3.100 Chicken Hayashi Rice

-Cycle 3, Item 100-
14 (Sat) April 2012

Chicken Hayashi Rice

* * * *

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

With Dominic and the Ka twins

At long last, dear readers, the mystery of the brown sauce has been solved. In a very early post, I speculated about the origins of a dish known in Korea as "hai" or "hash" rice (see 1.078 Hai/Hash Rice with Kimchi-Tofu Soup). It turns out that my guesses were pretty close to being right. The sauce is indeed from Japan, where it's referred to as "hayashi." According to various sources, "hayashi" may either be derived from the name of the person who invented it or from the Japanese (mis)pronunciation of the English word "hash(ed)." It's basically a demi-glace, with beef and onions and carrots and mushrooms, served over steamed rice. Several on-line recipes suggest that it's simple to make from scratch (some combination of red wine, stock/dashi, tomato paste, worcestershire, soy sauce, butter, flour, sugar), but it's also sold packaged in roux blocks that just require the addition of water, plus the meat and veggies. In fact, the epiphany came while I was perusing the Japanese import section of the supermarket and saw a box of the stuff, which was labeled "hayashi" in English; the Korean-made products, which are stocked in an entirely different part of the store, are merely labeled "hash" (the "hai" is probably an abbreviation of "hayashi")--hence the earlier confusion.

My first time working with hayashi, I did it exactly as I would a Japanese-style curry. I minced the onion, carrot, celery, and red paprika (bell pepper), so that they'd eventually disintegrate into the sauce after a couple hours; for some reason, the paprika never fully breaks down and leaves flecks of red, which is nice, esthetically. Separately, I pan-grilled some chicken thighs, sliced them into strips, then added them to the sauce, along with all the fat in the pan, giving the sauce a smoky flavor. I also used chicken stock for further depth. Towards the end, I tossed in some shredded cabbage for contrasting texture. Ultimately, it was very similar to a curry in spirit but sweeter, softer, savory rather than spicy.

The main photo shows the plating on Dominic's tray,
but I ate the exact same thing, though my kimchi wasn't rinsed.


  1. Rinsed Kimchi = gateway drug ... my wife did it too

  2. never looked at it that way, but yes kimchi is definitely a drug for koreans, causing them to rely on it (or some substitute, eg pickles) for every meal, to the point of being unable to cope when it isn;t there, hence their discomfort at meals whenever abroad.

    i actually try to reduce D's exposure to kimchi and other pickled sides for that very reason, but sometimes the main dish calls for it.

    and yes, rinsing is the way parents gateway their young kids into it.