Okoge (Scorch) (お焦げ)
Okoge refers to a portion of cooked food that is scorched or food that gets burned. However, it usually means the scorching of cooked rice.
Okoge of cooked rice
When rice was cooked with cooking stove, control of the flame was very difficult. With firewood or charcoal, fire tends to be strong, and if fire is too strong during the steaming process, rice may be burned black and stick to the bottom of the pan. When it burns until carbonized, the entire cooked rice may have burning smell.
However, slightly scorched rice that makes the bottom of a pan somewhat brown was appreciated as a spicy savored food. That of takikomi gohan (mixed rice) is particularly favored.
In present Japan, cooked rice by such a method is special, and an electric or gas powered automatic rice cooker is usually used. Since such cookers do not have very strong heating power, and the adjustment of heating power is easy, it is rare to make okoge.
Recently, rice cookers with stronger heating power by induction-heating system, etc. have been introduced. Okoge can be made with the stronger heating power, and it has became a selling point of the rice cookers. Moreover, in order to adjust it, some of them are equipped with a "okoge button," "okoge mode," etc.
Although Chinese food has a scorched dish using scorched rice, this is done by deep frying.