I’m not sure what made me remember these handy ‘rice balls’, I have not come across them since leaving Japan in 1994. I would often grab one of these fast food items on my way to/from work from the local 7 -Eleven for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. As it is Australia Day and we will soon be making our way down to the beach I thought these would be the perfect lunch to eat in the sand!
My kids both love sushi and have requested that it be a regular in their lunch boxes this year. Although I enjoy making sushi, Onigiri are much quicker and less fiddly to make.
Unlike sushi, Onigiri are made with unseasoned koshihari (sushi) rice. By unseasoned I mean there is no need to add vinegar and sugar to the rice as it is cooling.
There are many traditional fillings for Onigiri from salted salmon to pickled plums. The filling my kids like best and that is always on hand in the pantry is tuna and mayo.
The instructions on how to make my version of Onigiri follow.
To make 6 Onigiri you will need to cook approximately 2 cups of koshihari rice in the rice cooker.
Allow the rice to cool slightly so that you can handle it without burning yourself.
In a small bowl mix together some tinned tuna and mayo to your taste. At this stage you may add some wasabi for extra zing.
Dissolve a small amount of salt in a bowl of warm water, you will use this water to wet your hands for shaping.
Moisten your hands in the salted water, shape about a cup of rice in your hands into a large ball.
Make an indent in this ball and put about a tablespoon of tuna into it.
Shape the rice around the tuna pressing firmly. Flatten the ball slightly and shape into a rounded triangle between your thumb and pointer.
If the rice is sticking to your hands, moisten again in the salty water.
When you are happy with the shape wrap a strip of seaweed around the triangle.
If we are not eating them immediately, I wrap each Onigiri in some plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
Thanks for this recipe – probably my favourite food but I didn’t know about the salty water trick, will give it a go.
I also read that you can coat your hands in soy sauce instead of the salty water. There is a recipe that you fry and baste in soy sauce for a bit of variety!