This Japanese fried rice recipe for yakimeshi with bacon and egg makes my take on the classic Japanese fried rice. I’ve added shredded cabbage, sesame seeds and roasted seaweed to give the fried rice greater texture, along with quintessential Japanese ingredients, such as Japanese soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, and shichimi togarashi Japanese seven spice to intensify the flavour.
We had some leftover steamed Japanese rice in the fridge, which we had with Japanese fried chicken and the Japanese style cucumber and cabbage salad, for which we shared recipes in recent days. The best thing to do with leftover rice is make fried rice, so that’s what I did. I made Japanese fried rice.
But you know me: not content with making one of the many fried rice recipes in our archives, I couldn’t help but experiment. As regular readers know, in between working on our Cambodian cookbook and culinary history, I’ve been developing a rice cookbook during the pandemic.
The rice cookbook project emerged from a ‘rice war’ that broke the internet and resulted in these stories: Make Rice Not War, A Celebration of Rice Diversity to Inspire Curiosity and Connection and How to Cook Rice Around the World: 66 Rice Dishes by 65 Rice Lovers.
So whenever I get a chance, i.e. whenever we have leftover rice and other leftovers in the fridge, I’m concocting new rice dishes, particularly fried rice dishes, and this Japanese fried rice recipe for yakimeshi with bacon, egg and cabbage is another result of my rice experiments and I’m so happy with the result!
But before I tell you all about my Japanese fried rice recipe, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve used and liked our recipes, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our original, epic, first-of-its-kind Cambodian culinary history and cookbook on Patreon for as little as the price of a mango smoothie or two a month. Or, you could buy us a coffee and we’ll use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing instead.
You can also support our work by using links on the site to book accommodation, rent a car or hire a motorhome or campervan, purchase travel insurance, or book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide; shopping our Grantourismo online store (we have fun gifts for foodies designed with Terence’s images); or buying something on Amazon, such as these award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks by Australian chefs, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, cookbooks for culinary travellers, travel books to inspire wanderlust, and gifts for Asian food lovers. Now let me tell you about my Japanese fried rice recipe.
Japanese Fried Rice Recipe for Yakimeshi with Bacon, Egg and Cabbage
It wasn’t so long ago that I was saying that I should probably have declared it ‘Fried Rice Week’ on Grantourismo, as I’d posted a Thai pineapple fried rice, a classic Korean kimchi fried rice recipe for kimchi bokkeumbap, and an Indonesian fried rice for nasi goreng within the space of a week.
Well, perhaps I should have dedicated it ‘Fried Rice Month’ on Grantourismo, because now I have this Japanese fried rice recipe with bacon, egg and cabbage for you, but I also have a couple of other fried rice recipes I’ll be sharing over the coming week.
My Japanese fried rice recipe for yakimeshi – one of two styles of Japanese fried rice – is my take on the classic Japanese fried rice, the basic version of which is made with Japanese rice, scrambled egg and bacon or ham.
I began to make a classic yakimeshi and was planning on adding a few additional Japanese sauces and condiments, when I realised that we had a little leftover cabbage and cucumber salad in the fridge, so – you guessed it – I tossed it into the yakimeshi.
I swear that my best recipes, especially my best fried rice recipes, have come about from combining leftover steamed rice with whatever leftover dish that the rice had accompanied – or just whatever random leftovers we had in the fridge. I hope that serves as some inspiration during these economically challenging times. Now just a few tips to making my Japanese fried rice recipe – with a twist.
Tips to Making this Japanese Fried Rice Recipe for Yakimeshi with Bacon, Egg and Cabbage
As usual, I only have a few tips to making my take on a classic Japanese fried rice recipe, as it’s super easy. Let’s start with the rice: as fried rice was invented to use up leftover rice, day-old steamed Japanese rice that’s been refrigerated is best for this dish. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make this Japanese fried rice recipe if you don’t have leftover rice in the fridge.
Just-cooked rice will go mushy if you attempt to stir-fry it while it’s still warm, but if you loosely spread the rice out over a large cold tray, such as a stainless steel or aluminium baking tray, and set it aside to cool, it will be perfectly fine. I’ve made fried rice this way countless times and it never clumps together.
I strongly recommend steaming your Japanese rice in a rice cooker rather than boiling it on the stove. Before you pour the rice into the rice cooker, transfer it to a fine mesh strainer or colander and hold it under a running tap until the water runs clear. Two cups of rice should make plenty for two people.
We fry our rice in our round flat bottomed wok, which is non-stick and light-weight. If you don’t have a wok, you really should get one. We’re going to publish a wok comparison post on the site very soon. Otherwise, use your favourite frying pan or skillet.
Do prep your ingredients and have your seasonings and sauces handy before you turn on the heat, as you’ll need to work quickly once the oil is hot, and stir-fry continuously, taking care not to let the rice stick.
Make sure to taste the rice before serving it and adjust the seasoning to your palate. I’ve included a teaspoon of rice as optional, in case you’re watching your sodium intake. But you could always add a little more soy sauce if the flavour is not intense enough for you. Enjoy!
Japanese Fried Rice Recipe for Yakimeshi with Bacon, Egg and Cabbage
- 2 cups Japanese rice - steamed
- 150 g white cabbage - shredded
- 6 pieces scallions or spring onions - finely sliced – separate the green and white parts
- 1 nori sheet - thinly cut with scissors
- 2 tsp Japanese sesame oil
- 2 tsp Japanese soy sauce
- 1 tsp Japanese rice vinegar
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tbsp black and white sesame seeds - half-half
- 1 tsp Shichimi Togarashi Japanese Seven Spice
- 2 tbsp soy bean oil
- 2 rashers bacon - finely diced
- 2 eggs - whisked
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt - to taste, optional
- If you don’t have any day-old steamed Japanese rice in your fridge, steam 2 cups of rice in a rice cooker; when done, fluff up and transfer to a tray, spreading the rice out loosely to separate it. Move on to step 2 but don’t move on to step 3 until the rice has cooled completely.
- In a mixing bowl, stir to combine the shredded cabbage, finely sliced white parts of the scallions/spring onions, finely sliced nori sheet, Japanese sesame oil, Japanese soy sauce, Japanese rice vinegar, mirin, black and white sesame seeds, and Shichimi Togarashi Japanese Seven Spice, and set aside to rest so the flavours meld together and the cabbage softens a little.
- In a wok over medium-high heat, heat the oil and fry the bacon to your liking (I like it until it’s almost crispy but not quite), then scoop the bacon out and into a dish and set it aside.
- Pour the contents of the mixing bowl with seasoned shredded cabbage into the bacon oil and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the cabbage softens even more, then add the room temperature steamed rice and continue to stir-fry until thoroughly combined and every bit of rice is coated in sauce.
- Push the fried rice to one side of the wok, pour the whisked eggs into the other side, gently scramble the eggs, then when just-cooked combine the egg and rice, return the bacon, add the white pepper and half the green bits of the scallions/spring onions and thoroughly combine.
- Taste the fried rice and adjust the seasoning to your palate, adding the optional salt if needed, then serve immediately, and garnish with the remaining scallions/spring onions.
Please do let us know if you make our Japanese fried rice recipe in the comments below, as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.