In most anime or mangas (especially shojos and shonens), there’s almost always a scene where the main characters and their friends are served onigiri. Now most Americans would call onigiri simply rice balls, but we’re otakus. We would not dare to besmearch the awesomeness of onigiri by simply calling them such a plain thing. To be more exact, onigiri, also known as omusubi, is a rice dish. It is a snack formed with Japanese rice usually in the shape of a oval or triangle and usually wrapped in nori or edible seaweed. It’s filling differs based on your pallete, but the usual suspects are pickled umi fruit, salted salmon, and katsuobushi.
Now, at first, this examiner thought onigiri would be hard to make. It certainly took a few attempts, but afterwards, the homemade onigiri was found to be a delight. So thus, the how to make onigiri tutorial begins.
To begin, you’ll need these things:
· White or brown Japanese rice, or sushi rice. Make a note, not sticky or sweet rice. No! BAD!
· Filling of your choice (tuna being what was used in several attempts)
· Nori (a.k.a. edible seaweed) This is really optional, but if you want authenticity
· Salt (if you want)
Okay, so here we go…
Step 1: Make the rice by following the directions on the box or bag. If you’re using a pot or rice cooker, make sure you’re paying attention. Rice can cook fast and burnt things don’t always smell good. After the rice is done, let it stand. Since you’ll be touching the rice directly, it makes no sense to burn your hands on the rice or the pot/cooker.
Step 2: While the rice is cooling off, go ahead and make your filling. Just remember not to make too much, or you’ll end up making a lot more rice to use up all that filling. Though onigiri is an all around thing, so that may not be so bad. Personally used tuna, but the filling you can use is your imagination’s limit. Maybe beef and broccoli next time. Yum.
Step 3: Lay out some covering. Yeah, take it from this examiner, just do it. Japanese rice LOVES to stick to surfaces. You, your clothes, your cook wear, your countertop… You get the idea. To avoid this, wet your hands with some salty water. It’ll help you from being as adhesive to the rice. Now take a table spoon and plop some (hopefully cooled off) rice into your hands. Get a good little ball going.
Step 4: Now that you have your rice ball, put a hole in it. No, seriously. Take a finger and lightly press into the rice ball until you think is at the relavative center. Or just go the radius for you math folks. We do this because! That’s where your filling’s going, duh.
Step 5: Make a mess. Well this examiner did. Add your filling, but not too much of it. Then take some rice and put it over your filled crater. Give it a good squeeze. Not so lightly that the rice won’t stick. Not so heavy that the filling (and rice) juts out all over. Just make a nice compact shape. If you want the triangle that we otakus usually see onigiri in, just make an L-shape out of your hands and pattern away.
Step 6: The SEAWEED! Seriously though, take that nori and wrap it around, either the whole or part, of your onigiri. It keeps your hands mostly rice free, and it helps the onigiri keep its shape.
Step 7: This is by far, the most important step. ENJOY IT! Munch it down like there’s no tomorrow. And with that, you’ve made and devoured your very own otaku onigiri.
Here’s hoping this guide has been most helpful to all you otakus out there. As always all, keep reading, watching and laughing. See you next time.