Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Onigiri Salmon Salad - Japanese Rice Sandwich

These portable packages are loaded with any tasty morsel you can wrap in sticky rice. My Origiri filling is a favorite tuna, salmon, chicken or turkey salad. Origiri is a favorite of Japanese school lunches, and found in most markets there. And check out this fun photo-filled blog post with a lot of Onigiri colorful fun shapes and other tasty fillings.

You need to make Sushi Rice, but I have your back -- here is my video recipe:

After you've made Sushi Rice, it's time to make a quick and simple salad to fill the rice ball with. I like the ease and cheap prices of canned protein. For this recipe I made a Onigiri Salmon Salad, but you could use any cooked meat, like chicken or turkey (canned, fresh cooked, or store bought roasted bird.)

The Salmon Salad for my recipe is just mayo and a 5 ounce can (or pouch) of salmon. Just drain it and lightly mix with mayo. You roll a fist sized ball of sushi rice, press in a space to add the salad, and finally top it with more rice and seal it up.

That's the stripped-down version. Wrap it with a small square of dried seaweed to give it extra flavor, thus making it easier to handle. You can sprinkle on some sesame seeds, too.

I don't know if you've notice these packages of seaweed snacks lately, I get mine at the 99c only Store, and in different flavors too! They are similar to communion wafers, and they dissolve on your tongue like one. (Also like those paper sheets of breath mints - except tasting of the sea and salt.) The thin rectangles of dried seaweed are the perfect size for wrapping the finished Onigiri. Although crisp and brittle, the seaweed moistens and bends to adhere perfectly to the rice ball.

Normally you dampen your hands and form the rice ball. It's a bit messy -- so a cleaner way is tear off a sheet of plastic, wrap the rice and form a ball.

My Onigiri Salmon Salad makes great party appetizers -- just set out a tray and see how quick they go. So now that you've mastered making Sushi Rice (or at least have a handle on it) try out my latest Japanese fast food recipe.

Ingredients (about 6 rice balls)
  • 1 cup brown or white rice - use my Sushi Rice recipe. Click here for the recipe text with photos. For this recipe I used brown rice. (But white rice gets stickier, so it holds together better - maybe better to use white rice if you are doing this for the first time?)
  • Cooked salmon - I used a 5 ounce can drained (stored in water, not oil.) You can use fresh salmon (just saute it until done.) You can also use cheap canned tuna, or any favorite cooked fish. Okay to substitute with cooked chicken or turkey (canned or homemade.)
  • 1 tablespoon mayo - okay to use more, or less,  to taste.
  • Dried seaweed - optional. I used pre-cut (about 2 by 4 inch) dried seaweed snacks. Okay to use any size really, just cut them to size with scissors.

Cook and prepare Sushi Rice. Allow to cool and reach room temperature.

Drain one can of salmon. Place in a bowl and flake salmon into smaller pieces. Remove bones, if any. Add 1 tablespoon of mayo. Mix well.

For assembly, place a sheet of plastic wrap on a dry surface. Pile on about half a cup of cooked rice in the middle of plastic sheet.

Press into the middle of rice mound to make space for the salmon/mayo. Add about a tablespoon of salmon mixture.

Pick up the four corners of plastic to start forming a ball. Add just enough rice on top of salmon mixture to cover it. Now you can close up the rice ball with plastic wrap. Lightly roll and squeeze the ball. You can keep it round, flatten one side, or form a traditional triangle shape.

You can serve or eat the rice ball right out of the plastic wrap; or use a piece of dried seaweed and partially wrap the Onigiri. The piece of seaweed gives you a dry surface to hold, for easier eating.

Plastic wrapped Onigiri can be frozen or just stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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