Cooking Japanese Food At Home

Posted by Annette Bellisari on



I love teaching cooking classes. It is one of my favorite things to do. A cooking class is like having a big group of family in my kitchen discussing different cuisines, recipes and culinary approaches. I think my two favorite cuisines to teach are Japanese and Italian. Because of my heritage, the Italian cuisine comes quite easy to me, so the challenge of Japanese is always intriguing.

I recently taught a Japanese cooking class where we learned about onigiri and sukiyaki (we’ll post a recipe for that on Thursday.) As a mom of picky eaters I am always looking for ways to get some protein into their busy bodies and the onigiri is a fun way to do so! I have included a recipe and also some fun photos for you to try with your family or friends. There are a variety of unique seaweed flavors and textures that you can choose from at your local Japanese market, so make this a fun event for everyone to participate in. Remember, you can fill the onigri with anything you would like. I have listed some traditional Japanese items as suggestions, but be creative!

Onigiri Rice Balls

Rice ball ingredients:
½ cup cooked Japanese rice
¼ sheet nori seaweed
Pinch of salt
Shiso perilla leaf (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

Possible fillings:
Cooked chicken
Cooked salmon
Tuna mayo
Pickled plums
Tsukemono Japanese pickles

Begin by cooking the Japanese rice according to your favorite method. With a small amount of salt sprinkled on your hands, mold the rice into small balls or triangles approximately 3-4 inches wide.

Create a small well in the center of the rice and put in your choice of ingredients. Then mold the rice around the well to cover your filling completely. Using a sheet of nori seaweed, wrap up your ball of rice.

Sprinkle some sesame seeds or cut up shiso leaves to put on the rice for a little extra flavor (optional). Your onigiri is now ready and will be a perfect addition to your bento lunch box or as a snack.

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