Looking for a word to describe that crunchy rice crust
November 19, 2020 11:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a word to describe that crunchy rice crust in the bottom of a pan, in any language.

Or the edges of brownies. Or the crusty corners of the lasagna pan. Something that describes that sort of reduced, flavorful, rich food that is also a little chewy and requires work on your part, but is worth it. Please help me out, poets and marketers.
posted by mecran01 to Writing & Language (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
In Iran it's called tahdig... but that's a specific dish made of crunchy bottom-of-the-pan rice, not the general characteristic.
posted by Beardman at 11:41 AM on November 19, 2020 [15 favorites]

Scorched rice, and its various uses in different countries.

It is also quite popular in many regional Indian cuisines, and since I didn't find references to it in the wiki article above, check out this really heartfelt Twitter thread about khurchan
posted by mysticreferee at 11:43 AM on November 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

there's a wikipedia entry for scorched rice, and what it's called in various cultures
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:44 AM on November 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Same question on reddit; 161 comments.
posted by MiraK at 11:47 AM on November 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

In Korean it's nurugji, and it's quite popular. They even have nurugji-flavored candy!
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:55 AM on November 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

In BBQ, the crunchy outside bits are called Bark.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:02 PM on November 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Tutong (t'TONG) in Tagalog.
posted by brownpau at 12:19 PM on November 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

socarrat is the name for the crusty bottom of a paella. i think any of these suggestions are going to be very culturally dependent for how well they work - if you told me there was some "lasagna socarrat" in the kitchen i think id be like 50% likely to get what you meant.

as a lover of burn t flavors i think of the leftover, charred on bits that i take as my cooks snack as "crispies" modified by whatever was being roasted (for example cauliflower crispies, eggplant crispies etc)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:21 PM on November 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

I'd be interested if there was a more broad term than one just applied to rice (like, I don't know of a term that would apply to your cited examples of brownies or lasagna aside from the general societal assertion that "edge piece brownies are the best"); I came here to say tutong/nurungji myself, based on what I and Mr. Kouti respectively grew up knowing it as.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 12:42 PM on November 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's not really fond, but it seems like a relevant word to add to your arsenal since you're talking about generalizing to highly-reduced flavors. When I worked in a kitchen we called cast-off tasty edge bits "Scooby snacks".
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:43 PM on November 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

In Japanese: okoge. Scroll down to read about scorched rice from other cultures. This link is nice because it gives more description than the straight scorched rice wiki.
posted by saltypup at 1:02 PM on November 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

in Puerto Rico those bits of rice are "pegao" (from the spanish "pegado" which means "stuck to")
posted by alchemist at 1:19 PM on November 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Not a direct answer to your question, but tangentially related: "tenkasu" is the Japanese word to describe the bits of batter that fall away from tempura into the oil, ending up as a crunchy snack. It translates literally to "heavenly waste."
posted by rjacobs at 2:19 PM on November 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

You can also check out 15 Japanese Food Onomatopoeias | Mental Floss. Japanese has a bazillion onomatopoeic for the sound / texture of various foods.

Want to Feel Ukiuki, Pichipichi and Pinpin? Japanese Food Onomatopoeia | Cultural Detective Blog.

I don't think many of them go into the condensed yummy taste part of the equation.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:48 PM on November 19, 2020

The rice one is called "la pega" in Colombia.
posted by Lluvia at 3:02 PM on November 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ok so how do you make it on an induction stove? Do you need to crank up the temperature? (If so how high? 450?). Or do you need to cook it after the water has all absorbed? If so how hot/how long?
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 3:26 PM on November 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

In the Toisan dialect of Chinese, we say ngong. Absolutely love the stuff.
posted by advicepig at 5:59 PM on November 19, 2020

Since no one has come in to represent northeast China, I think we call it guo1 ba1, pot scabs. It's a good hones language.
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:32 PM on November 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

In Ghana, goes by many names but the most recognizable is kanzo... and wars have been fought in my house over it, just saying...
posted by ramix at 6:17 PM on November 23, 2020

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