The Foodie Blogroll

Yaki Onigiri

"Onigiri or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shape and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume, salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a preservative. Because of the popularity of onigiri in Japan, most convenience storeshere stock onigiri with various fillings and flavors. There are even specialized shops whose only products are onigiri for take out." - Wikipedia

This dish gives the exterior of the rice a crispy almost burnt crust with a very fluffy interior, what an absolutely amazing creation.

  • Prepared Japanese rice Nishiki is what I used
  • Rice vinegar you don't have to use this, however, it makes rice handling much much simpler
  • sSoy sauce
  • Oil I used olive oil, if I were to make these again I would use Grape seed or Peanut oil, something less harsh
To make the shapes of the onigiri you can use your hands or cookie cutters there are tools specifically made for onigri, however the ones I found online are $18.00 and considering I would only make them here and there the heart cookie cutters I used worked well. Traditionally, you are to make them while the rice is hot, but considering I want to keep my hands looking young I put the rice in the freezer for about five minutes, you can even leave it in longer since you will be frying them. You want to pack in the rice as much as you can, you don't want the rice to be fluffy when you put it in the pans because they will break apart. The heart on the left is very packed in, to do this a spoon was used and pressed in really hard, you can also pack more rice in with this technique. If you look at the heart on the right you can see that the heart is much fluffier and bigger, onigiri is something where time is of the essence. You need to work very fast with this dish, having an extra set of hands also does wonders :).

Since the rice is super sticky, you are going to want to keep a bowl of water on hand so that between each molding you can get the rice off. Also, if between each "rice cake" you put water on the mold you are using and the spoon it makes dealing with the rice a lot easier as well.

After you’ve shaped your onigiri it’s time to fry them. I would say a non-stick pan is probably the best way but since I don't have that I used a stainless steel pan, and it still worked great. Heat your skillet or pan on medium heat with a little bit of oil in it I had about four hearts in the pan at a time and would have to add some extra oil from time to time Fry each side of the onigri until the rice turns brown and forms a nice crisp exterior. If your onigri is getting brown or burnt turn the heat down. I used metal tongs, since the rice is so delicate if you have rubber tongs I would highly advise using those :)

When all the sides are grilled, brush on the soy sauce. Since I don't have a pastry brush I put soy sauce into a bowl and just dunked all sides, worked like a charm. Coat the sides evenly. When the onigiri is coated you need to fry all the sides again, the onigiri will be done after you've grilled them with the soy sauce.

At the beginning I ate them just with the soy sauce, but my boyfriend and I found them to be a bit bland so we decided to cut some cucumbers and put them on top of them. This made for a cool and refreshing contrast against the crunch. If you want to add a little kick, start stuffing your onigri in the mould and halfway through add a little touch of wasabi then add the rest of the rice. There are so many options to be had with this, you just have to creative.


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