Sep 23, 2010

Onigiri and Octodogs

My kids and I were recently watching some of our favorite anime. This got us interested in onigiri, which are Japanese rice balls. Onigiri is a staple in traditional Japanese cuisine and is used most often in lunches but can be for any meal, even breakfast!

The basic onigiri is a simple rice ball made from sushi rice. This can be found at nearly any grocery store. It does not have to be name brand or specifically say “sushi rice”. You need to get a short grain rice (Not instant rice!!) and it typically does not cost much more than regular white rice.

Now, I have a rice cooker which makes my life a bit easier, but you can still cook the rice on the stovetop. You just have to be sure that you check it often as it has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Make the rice according to the package directions. There are no fancy instructions here. Many recipes call for using rice wine vinegar, white vinegar, extra salt, etc. I didn’t use any of that, although you are more than welcome to.

The Onigiri can be filled with a variety of ingredients. My kids’ favorite was broccoli and pork. I got a small package of thinly sliced pork chops and cut them into small strips. The broccoli has to be cut from the stem. You can either blend the broccoli straight into the rice or stuff the middle of the rice ball with it. I seasoned my pork chops with a mix of soy sauce, Worcestershire, and garlic. My favorite was the most recent, where we used pre-made meatballs and wrapped the rice around them. YUM!

When the rice is done, allow it to cool just enough that you can handle it without burning yourself. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and add about 3 tablespoons of salt. This will be for you to dip your hands in. Dipping your hands helps you make the rice balls without it sticking to your fingers and will also help season the rice ball.

Form the rice into a ball and create a dent with your thumb. Put whatever fillings you want into the dent and then shape the rice over it. Keep in mind that Onigiri are not typically shaped like “balls”, they can be triangles, squares, or even rectangles, the choice is yours. Mine are balls because it’s easier. LOL.

Nori (Japanese seaweed) is usually used to cover the Onigiri and is used to hold it in the hand. My family hated the Nori, but yours may like it. If you want to try your hand at making sushi, you would also use Nori, but roll it into a tube shape and then slice it. We sliced up cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower and cheese as sides to our Onigiri. For the kids, we made hot dog Octopi which turned out really cute and are super fast and easy.

Open a package of regular hot dogs and cut them all in half. Using a small paring knife, cut the “tentacles” by making cross cuts to the bottom of the hot dog. On the flat side of the hot dog, cut two eyes and a smile. Boil until done. The hot dog will blossom in the pan and it is fun to eat! You can also pan fry the hot dogs, but they seemed to spread out better when boiled.

The possibilities are endless with Onigiri and the octodogs are a lot of fun for the kids. You can pick any of your favorite vegetables to go with or in the Onigiri.

Coming next...Tempura Chicken!


Post a Comment


Blog Template by - Header made with PS brushes by
Sponsored by Free Web Space