Cha Han – Japanese Pork Fried Rice

Fried rice is usually attributed to Chinese cuisine, but in reality, it is found in many Asian cuisines. Cha Han is the Japanese version.
By Kelsey Hilts

Pork Fried Rice {Cha Han}

This was one of my dad’s specialties when I was growing up.  It was always a treat {and still is} when he makes it.  His version of Cha Han is at the top of my comfort food list.  But unlike most typical comfort foods, it is actually pretty healthy.  This is now a year-round staple in my family’s meal rotation.  It is light enough for summer yet warming and soothing for winter.

I’ve attempted to add rough quantities to the recipe but it really is best when it is made to taste.  Each batch ends up being a little bit different and you can start to determine how you like it.  You can make rice specifically for the dish but it’s also a great way to transform leftover plain rice into a new meal.  My family likes to eat Cha Han with grilled scallops or teriyaki chicken, among other things.

Pork Fried Rice {Cha Han}

Pork Fried Rice {Cha Han}
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
This light, comforting rice dish can be a meal on its own or a yummy side dish to teriyaki chicken and other meat entrees.
Author:
Recipe Type: Main Course
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (421g) uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 small package BBQ pork, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • Roughly ¼ cup (12g) chopped green onion
  • ½ -1 tsp (2-5g) black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30mL) soy sauce, to taste
  • Roughly 2 tsp (10g) chopped ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp (4-8g) butter
Instructions
  1. Cook 2 cups of rice according to the instructions on the package {or use leftover plain white rice}.
  2. Scramble the eggs over medium heat in a pan that is lightly-coated with butter.
  3. In a large pan that is lightly-coated with butter, sauté the ginger and garlic over medium heat.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and stir the cooked rice, BBQ pork chunks, scrambled eggs and chopped green onion into the sautéed ginger & garlic.
  5. Sprinkle the rice generously with black pepper.
  6. Add a splash of soy sauce until the rice is lightly colored. {Start with a small amount of soy sauce and continue adding it gradually, to taste, so as not to add too much. You don't want the rice to be soupy.} The saltiness of the soy sauce should help bring out the other flavors, not overpower them.
 

2 Comments
  1. Japanese people do not eat long grain rice, nor do they eat char Sui, they use short or medium grain rice, and cha-shu which is salty versus the sweet char-Sui. This recipe is not a cha-Han recipe, but a Chinese fried rice recipe

  2. You are correct that Japanese food contains short grain rice. (I have made my cha han with both short and long grain depending on what I have in the kitchen, and this time I just happened to have long grain.) This recipe is my family’s take on cha han, and it is a recipe from one of my parents’ favorite noodle shops near Tokyo which they received from the owner over 30 years ago when they lived in Japan. He used bbq pork (or char siu) in his Japanese noodle shop. Given that fried rice has origins in China and Chinese food has influenced many different cuisines, including Japanese, it is no surprise that there are plenty of different versions and interpretations of dishes. This is actually an example of one of my favorite things about food: fusion of cuisines and seeing how different cuisines and cultures influence others. In short, whether you call this cha-han or not, I hope that you enjoy my family’s recipe as much as we do!

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