Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Onigiri (Brown rice balls)

 These rice balls are a breeze to make and are great for a light lunch on their own, or as an addition to a lunch box.  They're also the perfect food to sneak into your day-pack for an energy boost when you're trekking, cross-country skiing, or even office working.  There are lots of possible variations, but my present favourite is brown rice with umboshi plum paste, edamame, and a small piece of avocado tucked into the centre.  If you know you'll be making them, soak your rice for an hour in advance - up to overnight.

Umboshi plum paste is a new flavour in my world, and I'm in love.  It's powerfully salty and sour (yes please) and a little bit goes a very long way.  According to this article, "Their powerful acidity has a paradoxical alkalinizing effect on the body, neutralizing fatigue, stimulating the digestion, and promoting the elimination of toxins."  If that's true, bonus!  If not, oh well, it's still super tasty.  If you're not into it or don't have it on hand, try substituting miso to add depth of flavour, sea salt, or smoked sea salt.  (I buy smoked sea salt at Spice Station - a place I can't recommend highly enough if you're living in Montreal or LA.)  Let's do this!





INGREDIENTS - makes about 6

1 cup brown rice (short grain)
2 cups water
1/4 cup (more or less) edamame
1/2 avocado
2-3 tsp umboshi plum paste
1-2 sheets nori seaweed

OPTIONAL:
Sesame seeds - to sprinkle or stir in
  • Cook rice in rice cooker or on the stove.  While rice cooks, prepare other ingredients and line a small finger bowl with plastic wrap.
  • As soon as the rice is finished, stir in umboshi paste and edamame (you want to work while the rice is hot - this won't work with cold rice).  
  • Spoon about 1/3 cup of the mixed rice into the plastic lined bowl.  If using avocado (or another stuffing), make a small dent in the centre of the rice and put your filling in the dent.  Pull the edges of the plastic wrap together, and shape into a triangle.    Alternatively, if you don't want to use plastic wrap, use your super clean hands, wet with cold cold water to shape your balls.
  • Wrap the rice balls/triangles with strips of nori and enjoy!

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