I love my brain sometimes. When it’s working right, it’s so creative….Of course, there are other times it simply balks at work and goes on vacation. Yesterday, it was hot at work and came up with a meal that is so good, my mouth still waters when I think of it. Not only was it good, I’m still patting myself on the back for not only using odds and ends I had in the refrigerator and creating a sumptuous meal that would cost a fortune in any fancy restaurant, but also for solving a major meal problem creatively.
I’m on a quest to use leftovers so creatively you don’t realize you ate them the night before in a different form. I had a large bowl of rice, cilantro, mushrooms and a bowl of bulgogi beef leftover in the refrigerator that I had to use soon.
It was easy since you use the same marinade and process to make them. I wanted to make bulgogi beef burgers but didn’t have buns and don’t like to use the oven in the summer. My second thought was a stir fry style meal, but I saw the homemade kimchi and that was my inspiration—no bake rice burger buns!
The biggest problem I faced was getting the rice to stick together like a bun so I added some sesame oil and I crisp the outside for more of a bun-like appearance. I needed some type of form and even considered—just for a minute, mind you—cutting out the bottom of a cat food can.
That actually helped my brain make the leap to the mini 3-inch cheesecake spring molds, since cat food cans lightly danced across my mind for the mini cheesecake before I broke down and bought the forms.
I mixed a bit of sesame oil and a pinch of salt, cilantro and squeeze some lime then packed each form and allowed the mixture to brown on one side before I removed the form. BIG HINT: Wear a mitt you that allows you to manipulate your finger.
I made three types of rice burgers. One had the bulgogi beef, one had the bulgogi mushrooms and the third one had a mixture of the two. Just use one rice bun for the bottom, add a slice of lettuce then the bulgogi meat or mushroom, top it with some kimchi or your favorite veggies and then another rice bun. Scrumptious!
- cooked leftover rice (you can use sushi rice )
- 2 tbsp sesame oil, to taste
- a pinch of salt, to taste
- soy sauce
- leftover bulgogi (find recipe here)
- Mix leftover rice with sesame oil, cilantro and add salt to taste. Set aside.
- Using a three inch ring mold, press rice into the mold tightly to about ½ inch thickness.
- The sesame oil should help to bind the rice together slightly.
- Heat a non-stick pan on medium high heat, place rice patties onto the pan.
- Cook for few minutes till there is a thin layer of crust.
- Carefully flip the rice patty with a spatula. Cook for another few minutes.
- Brush the tops of the crusty rice patties with soy sauce.
- Flip the rice patties and cook for another few minutes. Brush the other sides of the rice patties with soy sauce.
- cut sized kimchi (optional)
- Bulgogi (you can buy ready made bulgogi at Korean market or you can make your own.)
- Place lettuce over rice burger patty. Add some bulgogi and kimchi (optional). You can add your favorite veggies and sprinkle some sesame seeds.
- Top it off with another rice burger patty. Serve immediately.