Onigiri, the Japanese rice balls, is very common to eat at lunch or as part of the bento (lunchbox), in the past I would occasionally buy a piece of onigiri from the Japanese supermarket and eat as a quick lunch.
I have bought this onigiri mold (Fig. 1) for some time and it’s really handy and clean. I had a lot of fun just making them this evening. There are many flavors you can make or create, I have chosen to have salted salmon with Umeboshi plum paste.
- 150g salmon fillet
- 1 cup Japanese rice
- 2 tbsp umeboshi plum paste (Fig. 2)
- 2 sachets of onigiri seasonings* (optional) see (Fig.2), you can find different flavors in the Japanese shop
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar**
- black & white sesame, grinded with sesame mill
- nori (seaweed), cut into long pieces
- spicy mayonnaise sauce for dipping: mix 2 tbsp of mayonnaise and 3/4 tbsp of Sriracha chili sauce together
- Make in advance the salted salmon fillet by sprinkle coarse sea salt on both sides of the fillet and leave for at least 30 mins***.
- When it’s time, rinse the salt off the salmon and pad dry with kitchen towel. Heat a little olive oil and pan-fry the salmon in a skillet until cooked. (Fig 3).
- Let the salmon to cool down and then break the fillet into very small pieces like flakes and set aside.
- Cook the rice in the rice cooker or in a saucepan.
- When the rice is cooked, open the lid and let it cool down for a few minutes and then add 1 tbsp of rice vinegar into the rice and mix.
- Transfer the rice to a big bowl when it is still warm, add in the onigiri powder and the flaked salmon and mix thoroughly.
- Wet the onigiri mold in water and then spoon a layer of the rice mixture into the mould, use the teaspoon to help to make the rice mixture fill up the bottom of the mold.
- Use another teaspoon and put a little plum paste onto the rice (Fig. 4) and then cover another layer of the rice mixture on top, now put the mold cover on top and insert some pressure to make the rice stick together.
- Grind some sesame on a plate, release the molded rice onto the plate and dust them with the sesame (Fig.5).
- Now the onigiri are ready, you can either serve them just like this (Fig. 6) or wrap a piece of seaweed each one , if desire(Fig. 7)
- Or if you like them warm, you can brush some olive oil on both sides, grill or panfry until lightly brown, serve immediately when hot (Fig. 8.)
- Dip some of the spicy mayo sauce, it’s awesome (Fig. 9) .
- Serve with a miso soup/ green tea & perhaps a glass of Choya Plum Wine.
*The onigiri seasonings is nice to have but not compulsory.
**Normally you don’t need rice vinegar in onigiri but I like the rice vinegar which make the rice a little more shiny, and a few drops won’t be overpowered.
***I like to prepare the salted salmon fillet in advance by seasoning it with salt and put in the freezer immediately after purchase without rinsing the fish, you can season one or more fillets in advance and use it anytime when you feel like it.