I love tea foods that are portable, convenient and nutritious. That's where onigiri come into the picture, those Japanese shaped rice balls that you can jazz up and make your own.
I came up with this recipe for Sweet Potato & Avocado Onigiri the other day when I had way too many avocados getting ripe at the same time. The ingredient list is simple and meatless but super satisfying.
There’s a special twist here that makes these onigiri extra special, and that ingredient is browned butter. The butter chars the outside of the onigiri, giving the brown rice an almost popcorn like taste.
For vegans, just use coconut oil instead of butter. The oil itself won’t brown, but you’ll be able to get a nice golden finish on the outside of each onigiri.
To go along with those popcorn flavors, try enjoying this with Genmaicha, otherwise known as popcorn tea. These Sweet Potato & Avocado Onigiri make a hearty snack, ideal for eating on-the-go or on a summer picnic.
Makes 6-8 large onigiri.
|- 1/2 avocado, sliced into 1/4″ pieces|
|- 1 small sweet potato, roasted & cooled, then sliced into 1/4″ pieces|
|- 1 cup short grain brown rice|
|- 2 Tbsp salted butter|
|- 1 sheet nori, cut into 1 1/2″ x 4″ strips|
|- chopped chives, to garnish||- togarashi, to garnish|
1. Cook the rice by rinsing it several times, then cooking in 2 cups of water (or according to package instructions). When it has cooked, fluff up the rice in a large bowl and let it come to room temperature.
2. Wet your hands and a onigiri mold in a bowl of water. Add enough rice to the mold to cover the bottom and half way up the sides. Create a bowl-like space to place the fillings. Place 1-2 pieces each of the avocado and sweet potato in the space. Now top with rice to cover the fillings inside.
3. Press the top of the mold into the bottom half to compress the rice ball. Push the rice ball out then wrap a piece of nori around it.
4. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Wait for the butter to gradually turn a brown color, then grill the onigiri for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Garnish with chives and togarashi to taste. Best served immediately, with Genmaicha.