Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hallie's Onigiri

I created this Onigiri recipe about two years ago, when I would surprise my boyfriend with home made lunches.  I love sushi, and I love the idea of a Bento Box - something that gets you excited to see what was made from scratch just for you, as opposed to getting excited about which take out place you're planning on ordering from. So much love and thought goes into it!

While this recipe is not traditional in any way, it is amazing and delicious - especially to my American palette.  For all the creative chefs out there, this recipe is very open for substitutions and ultimately the filling can be anything you want it to be.  The traditional dish has fillings like squid, tuna with mayonnaise, pickled fruits and vegetables, or green onions- but varies in the different regions you order it.  Hallie's Onigiri is made with allrecipe's Firecracker Grilled Alaska Salmon, cream cheese, and jalepenos.


For the Firecracker Salmon: 
1 4-6 ounce fillet of salmon
1/2 cup peanut oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Rice:
1 cup of rice
1 1/4 cup of water
2 sheets of Nori
1/4 cup room temperature cream cheese
1 Jalapeno

My method of baking varies from the allrecipe's grilling method.  Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.  Mince the garlic, and add of the ingredients (besides the salmon) into a bowl and whisk.

Place your fillet of salmon in a glass baking dish that is covered with tin foil.
Brush on the marinade and bake for about 12 minutes.  Save the sauce, and brush on additional marinade after the salmon has cooked.

Add the rice and water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
Once the water has begun to boil, cover and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes.  

Remove the Nori from its packaging, and note the perforated lines.

Cutting along the line, create as many strips as you will need for your Onigiri Pieces, I made 6. 
Put these strips off to the side.  These will act as a way of handling these super sticky rice balls without getting your hands dirty when you are trying to eat them!.  If you want to get creative and add faces or nori designs to your onigiri, now is a good time to cut these shapes out of the nori.
Move your rice into a convenient bowl to put all the ingredients together.  Have a ramekin of water on your works pace in case you need to dunk your fingers - this allows you to handle the rice without it sticking to your fingers.
Remove the salmon from the Oven, and brush on more marinade.

Divide the fillet into bite sized pieces to act as the filling for your onigiri.  
Put the salmon pieces on a plate in your work space.
Add a dollop of room temperature cream cheese to the top of each portion.
Dice Jalapenos finely, and add to the top of the cream cheese. 

Finally - Begin the Onigiri!  Place a square of cellophane down on you table, and spread a thin layer of rice down first.
Add the filling to the center.  To make this easier I put the first layer down like a bird nest, compressed in the center with more rice around the edges.
Add more rice on top of the filling.
Pull the edges of the cellophane up and start to compress the rice together.
Twist the top to remove and air from inside the cellophane, and mold into a triangular shape by spinning the onigiri on your table.
Once the rice ball has formed, open the cellophane.  You will notice one side is flat from pressing it against the table, and the top is rounded.
Add the strip of Nori while it is still in cellophane.  For best results, start the nori strip low on the rounded side of the rice ball.  The strip will extent farther on the flat side, which creates the best hand hold.

And here we have it! Hallie's Onigiri!  This recipe is great to pack in lunches, or to eat for a fun dinner!
Add Faces and Designs! Enjoy!

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