After comparing notes with the Obscured Dreamer yesterday, I thought it could be a good idea to post this onigiri recipe. I once enjoyed my dinner so much it made me want to sketch my food just for fun.
So I did.
For those who have no swift access to melt-in-your-mouth sushi, this may be the next best option which people can have fun making at home.
I first came across the onigiri when a bunch of kids decided to eat their snacks in a Tokyo subway. I wondered what that black rice triangle was and learned about it when I came across a food stall. Many friends always respond by saying, “Oh, that triangle snack on anime?” While I’ve made various shaped ones some time ago (including carving nori to make funny faces),
I decided to perfect the flavor and consistency of the rice this time around, and season it with furokake (these are dried seasoning with a seaweed base mixed with other flavors, like salmon).
How To Make Onigiri
1. Before cooking begins, make sure to soak your grains in water for at least 1 hour. This totally changes the way over-all texture of the rice. Use only Japanese grains with a 1c rice to 1.5c water ratio. Watch your rice closely so the bottom doesn’t burn. (I prefer to prepare my onigiri rice on a stove instead of an automatic cooker).
2. Decide what you want to stuff the onigiri with. I’ve come to love the flavors of this canned Japanese sanma (mackerel cooked in sweet kabayaki sauce) which I mash into a paste. It’s delectable but at the same time convenient to purchase and work with.
3. Although I do not see this procedure in many recipes, I choose to give body to the flavor of my rice with by improvising with this magic mixture: mirin (wine), salt and sugar. Let this mixture sit while the rice cooks.
4. When rice is done, pour the mirin mixture and fluff it in front of a fan (or manually fan it if you have the energy to do so). This will make the rice dry in a sticky way. Combine with furokake and work quickly.
5. Before rushing to mold the onigiri, always have a bowl of water and constantly keep your hands wet. If you happen to skip this part, then your onigiri will be a bit of a pain to do.
6. With your wet hands, get a small amount of rice and roll into a ball. Then, create a small “well” in the cup of your hand where you can put your filling. Add a bit of rice to cover the hole and roll until you produce a smooth round or triangular shape. Set aside.
7. When done, dry your hands and wrap with nori. This time, it’s best to keep your hands dry so the seaweed doesn’t stick to your hands.
A year ago, my friend Renzo was craving this so I sent him this post. He followed it and he got to surprise his wife with some homemade dinner that looked like this: