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Onigiri Made Simple

June 19, 2010

Last weekend I made a quick trip to my home in upstate New York to run in our local 5K, visit my parents, and—most importantly, at least for this blog’s concerns—enjoy some delicious food. Take Friday night’s dinner, for example. After I got back from the bus station, I was treated to something I haven’t had in a long time: onigiri, or Japanese rice balls!

These little packed-rice triangles are ubiquitous in Japan, readily available in any number of flavors at every convenience store. Though typically a lunch or midday snack item, these worked surprisingly well as a dinner, especially when paired with a side salad. And now making them is easier than ever, thanks the magical handheld onigiri press my mom got. And since I was so amazed by this little plastic wonder, I thought I would document and share the process with you. So here we go…

First, start off with a decent-sized bowlful of cooked rice (Nishiki is ideal).

Now take out your magical handheld onigiri press.

Next, fill the press about halfway with rice, packing fairly snugly.

Then get out your favorite onigiri filling. We used this homemade mushroom mix, but the possibilities really are endless. Japanese onigiri are most commonly filled with some sort of fish (as would be expected from Japan), but other popular varieties include the (in my opinion disgustingly) sour umeboshi and, on the other end of the spectrum, fried chicken. So you really can put just about anything in there.

Now place a small, perhaps quarter-sized amount of your filling in the center of your onigiri triangles.

Then cover up that filling with another layer of rice.

Next, get the other half of your magical handheld onigiri press ready.

Place it on top of the bottom half.

Then squeeze the two halves together firmly.

Next, press down on the, er, presser thingies.

Your onigiri should now be neatly half out of the press.

Then simply turn the press over and your onigiri should just pop right out!

Finally, wrap a thin strip of nori dried seaweed around the edges, and you’re done!

Oh man, did this ever bring back memories for me. Onigiri really are a great meal, and a perfect take-along lunch to boot. But they would be significantly more difficult to make without a magical handheld onigiri press. So should you happen to come across one ever, definitely buy it! It works, and moreover, it will make your life more delicious. ごちそうさまでした!(Gochisousama deshita!)

Until we eat again,

Willie

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