Sunday, July 13, 2008

Salt and Pepper Tuna Onigiri

These past few weeks have been quite hectic for me, with increased class loads. That, coupled with the onset of the hot weather here, has meant dinners are getting lighter around my place, and there aren't so many leftovers to remake for lunch the next day.

When my day gets busy, and I need something quick and reasonably healthy to eat, I often resort to that great Japanese convenience store stand-by - the tuna mayonnaise onigiri. But I get bored if I have to eat the same thing over and over, so I took a look around my kitchen to see how I could jazz them up.

I don't usually keep nori on hand, since Peter hates it so much, but it really provides a satisfying crunch and saltiness that I knew would be missing without it. My solution: gomashio - salted sesame seeds. I was following Maki's directions for making gomashio over on Just Bento when I realized that I didn't have quite enough black sesame seeds on hand to make as much as I liked, so I used a mix of white and black seeds. Then, staring at the mix in the pan, I thought - "Hey - this looks like salt and pepper!" So in the pan went some freshly ground black pepper.

The next morning, I mixed up some tuna salad, just as I would normally (with Kewpie mayonnaise, of course). Instead of putting it between a couple of slices of white bread, as I would have in Canada, however, I made onigiri. Rice balls can easily be made by hand, but since I was taking my first crack at putting something inside them, I wanted to use something for a mold.

First up, I took my two cups of warm rice, and added a generous sprinkling of gomashio - maybe a tablespoon or so. I mixed it so the seeds were nicely distributed, and then lined a small ramekin with plastic wrap. I dolloped in some rice, pressed it around, and then made an indentation in the centre. There, I added about 2 tsp. of tuna salad, and then topped the lot with more rice, pressing around the edges to get a good seal around the filling. I then lifted the lot out using the plastic wrap, and wrapped it up as if it were a regular sandwich. I made three filled onigiri for myself, and one plain for Peter out of the two cups of rice, and still had some tuna salad left over. This along with some cherry tomatoes and a miso soup bomb, made for a frugal lunch that I ate with one hand (the other hand, of course, busily cutting up flash cards, as ever.)


Canadian Bento said...

I am intrigued. I will definitely be taking a look at some of the home made furikakes, as I now have furikake dispensers but no resources for furikake. The sweet bacon one seems rather amazing.

nakji said...

Oh yeah, well I thought you could put pepper, parmesan cheese, or Mrs. Dash, etc. in those....

And everything is better with bacon, isn't it?

Canadian Bento said...

Those are all very sensible ideas. But shakin' bacon? Always a good idea!

C said...

Wow! I wandered onto your blog via a Google search on "onigiri". That was my absolute favourite portable lunch when I was teaching in Japan! Now, I'm back in Canada and I am craving onigiri!!!

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