. Allow the soy sauce to cook until it becomes very fragrant, then incorporate it into the rice. Once incorporated, turn off the heat.
- Taste the rice and season if necessary.
- Add the shrimp to a rice bowl first, then add rice on top.
- Flip bowl onto a plate and allow it to steam for 1 minute, then remove the bowl.
- Garnish with pickled ginger on the side.
- If you want to substitute meat for shrimp, skip the baking soda-salt brine, instead, marinating with soy sauce and sesame oil. Then cook the meats beforehand until fully cooked, then add them in place of the shrimp in step 7.
- Likewise, if you want to use pre-cooked shrimp, jump to step 3.
- Cooked rice is safe to use in this recipe, as long as it isn't overly moist. If the rice easily mushes when scooping into a bowl, then it's too moist. If using day-old rice with this recipe, cook the rice in the pan until it begins to soften up, but still has a bit of hardness to it. Remove it from the pan, then continue on from step 4.