Onigiri! A staple in the Japanese boxed lunch (bento), it adds character to otherwise plain rice. Makes it easier to eat when taking your lunch with you. Also great with Ramen noodles! Use your imagination on onigiri, there is no end to the variety available. A great way to get rid of left over rice from a previous meal. Practice this one, it may take a few tries before you learn to make a consistent shape and size each and every time. It should look like a triangle with 3 dimensions. Brings back memories of Shinkansen stations =).
- Let rice cool to where you aren't burning your hands when you handle it.
- Wash hands!
- Rinse hands and leave wet, and rub palms with salt.
- Take a handful of rice and ball with hands, using palm of left hand to form the base, and the palm and fingers of your right hand to form the two sides of a triangle.
- Toss and rotate so that the side that was on your left palm is now rotated to one of the sides on your right hand.
- Repeat until you have a nice triangle shape.
- Repeat starting with rinsing hands and salting hands.
- Wet hands do not stick to rice, which makes shaping the rice much easier.
- The salt adds flavor and helps to sterilize any bacteria.
- Consistency is key with the shapes and size, this will come with practice!
- Now that you have a basic rice ball, you can flavor with any of the optional ingredients or a mix: Sushi Nori- Simply wrap a piece of sushi nori around the rice ball.
- This is a very basic rice ball, and is seen in many boxed lunches.
- Chinese 5 Spice- I will often add a dash of 5 spice to the salt I'm using to add aroma and taste.
- Don't over do it, 5 spice becomes bitter if used excessively!
- Toasted Sesame Seeds- Sprinkle on top for aroma and taste.
- Can also use prepackaged Japanese rice dressing, sold in glass bottles to be shaken over rice for flavor.
- Ume-boshi or cooked fish- In one of the two flat sides of the onigiri, press a divot into it with a finger, and fill with the desired stuffing.
- Leave open or cover with a strip of sushi nori- not the ume boshi though!
- You don't want to choke on the seed if you didn't know it was there!
Some people might dislike umeboshi. Also popular filling to put in Onigiri in Japan are: tuna salad, ground chicken cooked in teriyaki sauce, cooked sea weed strips, even sausages! Anything can go and they all taste great!
Really love these! You might want to add that if you should wash the rice before making(Sometimes it says this on the packages of rice-but just in case it doesn't I thought I'd mention it). It helps it stick together. I like cucumber in mine.
Don't be afraid to try unorthodox fillings - I'm not big on umeboshi, but I've used mini Dill Pickles... mmm!