Breakfast

Onigiri; Japanese rice balls with tuna, chive and ginger

Onigiri, also known as a rice ball, is made of rice often wrapped in a nori seaweed sheet. Because of its portability, onigiri is a popular choice for lunch or a snack, just like a sandwich.

Although you can buy them in shops throughout Japan, onigiri is associated with the nostalgic conception of handmade with love, therefore it’s still regarded as the soul food of Japan.

Use sushi rice or Japanese rice, as they are sticky and stay moist even when cooled down, so the onigiri keeps its shape and remains tasty.

Ingredients for 6 Onigiri (approx. 100g each)

270g Sushi rice

½ tsp salt

300ml water

95g tin of tuna in oil (after squeeze out excess oil from the tuna)

30g chives (finely chopped)

10g ginger (grated)

6 sheets of nori seaweed (cut large sheet to the size that can just wrap the rice ball)

Method

1. Wash the rice in a bowl. You can use the inner bowl of a rice cooker.

*Just add water in a bowl and give a few stirs with your hand.

2. Pour out the milky water.

*Gently tilt the bowl and slowly pour the water out. You can use a sieve to drain the water instead.

3. Repeat the washing and draining 5 times, then transfer to a sieve to drain.

4. Add the washed rice, water and salt in the inner bowl of a rice cooker. Give it a stir and start cooking.

5. After the cooking process has finished, allow cooked rice to steam for 10-15minutes. Add the tuna, ginger and chive, and then mix well. Let the rice cool slightly.

6. Divide the rice, each portion weighing 100g. Form them into a ball shape using both your palms, pressing gently and lightly.

*For a triangular shape, use your palms as a mould by bending your finger from your knuckles on your right hand, and straighten your left hand. Rotate the rice a few times while pressing.

7. Wrap the rice ball with a sheet of nori seaweed.

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Tamagoyaki; Japanese style rolled omelette

Tamagoyaki (rolled omelette) is a traditional Japanese dish and a popular choice for bento (a boxed lunch), as well as a side dish for everyday family meals.

There is a special rectangular pan just to make tamagoyaki, however, I’ll be showing you how to make them without using it. I’ll be using simple ingredients and an easy method for this recipe, so why not try making it?

Ingredients for 1 tamagoyaki (for 2-3 people)

3 Eggs

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 ½ tbs vegetable oil

Method

  1. Place a sheet of foil on a bamboo sushi mat.dsc_4658
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl, then add the sugar and soy sauce. Beat well with a whisk.dsc_4657
  3. Heat the oil in a frying-pan over a high heat, and pour the eggs swiftly. dsc_4659
  4. Using a wooden fork or spatula, lightly mix the eggs and gather to make a rectangular shape. Make sure the eggs are coagulated but still soft.dsc_4661
  5. Place the omelette on the foiled mat. dsc_4662
  6. Roll the omelette tightly. Leave it as it is until cooled down, then put it in the fridge to set. Once set, cut it into large bite sized pieces.dsc_4663

Key

A bamboo sushi mat (makisu or makisudare) is a Japanese cooking tool and commonly used to make sushi rolls. It’s made of woven bamboo with cotton string. You can find one at a world food section in a large supermarket or an oriental grocery.

Smoked Salmon with Spring Onion, Ginger and Sesame

Have you tried smoked salmon with rice? They actually go really well together.
This dish can be made within 3 minutes, as you only need to mix the ingredients. No frying or boiling required.
It’s also great amuse-bouche for Japanese rice wine: Sake.

Ingredients for 2 small portions
50g Smoked Salmon (use smoked salmon bits or chop into bite size pieces)
½ Spring Onion or Salad Onion (finely chopped)
1 tbs Sesame Seeds
1 tbs Sesame Oil
5g Ginger (grated)

Method
Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix.

Key
1. The ginger gives a kick to this dish.
2. If you like it hot, try adding chilli oil to taste.
3. The saltiness of the smoked salmon should be enough to season this dish.