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Miso Hungry Podcast

Episode 3: Onigiri



Japanese comfort food to the max.

It can be anything from a ball of rice sprinkled with salt to rice surrounding tuna or salmon, wrapped with nori.

But it’s not sushi. Nope. No rice vinegar involved, thus… not sushi!

They make excellent lunches. Bring them to school or to work – they’ll stay fresh unrefrigerated for up to six hours, thanks to the wonderful, magical (okay, not so magical) preservation qualities of salt! And if you fill your onigiri with an umebosi – a very salty, sour pickled plum – it’ll stay fresh for up to eight hours.

You can fill them with anything that goes well with rice – common onigiri fillings include flaked salmon, gingery chicken, spicy fish roe, bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce, and tiny clams cooked in a sweet soy glaze. But the possibilities are endless. (Rachael put an olive in her olive-loving older daughter’s onigiri; Allison’s contemplating how she can get bacon into one.)

Onigiri have been around for a really long time… more than 1000 years. (Holy cow, that’s a long time!) There are even Japanese fairy tales about it.

Onigiri can come in all sorts of different shapes. To get them into all these fun shapes, you can form them by hand… or there are lots of different molds you can buy.

So how do you make an onigiri? Lucky for you, Rachael made an awesome video that shows all three methods for making it:

If you’re ever in Japan, you can buy onigiri at most convenience stores… make sure to watch this video where Rachael shows you how to open onigiri from convenience stores… it’s pretty cool!

Now, we want YOU to make onigiri, and tell us about it! It’s so easy to do… and we just know you’ll love them.

(Need inspiration for your onigiri? Check out this blog.)

And remember… “Onigiri should fall apart in your mouth, not in your hands.” – Sonoko Sakai

(Don’t forget, today’s the last day to enter our Japanese candy giveaway!

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  • Kenny Jan 23, 2012 at 3:49pm
    When I was a kid I remember coming home from school & Bachan would make us some onigiri for an afternoon snack. Total comfort food!
  • Big John Jan 26, 2012 at 4:12pm
    Great job on episode 3! I love onigiri. Haven't had any since my mom died almost ten years ago. I have furikake, just not any nori. It's hard to find nori made in Japan around here. Lots from China, but it doesn't taste as good IMHO. Love the Zo rice cooker. I have a simple model Zo that's about 15-20 years old.
  • sippitysup Jan 27, 2012 at 6:15pm
    Rice balls. Oh I could go on and on! Instead I'll just keep listening... GREG
  • Eva Jan 28, 2012 at 9:30am
    My almost six year-old loves to try new foods (I am so blessed!!) and I think she would FLIP if she found one of these in her lunch bag! Gotta figure out a way to steam the rice without an electric steamer, though...
  • Fuji Mama Jan 30, 2012 at 3:20pm
    @Kenny -- What kind did your bachan make? Food memories are powerful stuff! @Big John -- Aren't the Zo cookers wonderful? They'll last a lifetime! My life seriously changed when I was introduced to them. Now I don't know how I survived pre-Zo @sippitysup --. Greg, we're so lucky to have a friend like you! @Eva -- You can make it on the stove top!
  • [...] onigiri (it’s kind of Rachael’s thing… that and her addictive chocolate almond toffee!) [...]
  • [...] you listened to our onigiri episode a few weeks ago, you may remember hearing us talk about the convenience stores, or konbinis, that [...]
  • Angy Feb 28, 2012 at 11:41am
    Seriously loooove you guys! Keep up the amazing work! I love listening to you guys introduce me to different and fantastic Japanese things!!
  • [...] so sweet and clean that they required no extra dressing for the salad. Some people also ate onigiri, rice balls, made from last year’s rice harvest. Following the planting were some celebratory [...]
  • [...] so sweet and clean that they required no extra dressing for the salad. Some people also ate onigiri, rice balls, made from last year’s rice harvest. Following the planting were some celebratory [...]
  • Michelle Aug 6, 2013 at 8:21pm
    Bacon? Girl, I got one. I like to scramble up some egg, make it omelet style, cut it up, then place bacon, egg and cheese in my onigiri. So good :) I hope you like it if you try it. Let me know!!!
  • […] is used for making maki zushi, cut into pieces to eat with onigiri, or crumbled over cold soba noodles, seafood domburi, and other […]
  • […] If you’ve never heard it, check here!! […]
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