Never had a Rice Ball; I think this is something I need to try!
- The rice balls preserve very well, and can even be used to preserve meats or other foods within its airtight seal.
- The rice ball is traditionally Japanese.
- Typically the rice is soaked in vinegar and made to stick together. Dipping it in soy sauce will cause it to fall apart again.
- Rice balls date back at least as far as the 11th century.
- Another word for the rice ball is “Onigiri”, a word commonly misused to refer to sushi.
- Popular onigiri fillings include tuna salad, salmon flakes, seafood salad, konbu (a type of sea vegatable), umeboshi (a sour bright-red pickled Japanese plum), tempura, and even natto (eat this one at your own risk!).
- “Onigri” literally means “to hold on to”.
- It was believed that onigiri could not be mass-produced as the hand-rolling technique was considered too difficult for a machine to replicate. In the 1980s, however, a machine that made triangular onigiri was devised.
Onigiri – Japanese Rice Balls
- 4 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup bonito shavings (dry fish flakes
- 2 sheets nori (dry seaweed), cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Wash the rice in a mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Combine washed rice and 4 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer rice until the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rice rest, for 15 minutes to allow the rice to continue to steam and become tender. Allow cooked rice to cool.
- Combine 1 cup water with the salt in a small bowl. Use this water to dampen hands before handling the rice. Divide the cooked rice into 8 equal portions. Use one portion of rice for each onigiri.
- Divide one portion of rice in two. Create a dimple in the rice and fill with a heaping teaspoon of bonito flakes. Cover with the remaining portion of rice and press lightly to enclose filling inside rice ball. Gently press the rice to shape into a triangle. Wrap shaped onigiri with a strip of nori. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat to make a total of 8 onigiri.