Rice is the staple in any asian culture, Japan is no exception. In my opinion, the best way to savor rice is with the perfect onigiri – which is just the perfectly cooked japanese rice and a simple stuffing using traditional fillings such as umeboshi (pickled plums), tarako (salted cod roe), or katsuobushi (bonito flakes) with soy sauce. The rice ball snack is most commonly formed into triangle or oval shapes and wrapped in seaweed (nori). Onigiri (お握り) is also known as Omusubi (おむすび).
This simple meal needs nimble and fast hands that can withstand a little heat more so than others – in other words, you will have red hands from handling all that hot rice.
I tried making Onigiri while I was in Malaysia. It was OK as in, it was a mess I could handle. But it tastes very good. I really like the simplicity of it. I used mock meat which i cured with soy sauce and some mirin. I left the mock meat overnight in the fridge and stir fried itwith a bit of oil the next day. And that was my stuffing for my onigiri. Initially, I thought my hands were going to blister but it didn’t, thankfully and I would actually liked to try making it again.
There is a better less painful and less messy way of making this rice delicacy. I found this recipe, courtesy of a foodblog I frequent and love called Just Hungry
Click HERE for a full step by step instructions on how to NOT create a mess while making your own onigiri.
Basic recipe for an onigiri is:
Perfectly cooked rice:
3 cups Japanese rice
3 3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Clean your rice till the water is no longer murky, add everything else and cook it in a rice cooker or cook it on a stove (watch it carefully).
Your choice of -
umeboshi (pickled plums),
tarako (salted cod roe),
katsuobushi (bonito flakes) with soy sauce
Anything you like that is strongly flavored really. I still liked the mock meat stuffing i did for my onigiri back in malaysia.
Mock Meat Stuffing recipe:
250gram or 1 packet of mock meat/gluten
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoon of mirin
Marinate everything together overnight. The next day stir fry the marinated mock meat with some oil and season with pepper if you’d like.
And the rest, just follow the method in the website provided above :)
***edit (21/01/07): I realized that there was a broken link to the Just Hungry food link after being told by my administrator. I have rectified it and I apologize for the epicurean inconveniency the link might have caused – you can now click away to one of my favorite food haven :)