Unfortunately I have never seen these cute little bundles of rice in their natural habitat, but these are just as easy to make here as in Japan.
I’ve been told people eat these onigiri in Japan like we eat sandwiches, as they are easy to take away and eat on the go. The sticky rice is held together by the dry seaweed, which prevents you from getting dirty hands. I’ve actually taken these onigiri more than once to a picnic; they are delicious to eat cold and are more fun than the usual cheese sandwiches!
Oh, if you happen to have a sushi craving once, but don’t feel like ordering: these will do the job appeasing the craving, but are much, much easier to make than sushi! Just take notice of the time to let the rice cool, you’ll need about 1,5 hours to make these onigiri (or just make them the day before you need them).
You can vary endlessly with the filling. Use some raw salmon, some pickles or just leave them with no filling at all, an easy side dish! Today I’m making a cucumber filling.
Ingredients for the onigiri (makes about 5):
– 250 grams of sushi rice
– 350 ml cold water
– 1 sheet of Nori (roasted seaweed)
Ingredients for the filling:
– ¼ cucumber
– 1 clove of garlic
– A small dice of fresh ginger (or ¼ teaspoon ginger powder)
– 1 teaspoon of sesame seed
– 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
Now pour the cold water and the rice in a cooking pan, and bring to boil. Add a pinch of salt. Leave boiling for 10 minutes, than turn off the heat completely, leaving the pan with the lid on for another 15 minutes. Make sure not to open the lid, this way the steam will cook the rice until done. Now it’s time for the rice to cool down, just open the pan to speed up the cooling.
In the meantime you can start preparing the filling. Cut the cucumber in small dices and add some salt, pepper and the rest of the spices. Add the soy sauce and mingle.
Once the rice is cooled down enough to touch with your hands, take some plastic foil and cut out a square (about 20 cm each side). Put 1/5 of the rice on it and spread it out with a spoon. Then put some filling in the middle, be careful not to put too much. Now you’re gonna fold the plastic foil together, so the rice will surround the filling. You can form the balls into a round, oval or even triangle shape.
Make about 5 of these balls, or until you’re out of rice. When done, remove the foil.
As a finishing touch, you can get creative with the Nori. Cut out little shapes and press them onto the rice balls; it will stick easily. Turn the onigiri into little creatures, or just make some nice patterns on them.
Refrigerate the onigiri until you eat them. Serve them with some soy sauce and/or wasabi.