I have to say, the Japanese have got it down when it comes to traditional food. White rice may not be the most nutritious thing out there, but I would venture a guess that it’s at least a tad bit better than, say, fried chicken? (Which by the way, is also eaten widely by old people in Japan, though slightly different than the abroad version.)
So, let’s say that onigiri is marginally good for you. ^-^ It’s also really filling! It can also be made in practically every flavor you could ever imagine.. Me, I would like a little bit of chocolate and some strawberries in my onigiri, thankyouverymuch! (^o^)/
Anyways, this is an onigiri:
In other words, a japanese rice ball that may or may not be partially-wrapped in seaweed. It also may or may not be filled with some kind of surprise in the middle Yum! Not yum?
You can buy them in stores all over Japan, like this stand in the basement of Shibuya station:
Stand name: O-musubi Shigeyoshi
Directions: From Shibuya station, follow the signs for the attached Tokyu Department store. On the first floor is an area called “Norengai” (のれん街). Go inside there and this store is on the North side. It’s easy to spot! 🙂
Map: Click here to open in a new window
Yum! Look at the selection!
I see some uni (sea urchin) onigiri in there.. This flavor may not be for the faint of heart, as uni has a very strong fishy taste to most people.
I’m not overly fond of it myself.. yet!
The ones on the right are plain rice with a little bit of salt added into it for flavor! Maybe a little bland for some Americans, I think.. I didn’t like it at first, but I grew to love it over time!
A close-up of the Sea Urchin onigiri. See that brown stuff peeking out of the top?
Let’s make some onigiri ourselves! Shall we get started?
4. Optional: Yummies for the filling, and dried seaweed strips (nori) for the outside.
The three easy steps:
1. Prepare the rice (see below)
2. Put the rice plus any ingredients onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a triangle (a ball will work as well). Optionally you can wrap your ball in seaweed when you are finished.
3. Eat it! Yuuuuuum!
It’s super-easy, I think that anybody can do it, no matter how bad (or good) you are at cooking! It’s also super-cheap, super-customizable, and easy to pack away in your purse or in your lunch box for a snack at school/work!
Let’s get started! Here’s my rice. I only made about a cup, which turned out to be way too much for just me alone. Too bad I was alone today!
According to my boyfriend, Japanese people like to wash their rice before cooking it. He says that it’s to get rid of the pesticides and any dirt. I’d never washed my rice before hearing that last year, and to tell the truth, I’d never thought about that before. To me, it was always: put the rice in the rice cooker, put in some water, close and push the button and in half an hour time for dindins!
I figured that this time, I would wash the rice, just in case.
I washed it in the rice cooker’s bowl. Just put in rice, swish it around (not too roughly), drain the water, and repeat until the water only turns a little cloudy. Two,, maybe three times should do it.
When you’re done, fill it back up to the right line with cooking water. Supposedly, there’s no more radiation in Tokyo water. I hope not, at least, or my rice balls will glow in the dark! Maybe I should check later.
Put the bowl back into the rice cooker. Mine is a tiny one meant for 1-2 people. Perfect for me! Actually, it doesn’te ven belong to me, it belongs to my boyfriend, even though we don’t live together at the moment. Maybe one day, when I start a family, I’ll get a nice big one!
Close the lid. If you want, add a dash of salt into the pot to help flavor it. (just a dash! Don’t add too much, or it will come out too salty!)
Push the start/cook button. If you live abroad, your button probably says “start,” but if you bought your rice cooker in Japan, then it probably says “suihan”(炊飯), which means “rice-cooking,” as mine does.
A half hour or so later, rice! You can alternatively cook on the stovetop, but I have a rice-cooker so I did it that way. I didn’t use to have one! But then again, I never ate rice back then, so I didn’t need one! I actually eat a lot of it now..
Here are the other things that I used in my onigiri. In Japan, you can buy them everywhere, for about ￥100 each, or about $1USD.
The ones you can see are: salted dried salmon, dried vegetables, and dried sesame seeds. On the left is my nori(のり), or seaweed sheets.
You can alternatively use something line canned tuna/salmon, or well… anything you want, really! Like chocolate! You might want to skip the salt if you are planning on making chocolate onigiri.
This is what dried seaweed looks like when you take it out of the package! Flat and crunchy. If you’ve never had it, it tastes a little bit like what you might imagine a plant that grew in seawater tastes like. Plant-y and sea-y… ^^;; Anyone who can come up with a better description of the taste will get a thank-you bookmark from me! 😀 (Post it in the comments!)
Close-up. I ♥ nori, by the way.
I took some of the fillings out of their packages and put them into a cute bowl that I had lying around. They’re salmon, sesame, and veggie, in order.
Alright. Do you have a scale? I do- it’s helped me immensely in figuring out what exactly a “serving size” is. When I’m cooking at home, it really helps me figure out how many calories are in the food that I’m getting!
You can get cheap ones on Amazon, or probably at whatever local hardware/kitchen supply store you usually shop at. Mine is boring-looking, but it gets the job done 🙂
You should measure the rice on top of a piece of plastic-wrap, because you will use this later. 100-120 grams is the weight of a typical onigiri. If you like yours bigger, maybe you should attempt to make a mega-onigiri! 🙂
My first one, I put salmon into, since it’s my favorite (I haven’t yet tried chocolate).
By the way, I should mention that this is my first time making onigiri! If I can do it, you can too!
From here it’s simple: Take the plastic-wrapped rice into your hand and form it into a triangle shape. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can really make it into any shape that you can imagine! I think next time I’ll try a heart!
Wrap it in seaweed and you’re ready to eat!
I also made one (without seaweed) that has the veggie mix mixed into the rice.
And one with the sesame seed mixture. That one turned the rice pink as I mixed it! O.o It’s a round one 🙂
Onigiri in my apartment… There was nobody to take a picture of me eating, so I took this instead! XD I’d like to make a mascot figurine or something to be the one “eating the food” when I take the pictures. Do you have any suggestions on how? (Use a dolfie? Repaint an existing figurine? Mold it from sratch? I dunno about that last one, it sounds like it would take a long long loooooong time, and I’m lonely now..)
That’s it! Thanks for sharing my onigiri adventure with me! By the way, they were delicious!!
Or of course you can always put in your own creative ingredients!
What kind of onigiri would you make, in your wildest dreams? (As I said before, I’m all for the chocolate-strawberry!)