[Recipe 2] HAPPY ONIGIRI (RICE BALLS) with HOME-MADE FURIKAKE
I was inspired to share my sushi recipe after reading Michelle’s fab post. Check out her amazing sushi-rolling gadget! I need one of those. Michelle has an excellent tradition, Friday Night Kids Cooking, where her two children cook the entire family dinner, including dessert, every Friday night. My two are definitely in training for that, although I like the idea of Sunday Morning Kids Cooking (ie. breakfast in bed for mum and dad) too.
My Mixed rice sushi hand rolls contain a mixture of brown rice and traditional white sushi rice. I love adding brown rice to sushi as it packs a good nutritional wallop. I find a ratio of 1:2 works best – with too much brown rice they tend to fall apart.
By reserving some of the cooked sushi rice, you can whip up a batch of kawaii (cute) Happy onigiri (rice balls) with home-made furikake for the kid’s lunchboxes. They’re also fab for children’s parties. My friend Janet is the onigiri queen, and it was she who introduced me to furikake, a pre-made mixture available from Japanese and Korean food stores. There are many varieties, but our favourite is a combo of shredded nori, sesame seeds and salt. The only bummer with the store-bought furikake is that it usually has MSG in it. It’s easy to make your own though, and I’ve included my recipe below. The smiley faces are made with a nori punch (pictured below), available from Amazon, Fuji Mart and the fabulous Daiso. My boys love stamping out the little faces.
I haven’t included my sushi-rolling technique, as the instructions are always on the sushi rice or nori packet. There are gazillions of how-to videos on Youtube too. It’s super easy once you get the hang of it – my 8-year old is a pro.
Sayonara until next time.
Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals; ie. sushi rolls plus rice balls):
1 cup medium grain brown rice
2 cups Japanese white sushi rice, rinsed and drained 3 times
5½ cups water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
⅓ cup (80ml) Japanese rice wine vinegar
6 toasted nori sheets
Soy sauce, to serve
Pickled ginger, to serve
Wasabi, to serve
Choose your fillings (all pictured above). Each will fill 4 hand rolls:
1. Sliced avocado + 185g (6 oz) can tuna in oil, drained, mixed with 2 tablespoons Kewpie mayo
2. 1 cooked chicken schnitzel cut into thin strips + lettuce + Kewpie mayo + sweet chilli sauce
3. ¼ roast Chinese duck, boned and sliced + hoisin sauce + lettuce + thin strips spring onion
4. Sliced tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette, made by whisking 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon each of mirin, soy sauce and sugar) + steamed carrot strips
Place brown rice and 2¼ cups water into a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
Bring to the boil. Stir, turn the heat right down, place a piece of foil over the top of the pot and replace the lid. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove lid and foil, and continue simmering for a further 5 minutes, until water is absorbed. Stir continuously.
Add rinsed sushi rice and 3¼ cups water to the brown rice. Stir, place foil and lid back on, and continue to simmer for a further 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place a clean dry tea towel over the top of the pot and replace the lid. Allow the pot to stand for about 10 minutes – the tea towel will absorb the excess moisture.
Meanwhile, make the rice seasoning liquid by combining sugar, salt and rice vinegar together.
Place the cooked rice into a large non-metallic container and pour in seasoning liquid. Use a large wooden spoon or rice paddle to carefully ‘slice’ through the rice and distribute the seasoning liquid.
Spread the cooked rice out on a large tray or 2 large plates, and quickly cool it by fanning a plate above it. The rice should become lovely and glossy. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
♦ Reserve 2½–3 cups cooked, seasoned rice for the Happy onigiri (rice balls).
Prepare sushi rolls according to instructions on sushi rice or nori packet.
Makes 12 x 9cm (3½-inch) hand rolls + extra rice for onigiri.
- Draining and rinsing your sushi rice three times seems excessive, but it will prevent your rice from becoming gluggy.
- Kewpie (QP) mayo is a brand of Japanese mayonnaise, made with egg yolks instead of whole eggs. It’s a must for authentic sushi, and is readily available in large supermarkets and Asian food stores.
- Rice wine vinegar and mirin (sweet, low-alcohol Japanese wine made from glutinous rice) are available from large supermarkets and Asian food stores.
- Sushi hand rolls are best eaten within a few hours. They can be refrigerated until required. I do find the tuna/avocado-filled ones refrigerate beautifully overnight though, for the kid’s lunchboxes.
[Recipe 2] Happy onigiri (rice balls) with home-made furikake
Ingredients (makes about 16–20 rice balls):
♦ 2½–3 cups reserved cooked sushi rice
1 sheet toasted nori for eyes and mouths
1 sheet toasted nori, extra
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
♦ Place reserved, cooked sushi rice into a large bowl.
Make the furikake by cutting the nori sheet into tiny pieces with kitchen scissors. Add salt and sesame seeds and mix well.
Stir furikake through reserved cooked sushi rice. Roll rice into walnut-sized balls.
Using a nori punch cutter (pictured), stamp out eyes and mouths, and place them onto the rice balls. Refrigerate onigiri (rice balls) until required.
- You can toast your own sesame seeds, or buy them pre-roasted from Asian food stores.
- Onigiri rice balls can be refrigerated for up to one day.