Onirigi! LunchBox

So I was looking for new alternatives for my son’s vegetarian lunch boxes and a good friend of mine gave me an idea! Onigiri!

Oni what you say?
O-nigiri (お握り or 御握り; おにぎり?), also known as o-musubi (お結び; おむすび?), nigirimeshi (握り飯; にぎりめし?) or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed).

Don’t you just love having “international” friends? So to make this yummy balls you need two key ingredients.

  • Sushi Rice or Japanese Rice
  • Nori (Seaweed)
I had this sushi kit hanging around in my kitchen. You can buy Japanese Rice and Nori at almost any supermarket.

Those are the basics. The onigiri is meant to be filled with fish such as tuna or salmon, but I filled mine with broccoli to be safe with my very “non used to Asian flavours” child. I mean yes he loves won-ton soup and lettuce wraps and other westernized Asian food, but he isn’t too familiar with real Asian flavours. If he likes the broccoli ones perhaps ill venture into a salmon or tilapia (yes not to Japanese I know) I guess you can play around with it to suit your taste buds.

Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient.

Ok so this is very simple. You cook the rice as per instructions and you let it cool down for a little. Japanese rice is very starchy and sticky so you will need to wet your hands before you handle the rice with your fingers. Or you can use a plastic bag but I found it easier to handle with my bare hands.

There are different shapes of onigiri. Common shapes include:

  • Triangle: A low triangular prism.
  • Tawara:A round pillar shape.
  • Round: Similar to the shape of Gouda cheese and Kagami mochi.
  • Ball <—- easiest
  • Square: A low Rectangular parallelepiped shape.
I had previously cooked the broccoli, added a little salt and pepper.

So to make rice balls onirigi you take some rice and spoon it into the palm of your hand. Then you make a little ball, and you make a small space in the middle to scoop your filling. Then you add more rice to the top to “close it” and start moulding it with your hands.

20131113-112809.jpgAnd there! it is so simple! you can cut the Nori in any shape you want and simply “stick” it to the rice, it will hold. Add a little water if it doesn’t (just a tiny bit to your fingers)

20131113-112822.jpgMy friend suggested to make salmon onigiri and serve broccoli as a side dish. I guess as an adult you can add other flavours and even some soy sauce on the side. I used the broccoli onigiri  per se as a side to the accompany the faux sushi rolls, fruit and veg I had prepared for my son’s lunch box.

Faux Sushi rolls filled with micro-greens and carrots. Cucumber and pepper salad (no dressing) and yoghurt pretzels with grapes.



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