Onigiri is one of the more delicious things one can pick up at a Japanese store – hand-rolled rice balls with stuff in the middle, wrapped in nori. Making them at home isn’t super complicated, either, but I’ve found an even simpler way to do it.
- rice vinegar (sub white vinegar if you don’t have it)
For regular rice, you want two parts water to one part rice. For sushi rice, equal parts of each, and you rinse the rice first. Then, if you’re using a rice cooker, just flip it on. If you’re cooking it on the stove, put it on high with a lid on until it boils, then turn off the burner and let it sit for twenty minutes to half an hour.
When the rice is cooked, dump it out on a large cutting board or in a big bowl. Then, in a small bowl, cup, or shot glass (we had so few dishes in Russia), mix a little bit of vinegar with some salt and sugar. If you’re using white vinegar instead of rice vinegar, use a little sugar. It should still be really liquid, so toss that over the rice and gently mix it with your hands. The rice will be really hot, and handling it at this temperature is less than fun, so leaving it to cool for a while is super legit.
Next, the filling! I was feeding a bunch of people, so I made two different fillings: salmon and teriyaki chicken.
- can of salmon
- horseradish sauce (sub wasabi if available)
Open the can of salmon! Drain it, then drop it in a bowl and add the capers (I used half a jar because that’s what I wanted to use up) and enough horseradish sauce to make it kind of sticky – or however much it takes to get it as spicy as you want.
- ground chicken
- probably teriyaki seasoning???
- a bunch of the slightly-sweeter soy sauce you can get in Europe
- salt and pepper
Brown the meat and add all the seasoning. It’s yummy.
Assembling the rice balls:
- Lay down a sheet of nori. Yes, the whole sheet.
- Scoop a generous portion of rice into the middle.
- Add stuff to the middle – enough so that there’ll be a strong flavor and you’re likely to get some in every bite, not so much that you can’t close it.
- Little bit more rice on top!
- Fold all four corners of the nori to the middle – it should all be firm, but not necessarily overlapping.
- Squeeze firmly: it’ll want to come apart.
Pretty much any kind of filling will work well: eventually I want to try them with umeboshi.