An anytime snack, ideal for picnics, popular with children. The salted-hand technique outlined here comes from my friend Miki Tanaka, and is the secret to killer onigiri.
This comes from our first cookbook, 101 Easy Asian Recipes, out now.
- 4 C freshly cooked short-grain rice (still hot)
- + sea salt
- + filling (choose one): umeboshi, mayonnaise-y tuna salad, chopped parsley (see below for amounts)
- + one of the following (optional): sesame seeds, 8" x 2" strips toasted nori
Set up your onigiri-building station: Arrange a rice cooker or pot with cooked rice, bowls with salt and filling, and a dish of water within arm’s reach. Have ready a plate or baking sheet on which you will place your formed onigiri. If using sesame seeds, scatter on a plate.
Fluff the rice with a fork. (For parsley onigiri, add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and a little salt.) Wet your hands in the dish of water and sprinkle them with salt. Scoop about 2/3 cup rice into your hand and make a 1-inch hollow in the center of the rice with your finger. Then:
Place 1 plum into the hollow, then seal the rice over the filling. Roll the rice into a ball, then gently shape and compact it with your salted hands, gradually forming a 1-inchthick triangular shape.
Place 1 tablespoon tuna salad into the hollow, then seal the rice over the filling. Roll the rice into a ball, then gently shape and compact it with your salted hands, gradually forming a 1-inch-thick triangular shape.
Gently shape and compact the parsleyflecked rice with your salted hands, gradually forming a 1-inch-thick triangular shape.
If desired, wrap each onigiri with a strip of toasted nori or roll in sesame seeds to coat.
Turn these into yaki onigiri. Heat a castiron skillet over medium heat. Add the onigiri to the pan and cook until a light crust forms, about 2 minutes. Flip and brush lightly with soy sauce. Cook until a crust forms on the other side. Flip and brush with soy sauce. Cook until golden brown and crisp, flipping as necessary, until crisp all over, about 5 minutes.