Onigiri with Jyuntoro – Japanese rice balls wrapped with seasoned dried kelp. Perfect in the lunch box and great as a tasty snack.
Onigiri is Japanese rice ball made from plain rice. It can be lightly salted on the outside or filled with pickles and other seasoned ingredients. A very popular filling is salted salmon. It may or may not be wrapped with seaweed. Onigiri makes rice portable and easy to eat and is indispensable in the bento box.
Short or medium grain rice that is slightly sticky is the essential ingredient in making onigiri and sushi. Long grain rice is not used as it is fluffier and will not hold together. Short grain rice can be purchased both at the regular or Asian grocery stores.
Traditionally, onigiri is made by hand. Sometimes a little salt is sprinkled on the hands so that the rice is flavored while being shaped. Today, plastic molds of all shapes and sizes are very popular and easily available. Another simple way is to use plastic wrap to form the rice balls.
To make onigiri using plastic molds, first wet the mold. Fill mold to the top with cooked rice sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds (if desired). Use lid to compact rice. Remove lid, turn mold over and press down the center to unmold the rice ball.
Jyuntoro is seasoned dried kelp. It is mainly seasoned with vinegar and sugar and pretty much melts in the mouth when eaten. It is definitely an acquired taste and not at all like nori. It has a soft, fine, mesh-like texture and is normally used as a wrap for rice and vegetables or added to soups.
Cut a strip of about 1″ to 1½” of the seasoned kelp. Wrap it around the onigiri. You can also use nori, if you prefer.
- You also need onigiri molds (any shape).
- Wash and drain rice 4 to 5 times in a medium sized pot. Cover rice with water and allow it to soak for 20 minutes. Drain.
- Place rice in a medium sized pot with 1¼ cups (300ml) water water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to the lowest setting and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat, remove pot, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds to the pot. Fluff rice with fork.
- Wet the onigiri molds and hands with salted water. Fill the mold up to the top with cooked rice. Use lid to compact rice. Remove lid, turn mold over and press down the center to unmold rice.
- Wrap edges of onigiri with jyuntoro.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎