Onigiri is equivalent to sushi’s less well-known but equally delicious cousin. It’s a rice ball dish that has been around for centuries in Japan but has gained popularity worldwide in the last century.
Onigiri, like sandwiches, is delicious, versatile, and the ideal quick lunch when your salaryman’s “lunch hour” is six minutes long. However, many foreigners struggle to decipher the plethora of onigiri flavors offered in Japan, as most aren’t popular in Western cuisine.
Sushi rice is required for this recipe. Other types of rice are less sticky, causing the ball to crumble.
Begin by rolling a handful of rice into a ball. Create an indent, incorporate your fillings, fold the rice over the indent to completely encase them, and gently press it into a ball. Place a nori slice on the bottom of the rice ball, rough side facing the rice.
Tuna mayonnaise, colloquially known as “tuna-mayo,” is kind of like the signature flavor of onigiri. All Japanese kids grow up eating it, and adults will occasionally reach for it unconsciously, craving the creaminess of the tuna fish combined with mayo to create the perfect umami balance.
Salty Red Salmon is another common onigiri flavor popular with both adults and children in Japan. When combined with white rice, the salmon flakes are a flavor bomb, giving a perfectly balanced mouthful with each bite.
This onigiri combines two of Japan’s most popular ingredients to create the ultimate flavor. The soft flakiness of the salmon mixed with the strong punch of wasabi combined with fluffy white rice is almost too good to be true.
Ebi mayo is unquestionably among the most popular onigiri fillings! It’s very similar to the tuna mayo mentioned earlier, but the texture and flavor are quite different. Instead of a creamy and soft texture, the shrimp’s bounciness provides a light crunch as you bite through.
Of course, the best part about all of this is that we now have access to quality spam and egg onigiri. The crunchy texture and super salty flavor of the cooked spam, combined with the creaminess of the egg and the fluffiness of the white rice, all enveloped in a fresh nori sheet, is hands-down delicious.
If you’re planning a trip to Okinawa soon, make a stop at one of the “Pork Tamago Onigiri” restaurants – it’ll be well worth it.
Onigiri is a great option for any situation, whether you’re searching for a cheap thrill or want to stuff your mouth with something edible. If you’re looking for a specific flavor, look for words like tarako or ume within a longer outline on the packaging. The terms of onigiri flavors vary from store to store and can be quite kanji-heavy!
However, not everybody has the opportunity to travel to another country to sample authentic onigiri. So, if you have the time and the ingredients, you can experiment and make your own!