If you don’t know what crispy rice is, you must be living under a rock. This crispy appetizer found at most sushi restaurants has become quite viral over the past couple of years.

Not having a restaurant in close proximity to me that serves this dish resulted in my attempting to do it myself. And let me tell you something, I'll never do it again.

Here’s what happened. Crispy rice is a pretty tedious process. You first have to make sushi rice that’s up to par, and then figure out how to fry it to be perfectly crispy, yet easily consumed. I made sure to purchase enough rice for two batches so that I could compare and contrast the rice and figure out the perfect ratio of rice to vinegar, sugar and the other components that made sushi rice what it is.

Once my rice was ready, I wet a knife and began cutting small rectangles out of the rice. My goal was to achieve crispy rice without straight up dipping it in oil, so I first tried cooking it on an oiled surface on my flattop.

The rice ended up burning and wasn’t holding shape, so I then attempted the airfryer. I made sure to coat the rice very evenly in oil and then airfried the pieces for about 10 minutes at 325 degrees. The rice came out pretty crispy and that light brown color I was looking for, but there were still a couple of flaws.

This process may sound easy but it was rather difficult, as I spent over 4 hours trying to make the perfect piece of crispy rice. I topped the rice with some fresh tuna which I mixed with a little bit of teriyaki and spicy mayo, and it overall was decent.

I found myself eating the fish off the top of the rice after a while, but if I had any sort of takeaway from this experience it would be my newfound appreciation for sushi chefs. This is not an easy job, and I am glad I never have to do it again.

I will stick to driving the extra 20 minutes next time I want some crispy rice. Just know that if you ever want to make it, I’ve just taught you how.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi Franco’s own.

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