A Tasty Rice Snack: Onigiri

Rice balls (onigiri) made with Annie Chun’s Sprouted Brown Rice

It’s mid-August in California, and the temperature has been pretty high. So my appetite runs towards something cool and a little salty. How about some home-made onigiri?

According to Wikipedia, Onigiri (or omusabi) is a rice ball made from white rice which is formed into a triangular or cylindrical shape. It can be filled with pickled plum, salmon, tuna salad, or any other salty or sour ingredient. The dish is eaten at room temperature or cooled. It is ideal as a brown bag side dish.

Onigiri is usually made with top-grade sushi rice. (Please see my post titled, “Let’s Here It For Haiga,” dated March 13, 2019.) However, in this blog I will share a recipe using Annie Chun Sprouted Brown Rice, which can be microwaved. It makes the process much easier for those who don’t have much prep time. You can find Annie Chun rice in the Asian section of your grocery store. You might even find it in the rice/grain/bean section. I bought my last batch at Sprouts Market.

Please see the nutritional data for the sprouted rice below. The product is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and contains more protein and fiber than most sushi rice.

I’m going to deviate somewhat from the classic ingredients for this dish in that I will add rice wine vinegar instead of salt. I just think it tastes better.

For additional flavor, I recommend Furikake Shredded Shrimp (Nori ebi) with toasted sesame seed and nori (minced dried seaweed). You can purchase this product at your local Asian grocery store or the Asian section of your supermarket. You can also purchase it on amazon.com using this address: https://www.amazon.com/Seaweed-Shrimp-Furikake-Seasoning-Product/dp/B07NPCK6R3/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Urashima%2Bfurikake%2Bnori%2Bebi&qid=1566684022&s=gateway&sr=8-3&th=1. If you are vegetarian or vegan, there are meatless furikakes.

Furikake with dried shrimp, nori, and sesame seeds

Finally, you will need two rice molds approximately 5.8 by 3.5 centimeters. You can purchase them from amazon.com using this address: https://www.amazon.com/Sushi-Onigiri-Bento-Press-Maker/dp/B06XBWMCPY/ref=sr_1_44?keywords=onigiri+mold+small&qid=1566681321&s=gateway&sr=8-44.

Small onigiri molds

Here’s the recipe:

ONIGIRI (1 serving)

  • One container Annie Chun Sprouted Brown Rice
  • One tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • One tablespoon furikake
  1. Heat rice in microwave according to directions.
  2. Place cooked rice in a bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Add vinegar and furikake.
  4. Fill two 5.8 cent. x 3.5 cent. rice molds with the rice. Make sure you really pack the rice in. But don’t put so much in that you can’t seal the molds. You will probably have a little rice leftover.
  5. Place sealed molds in refrigerator. *
  6. Serve with soy sauce or soy sauce mixed with wasabi. (You can get tubes of wasabi from the Asian section of your local supermarket. I got mine at Sprouts.)
Onigiri packed in rice molds.

*It is recommended that you consume the rice balls no later than the day after you have made them. Otherwise, the rice will dry out. Also, do not remove the rice balls from the molds until you are ready to eat them. The molds will retain moisture and texture for better mouth feel.

This side dish is good with cold teriyaki chicken, cold teriyaki salmon, or cold breaded chicken fingers. Make sure to pack some of that soy/wasabi sauce!

“Onigiri”  Wikipedia:  The Free Encyclopedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.  13 August 2019.  Web.  24 August 2019.

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