I always have some cooked rice, in the freezer or kept warm in the rice cooker. This is pretty common for many Korean families without them really having second thoughts about it. It’s like air and water that I only notice the lack of its existence on the rare occasions I run out of it.
Of course freshly made rice is the best. Yet leftover rice, as there is always some, comes in handy in many ways, from a lazy meal option of simply warming it in the microwave to a ready ingredient for stir-fried rice for which cold rice works better.
Nurungji can be another delicious derivative made with leftover rice, the scorched part that happens at the bottom of the pot when rice is hard-boiled. It’s also the prized part at the bottom of dolsot (돌솥; stone bowl) bibimbap that keeps you in anticipation the moment you start digging into the melange of rice, vegetables and gochujang sauce with a dose of hot sizzle that adds to the excitement.
It’s become so widely popular that dried nurungji is sold separately in grocery stores, but it’s also easy to make at home. Just spread a thin layer of cooked rice in a pan and give enough time for the rice to turn golden brown on both sides over low heat. Then it can be made into nurungji juk (누룽지 죽), a simple rice porridge with subtle nutty flavor that is easy on the stomach. Another nurungji variation is made by deep-frying then rolling them in sugar – what could be so bad about hot, cruncy, sweet nurungji snack?
Here is another option. This happens to complement icy cold beer so well on a hot summer day, based on my numerous pairng attempts. It’s cruncy from nurungji, salty from Parmesan cheese, extra-nutty from black sesame seeds, and if you’d like, with a bit of heat from gochugaru (고추 가루; Korean chili powder).
To make nurungji chips, just make sure that white short grain rice (a.k.a. sushi rice) is part of the rice base so it has enough starch to keep the rice grains together. I usually mix sweet brown rice (현미 찹쌀; hyeon mi chap ssal) and white rice for my daily consumption, which is what I used for nurungji chips here.
Crispy rice snack or fancy garnish to your dishes
- 2 cups Cooked Rice (hard-boiled)
- 3 tsp [amazon_link id="B0002YB21A" target="_blank" ]Sesame Oil[/amazon_link] (or just enough to grease the pan)
- 1 cup [amazon_link id="B0012143AE" target="_blank" ]Parmesan Cheese[/amazon_link], shredded
- 1 tsp [amazon_link id="B001EPR18O" target="_blank" ]Black Sesame Seeds[/amazon_link], toasted and lightly crushed
- 1 pinch [amazon_link id="B004W71CJU" target="_blank" ]Gochugaru[/amazon_link] (ê³ ì¶”ê°€ë£¨; Korean chili powder)
- Place a cast iron pan or non-stick pan over low heat and drizzle 1 ts of sesame oil. Spread a very thin, tight layer of rice on the pan, pressing lightly.
- After about 10 minutes when the bottom of rice starts turning golden, sprinkle black sesame seeds (and/or gochu garu) on the rice. Sprinkle 1/3 C of shredded Parmesan cheese all over the rice.
- Cook for another 5 minutes or until the bottom of rice becomes golden brown and cheese has melted nicely. Carefully flip to the other side.
- When you flip, the cheese will stick to the pan. Let it cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese turns golden and peelable from the pan, if necessary, by giving a gentle push with a spatula.
- Let it cool on a rack. Break apart nurungji chips to a desired size.
- Repeat the whole process 2 more times with the rest of the ingredients.
beer 맥주 (maek ju)
summer 여름 (yeo reum)