What could be more Japanese than onigiri (Rice Balls)! Onigiri is a less fancy version of sushi maki, usually filled with ume (Japanese pickled plums), mentaiko (spicy fish roe), okaka (bonito flakes and soy), tarako (salty cod roe), tuna mayonnaise and kombu (Japanese pickles). These are great for snacks as they are healthy and filling. For this onigiri recipe, I’ve chosen my two favorite fillings: Ume and Mentaiko.
- 4 cups cooked Japanese rice (I use Nishiki)
- Umeboshi (Japanese plums)
- Mentaiko (spicy cod roe)
- Nori (seaweed)
How to make Japanese Rice :
A couple of tricks to make good Japanese rice; soak your rice for a few minutes and massage a little until the water turns milky white. This removes some of the starch. Do it 2 or 3 times until the water is almost clear. Follow instructions and measurements listed on packaging. When you add your rice, give it a quick stir, put the lid on and leave it alone! I use a timer each time I make rice, this way I don't have to worry about under or over cooking it, and it always turns out perfect.
When the rice is cooked, put it in a bowl and let cool. Grab a wooden spoon and gently fold over the rice (do not stir, you want to keep it fluffy!) while adding some salt (until you get your own perfect level of saltiness).
Now let's make our onigiris!
Grab a small handful of rice, shape it into a triangle (or ball) and make a dent in the middle. It's good to have a bowl of water nearby so you can wet your fingers (it helps with shaping the rice).
Fill with some of the Umeboshi (Japanese plums).
Then add a little of The Mentaiko (spicy cod roe).
After all of your fillings are inside, the onigiri is ready to be wrapped.
Wrap a strip of nori (a wider strip will make it much easier to eat) around the rice and you're done! It's that easy!
You can save onigiri by wrapping it in cling film and refrigerate overnight. Zapping it in the microwave for about 20 seconds the next will make the rice balls nice and soft again.
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