Cooked Japanese rice is tossed with tare, shaped in molds and pan grilled while getting brushed with more tare. Yaki onigiri is a portable snack, a quick breakfast or a side dish.
- Onigiri mold
- 2 cups cooked Japanese rice (see notes after the recipe)
- cooking oil
- butter (optional; see notes after the recipe)
- aonori to garnish (optional)
Make the tare
- In a small sauce pan, gently boil the soy sauce, sake and mirin until reduced by half.
- Cool the tare.
Make the onigiri
- Measure two tablespoons of tare and stir into the cooked Japanese rice.
- Brush the inside of the onigiri mold with a little water (this prevents the rice from sticking to the mold).
- Fill the onigiri mold with the seasoned rice then position the cover and press to make the rice compact.
- Unmold the onigiri.
- Repeat until all the seasoned rice have been shaped.
Pan grill the onigiri
- With the stove set to medium heat, brush the bottom of a frying pan with cooking oil.
- Lay your onigiri, triangular side down (or the side with the largest flat surface, if your onigiri is not triangular), in the hot oil and cook until the underside forms a light crust. Turn the onigiri over to allow the opposite side to form a crust.
- Brush the top of the onigiri (the one where a crust has already formed) with tare.
- Flip the onigiri and brush the opposite side with tare.
- Turn the onigiri one last time and place a sliver of butter on top.
- Repeat with the rest of the onigiri.
Japanese rice is a medium-grain rice that’s just sticky enough to allow the grains to form into a clump when pressed together. It is not the same as glutinous rice. How many pieces of yaki onigiri you can make with two cups of cooked Japanese rice depends on the size of your mold. Yes, onigiri molds come in different sizes and design. Ours is small, about one-fourth cup capacity. Adding butter to yaki onigiri, a tip from Marc Matsumoto, adds a lovely layer of richess to the rice.