|Onigiri [Rice Balls]|
Onigiri is traditionally filled with Ume (pickled plum), but lately Japanese chefs have been expanding their horizons and filling these tasty treats with everything from fish to vegetables to fruits... you name it.
Using a traditional sushi - or sticky - rice and a dried seaweed wrapper as the outside, you're limited only by your own imagination (and the palettes of your family members) as to what to use for the filler.
Shopping / Ingredient List for Onigiri
Sushi - or sticky - rice
Fresh Fruit or Vegetables for filler
Dipping Sauce, like Sweet Chili Sauce or Teriyaki Sauce
|Form the rice balls around the stuffing, by pressing firmly.|
(like making a snowball)
For this recipe, I cooked enough rice for two servings, which gave us enough Onigiri for about 4 meals. They are wonderful as leftovers - hot or cold!
Cook rice according to package directions, set aside to cool in a bowl so you can handle it with your bare hands.
While rice is cooling, dice the fruit or veggies that you plan to use as filling. Saute gently for 5-7 minutes in water until just tender. (For this recipe, I used 2 carrots, 1 pasilla pepper and 5 mushrooms) Set filling aside to cool.
While veggies are cooling, add to the rice:
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
Stir well, set aside.
Take a couple of sheets of the Seaweed Wrap and tear it into 1-2 inch wide strips by folding, then tearing along the fold line. (It tears very easily, you'll get the hang of it in no time!) If you would prefer something a little more perfect - or professional - looking, you can opt for an Onigiri Press that turns out perfect little Onigiri triangles.
Create a production line with:
1. A plate of plain water to keep your hands moist. (This will keep the rice from sticking to your hands and allow you to smooth the surface of the rice balls)
2. Your bowl of rice.
3. Your bowl of filling.
4. Your seaweed strips.
5. A cookie sheet lined with wax paper to set the Onigiri on.
In your left hand, place about 1/4 cup of rice in your wet palm.
Use your right thumb to make an indent.
Place about a teaspoon of filling.
Cover with 1/4 cup of rice.
Carefully mold into a ball, increasing the pressure until it is quite firm.
Wrap a strip of seaweed wrap around the ball, using just a drop of water to seal the ends.
Set aside and repeat.
Serve one to two Onigiri with fresh vegetables or a fruit salad. Set out different dipping sauces, such as Sweet Chili Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Plum Jam, or Soy Sauce.
Onigiri will store for several days in plastic containers and make great snacks or lunches.