Kiritanpo, pounded rice formed into a cylindrical shape, is used in Kiritanpo Nabe, a local hot pot in Akita Prefecture. Kiritanpo is typically an ingredient in a hot pot but you can also enjoy it with walnut or sesame miso paste as a snack.
First, wet the tip of a surikogi pestle with slightly salted water and pound the freshly made steamed rice in a bowl.
Be sure to crush the rice grains until they are almost completely mashed. If it is not mashed enough, the rice will break apart when it is cooked.
Next, let’s shape the rice into kiritanpo. First, shape the rice into a ball. We will be using about 100g (3.5 oz) of the rice for each Kiritanpo.
Then, pierce the rice with a skewer and gradually shape it around the stick.
Occasionally wet your hand with the salt water to avoid sticking.
When it is about 15~16cm (5.9"~6.3") long, wet a cutting board with the salt water and roll the rice to even out the surface.
Usually, Kiritanpo skewers are made of Japanese cedar trees but we’re substituting with bamboo sticks instead. If proper skewers are not available, you can tear the rice into bite-size pieces and shape them into balls. They are called Damako or Damako-mochi and the hot pot is called Damako-nabe or Damakko-nabe.
Next, let’s toast the Kiritanpo. Coat a pan with vegetable oil. Place the Kritanpo onto the heated pan. Damako are often used in an untoasted form but today we’re toasting them along with the Kiritanpo.
Occasionally rotate the Kiritanpo to toast evenly.
When the surface slightly browns, remove.
Now, let’s remove the skewer. When the Kiritanpo is still hot, lightly slap it in your palm several times.
Then, rotate the skewer a little at a time. This will help to remove the skewer.
Using these Kritanpo, you should definitely make Kiritanpo Nabe, a delicious hot pot in Akita Prefecture.
Originally “tanpo” referred to the cotton padding on the end of a practice spear. The skewered rice looks similar so that is where the name comes from.
Authentic Kiritanpo are toasted around a traditional open hearth called Irori but we are pan-frying them instead. And strictly speaking, the uncut Kritanpo should be called Tanpo since Kiri means 'to cut' in Japanese.
If you want to enjoy the Kiritanpo with homemade walnut miso paste, check out our previous Gohei-mochi video.