My first memory of Onigiri is–please don’t laugh–from a video game. Yes, I admit it, I’m a bit of a gamer. When I was younger, I used to play this farmer’s game on the Nintendo, it was all about growing crops and caring after livestock. Anyway, in that game, you couldn’t start controlling your character before he woke up in the morning and had his breakfast. I loved discovering the different kind of meal the game had planned for him every day–seems Iike I was already food-obsessed then. Although shown for only a split second, one particularly struck me, what was this little white and black triangle? It definitely was not something I’d ever seen or would have for breakfast.
It’s only when I first saw a real Onigiri, a few years later, that I put the two together. No surprise the creators used this widely popular and simple meal in their game. You see, Onigiri are in Japan what the sandwich is in the West: a packed lunch. Made from simple leftover rice, they’re filled with a wide variety of flavours before being wrapped in nori. They are easy, fun and delicious. Just cook a bit more rice next time you prepare a Japanese meal and use cupboard ingredients for the stuffing, like the tuna filling I’m sharing here. You’ll have a small lunch ready in no time.
Trying to keep up with the constantly evolving world of food blogging, I’ve decided to give the whole video thing a go. Now, you’ll have to bear with me, I’m alone working on this and, although I think it’s pretty good effort for my first time, there’s definitely a lot to learn and so much to improve on. Let’s see if this becomes the standard for future recipes.
- 240g cooked Japanese Rice
- Sea salt
- 1/2 tin of Tuna
- 1 1/2 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 1/2 Spring Onion, chopped (about 1tbsp)
- 1/2 tsp Soy Sauce
- a good pinch Shichimi
- 1 Nori sheet
- Sesame Seeds
- 70g Cucumber, very thinly sliced
- 2 tsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tsp Sake
- 1/2 tsp Ginger, grated
- Put all the pickle ingredients in a bowl and massage with your fingertips. Leave to marinate for 5-10 minutes or until the Onigiri are done.
- Reheat the cooked rice in the microwave for 30 seconds. You just want to bring it back to room temperature so the grains a loose and pliable.
- Prepare the filling by mixing the tuna, mayonnaise, spring onion, soy sauce and shichimi in a bowl.
- Cut three, 5x8cm, rectangle out of the nori sheet. Toast the pieces of nori in a hot, dried pan for 5-10 seconds each side and keep aside.
- Wet your hands with cold water and season your palms with sea salt.
- Scoop a third of the warm rice into the palm of your hand and make an indentation in the rice. Place a third of the tuna preparation in the hole and gently push the rice around the filling to enclose it. Shape into a triangle by pressing your palm gently, yet firmly, together.
- Wrap the Onigiri in the toasted nori, sprinkle some sesame seeds an repeat with remaining rice and filling.
- Squeeze out the excess pickling juices from the cucumber and serve alongside the Onigiri.