Pokemon Onigiri (aka Japanese Rice Ball) Recipe
Remember all the “jelly donuts” Ash and his friends and Team Rocket ate in Pokemon? They looked pretty weird for donuts, didn’t they? Turns out, they changed the script to make things ‘easier’ for little kids regarding unknown foreign foods. Those “jelly donuts” were actually onigiri; a staple Japanese food, also simply known as rice balls. Easily portable, and often a mainstay in bento boxes, onigiri are quite easy to make.
- Rice -Short to medium grain, plain white rice is best. Please don’t use instant/microwave rice. I personally like to use Kokuho Rose Rice (which I find at my local grocery store). I used 1.5 cups of dry rice to make my plate of 6 onigiri.
- Filling of choice -one of the most common fillings for onigiri is umeboshi (aka pickled plums). Other common fillings are shrimp or canned tuna (mixed with mayo), cooked tuna or other salted fish, like salmon, teriyaki chicken, bonito flakes soaked in soy sauce, or just about any kind of pickled vegetable. I used tuna and smoked salmon for mine.
- Nori -seaweed; the thin, paper-like sheets often used to wrapped sushi.
- Sesame seeds
1. Cook your rice. Here is the procedure I follow (since I have yet to replace my broken rice cooker). I first rinse my rice, then place it in a pot with double the amount of water (so, 2 cups of water for 1 cup of dry rice…or 3 cups water for 1.5 cups dry rice). I bring it to a full boil for 1-2 minutes. I cover the pot with a lid, then reduce the heat to low for 15-20 minutes; until the water is absorbed. Then, I turn the heat off and let the pot rest a final 5 minutes. Let your rice cool.
2. Onigiri is often formed into triangular or cylinder shapes. Wet your hands (to keep the rice from sticking) and add salt. Take your rice and begin to form it into the desired shape using your hands -think snowball process here (with a lighter pressure), working the rice with your hands in a u-shape to cup the ball/triangle form.3. Push a dent into your rice, add your filling of choice (you don’t have to have a filling if you don’t want), then cover with more rice to fill in the hole. Reshape as necessary.
4. (Optional) Roll your rice ball in sesame seeds, sprinkle with furikake, and/or wrap with nori (or cut the nori to make designs).5. Serve and enjoy or wrap tightly with plastic wrap for a later time. How long they’ll keep in the fridge depends largely on the filling used.