Monday, December 5, 2011


You're probably aware by now of my slight obsession with Japan (have you seen my other blog?), so this recipe post shouldn't be a surprise. These are onigiri, which are Japanese rice balls. There's a neat little intro to them over here. おいしい!

I've adapted the recipe from a few places to come up with something that works for me. Now tested it out a fair few times so it's ready to be posted...

  • 2 cups sushi rice (I use SunRice brand)
  • 1 small brown onion
  • A handful of mushrooms (any kind will do; I use 4-5 button mushies)
  • 2-3 pickled gherkins (yep, the ones in a jar)
  • Small handful of frozen peas
  • 2ish tbsp Mirin
  • 1ish tbsp soy sauce
  • 1ish tbsp rice vinegar
  • Furikake to sprinkle on top (I use a vegetarian version. Cut nori sheets would work too, or no seasoning at all... they're still good)
Rice Preparation:
The full article on rice prep (including photos) is over here, but I cheat a little with the timing, and use a rice cooker (check the packet instructions if you don't have one).
  1. Rinse your rice like you've never rinsed rice before - put it all in a saucepan with running cold water, swishing with your fingers, then tipping out water and doing it again - over and over and over until the water runs clear.
  2. Set it aside in a strainer to drain for at least 30mins.
  3. Put it into your rice cooker (turned OFF) with 3 cups of cold water. Cover and leave to soak for at least 30mins.
  4. Turn ON the rice cooker and let it do its thing. Usually about 15mins but might vary.
  5. Turn OFF the rice cooker (i.e. don't leave on "keep warm" setting) and leave rice to cool for a few mins. Your rice is now ready to use.
Filling Preparation:
This is the bit I made up, but it works really well. There are some other filling ideas over here.
  1. Finely chop the onion, mushrooms, gherkins and pop into a small saucepan.
  2. Add the peas and sauces (mirin, soy and rice vinegar) then keep stirring until everything is warm and sauce has reduced a little (about 10mins).
  3. Take it off the heat and place in a small bowl, ready for serving.
Putting Together:
Someone else has already explained this better than I can, so go ahead and read their post then come back. In case the link ever disappears, here are the basic steps:
  1. Using a smallish bowl (8cm diameter or thereabouts), line it with Glad Wrap (i.e. cling film) so it overhangs the edge by quite a lot.
  2. Pop a pinch of salt in.
  3. Spoon in a good dollop of the cooked rice (almost a full cup, depending on how big you want your onigiri to be).
  4. Press down in the centre with a teaspoon so the rice gently spreads with a hole in the middle, but don't pierce through to the bottom.
  5. Spoon in 1-2 teaspoons of your filling.
  6. Gather the Glad Wrap and pull it out of the bowl so you can shape the ball, ideally so the rice encapsulates the filling in a triangular-ish shape.
  7. Gently unwrap the Glad Wrap and place onigiri on your plate.
  8. Sprinkle with furikake or just leave as is.
  9. Eat!

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