What is it about spring and summer that make utensil free foods so appealing? Today I’m making onigirazu, otherwise known as Japanese rice ball sandwiches. Stuffed with kale and Shiitake mushrooms, these are perfect for enjoying as a healthy and portable tea snack.
Making onigirazu sounds complicated, but it’s really not. The easiest way to make these (and if you make them often) is by acquiring a clever onigriazu maker. If you don’t want to bother with gadgets, just use a measuring cup to make the amount of rice equal on both sides of the filling.
For better mushroom flavor and texture, both fresh and dried Shiitakes are used here. A generous helping of Lacinato kale and aromatic garlic and shallots make the mushrooms taste that much more hearty.
Did you notice how rich the color of this brown rice is? The rice looks like it’s been made with beef broth, but the coppery color is actually the result of being cooked in Hojicha tea. Cooking rice with tea adds a beautiful layer of fragrance and also a deep vegetable taste.
These Kale & Shiitake Onigirazu are super satisfying as a wholesome meatless meal. Plan on making many, as they keep for well for several days (in the fridge). A zap microwave and this delicious tea snack is ready to enjoy!
Makes 6 onigirazu.
|- 3 Tbsp cooking oil||- 6 large Shiitake mushrooms, fresh|
|- 2-3 large leaves of Lacinato kale, cut into 1″ pieces|
|- 1 cup Shiitake mushrooms, dried & rehydrated, tough bits removed & squeezed dry|
|- 1 shallot, minced||- 4 cloves garlic, minced|
|- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce||- 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce|
|- 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce||- 1 tsp sugar|
|- black pepper, to taste||- 2 Tbsp rice wine|
|- 1 tsp sesame oil||- 1 cup brown rice, short grain|
|- 2 cups hot water @212 degrees F|
|- 1 rounded Tbsp of Hojicha (I used Yamamotoyama’s Hojicha)|
|- 6 half-sheets of nori (I used Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake)|
|- skillet||- work surface|
|- onigirazu maker or 1/4 cup measure|
|- bowl with water||- plastic wrap|
1. Steep the tea in 2 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain out the leaves. Wash the brown rice and cook it with the 2 cups of steeped Hojicha tea.
2. Place a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the shallots and garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add all the mushrooms, then stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice wine and let it cook out.
3. Add the kale and stir fry for a minute. Add the sauces, sugar and pepper, then mix everything together. When the mushrooms are slightly browned and the kale is wilted, turn off the heat. Drizzle the mixture with sesame oil and set it aside to cool slightly.
4. Place a half sheet of nori on a work surface. With wetted hands and a wetted measuring cup, measure out 1/4 cup of rice and place this on the top half of the nori sheet. Slightly pat down into a patty, then place 2 Tbsp of the mushroom filling atop the rice. Finally, place another 1/4 cup of rice atop the filling and slightly pat down into a patty. Refer to the images from my BLT Onigirazu post for instructions on how to wrap. Please note that these Kale & Shiitake Onigirazu are slightly smaller than the BLT ones, made with half sheets of nori instead of full sheets.
5. Wrap the rice ball in the nori so that is it fully enveloped. Place in a piece of plastic wrap and cut with a sharp knife to serve.