Never in a hundred years would I have thought we’d all be staying at home, getting bored and trying to figure out how to keep busy. But when you think about it, if you look at it as a chance to learn something new, it could be a super productive period in our lives, and we can look back on these days and say, “That’s when I learned how to make a rice ball!”
April 19th is National Rice Ball Day—did you know there was such a thing? To celebrate, I decided to try making a special rice ball that I had never eaten before. What you see here is an Okinawan rice ball called Pork Musubi; and it was gooood! I got the idea from TabiEats, these YouTubers from Hawaii. The secret to this rice ball is the miso paste dressing, which believe it or not, outshines the Spam®!! (and I guess pork musubi is a good name; it’s very different from Spam® musubi)
All you need to make this exotic Okinawan onigiri is some miso paste, some fried Spam®, a scrambled egg, a sheet of nori (seaweed) and of course, hot steamed rice. Try to fry the egg into a flat square shape if you can. It helps if you can use a rectangle fry pan, like this one that I borrowed from my wife. Ha!
Then simply fold it over and you’re done!
So easy, even I did it and it was so ONO! (Hawaiian for yummy) I was absolutely floored by how the sweet miso was the perfect complement to the Spam®, and the combination gave flavor to the egg and rice at the same time. It was like a Spam® and eggs breakfast wrapped in a rice ball!
You can find all kinds of onigiri fillings online, but these happen to be easy to make and I like them all. Drizzle a bit of shoyu (soy sauce) onto the katsuobushi to season it. Add mayo (Japanese mayo preferred) and a dash of shoyu to the tuna mix. Umeboshi can be found at most Asian supermarkets. Lightly season the rice by getting some salt (this is optional) on your hands that have been moistened with water. The key to molding your onigiri is to keep your hands slightly wet so the rice doesn’t stick.
Wrap the nori and it’s done. There are different nori wrapping methods you can follow; personally I don’t think it needs to be a work of art. Onigiri is supposed to be a simple food. I swear, you really can’t go wrong because the taste reward is so much greater than the easy work you have to put in. Here’s my trio!
Happy National Rice Ball Day everyone!
All images by Bert Tanimoto