Onigirazu – A Japanese Rice Sandwich

Onigirazu is very simply a rice sandwich, but don’t underestimate this easy to make and fun to eat dish! It is also very tasty! While my favorite is Black Forest bacon with sriracha mayo…you can make this with any number of your own favorite fillings! I show you the basic technique and that’s all you need to get started!  Enjoy!

List of Ingredients 

  • White rice, Japanese or sushi rice (typically sold as short-grain but I prefer the Nishiki medium grain rice for cost and flavor
    Nishiki Medium Grain Rice
    Nishiki Medium Grain Rice

  • Brown rice, short grain
    Brown Rice, Short Grain
    Brown Rice, Short Grain
  • Sushi nori, a roasted Japanese seaweed
    Sushi Nori
    Use any sushi nori available
  • Bacon, I like the Wellshire Black Forest Thick Sliced Bacon
  • Spring salad mix or green or red leaf lettuce
  • Sriracha (Please use the sriracha made by Huy Fong Foods. This brand can be found in many local markets.)
    Huy Fong Foods brand Sriracha
    Huy Fong Foods brand Sriracha
  • Mayonnaise, I like using Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise found in Asian markets
    Kewpie Mayonnaise
    Kewpie Mayonnaise

List of Tools

  • Fry pan or baking sheet and oven mitts to cook the bacon
  • Paper towel lined plate and cooking chopsticks or tongs
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • Small bowl and spoon to make the sriracha mayo
  • Rice cooker and rice cooker measuring cup
  • Rice paddle and resting plate
  • Rice rinser or small mixing bowl. Avoid using the rice cooker pot to rinse the rice doing so will ruin the surface of the pot much faster.
  • Ziploc, gallon size to store any unused sushi nori. Place the unused portion of sushi nori in the Ziploc bag and be sure to press out all the air. Then place the bag in a cool, dry place. For longer storage, place in the freezer however the nori will not be as crisp.
  • Serving bowl

Directions

Prepare the rice

Using the measuring cup for the rice cooker, measure 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup white rice. Rinse rice w/ cool water until the water runs clear. Place the rice in the cooking pot and fill with water. (Be sure to move the pot back and forth to even out the rice for accurate measuring.) The water level should read between the 2 cup brown rice line and 2 cup white rice line. Let sit for 30 minutes before starting the rice cooker to soften the brown rice. Cook the rice using the white/normal rice setting. When the rice is done, let it sit an extra 10-15 minutes to allow for more steam to be released. And then be sure to fluff using a rice paddle.

Prepare the bacon

Cook the bacon using a large fry pan for the stove top on medium heat or a large baking sheet for the oven at 385 to 400 degrees F. If using a baking sheet be sure to line the baking sheet with one layer of bacon without overlapping. (I like to use 385 degrees F as that cooks the bacon nicely without burning.) In both cases, be sure to flip the bacon to cook both sides evenly and then cook to preferred doneness. Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the grease.

Prepare the Sriracha Mayo

In a small bowl, mix together about 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise with sriracha to taste. And set aside. This should be enough for one onigirazu.

Assemble the Onigirazu

Place a cutting board on the counter, lay a piece of plastic wrap larger than a sheet of sushi nori on the cutting board. 

Lay down plastic
Lay down plastic

 Place a full sheet of nori on the plastic wrap on the diagonal like a diamond. (Be sure to place the shiny, smooth side down.) 

Place Nori
Place Nori

Place rice in the center as a square approx. 3 ½” x 3 ½” and ⅜-½” deep. 

Place rice
Place rice

Now break the bacon in half and place on top of the rice. 

Place bacon
Place bacon

Then stack the lettuce on the bacon and now drizzle the Sriracha mayo on the lettuce.

Place lettuce and mayo.
Place lettuce and mayo.

Scoop rice to cover the top similar to the layer on the bottom which can get a bit challenging. It doesn’t have to be perfect. 

Place top rice
Place top rice

Grab the plastic wrap and nori on the top and the bottom of the diamond and fold towards the center and press gently. Once the top and bottom nori corners are securely folded return the plastic wrap to the cutting board.  

Fold Top-Bottom
Fold Top-Bottom

Now lift the left and right corners of the plastic wrap and nori folding towards the center. Carefully tucking in the ingredients while folding. Nicely secure the plastic wrap from the sides and then fold the plastic wrap from the top and bottom towards the center forming a package. 

Fold Sides
Fold Sides

Cut in half and serve!

Cut
Cut

Storage

Best eaten the same day so make only what you need!

Enjoy!


Don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Asian Inspired Snack Mix (sweet)

This Asian Inspired Snack Mix is incredibly easy and out of this world amazing! Dangerously addictive…it is best shared with friends! Trust me, they will love you for it! Enjoy!

List of Ingredients

  • 1 Box Crispix (12 ounces)
  • 3 Tbsp Salted butter
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Light corn syrup (I use brown rice syrup.)
  • 2 Tbsp Neutral flavored oil (I use refined expeller pressed coconut oil which has no flavor unlike virgin coconut oil.)
  • 1 ½ Tsp (or ½ Tbsp) Soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • ~2 Tbsp Toasted sesame seed (Can be purchased toasted/roasted)
  • ~⅓ Cup *Ajitsuke nori strips (or to taste)
  • ~½ Cup Spanish peanuts (optional)

*Japanese seasoned roasted seaweed is sometimes labeled as teriyaki seaweed. You can also use “plain/unseasoned” roasted seaweed but seasoned lends itself to a better tasting snack mix.

Ajitsuke Nori
Ajitsuke Nori- A Japanese seasoned roasted seaweed sometimes labeled as teriyaki seaweed. Sometimes sold in individual packets or in plastic tubs.

 

Ajitsuke Nori Label
The above package had no English translation so if necessary read the label. Look for seaweed that is seasoned with soy sauce and a sweetener.

 

Unseasoned Precut Seaweed
Plain/unseasoned seaweed pre-cut into strips.

 

List of Tools  

  • Small pot
  • Heat resistant spatula or spoon
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Scissors to cut the ajitsuke nori into strips (Please be sure these are clean.)
  • Measuring spoons and measuring glass is helpful
  • Measuring cups
  • Spoon and spatula
  • Two spatulas and resting plate to toss the cereal with the glaze
  • Extra large mixing bowl (I use a salad bowl.)
  • Parchment paper to line the baking sheet
  • Oven mitts
  • Large baking sheet (I use a 13” x 17” jelly roll pan.)
  • Airtight container or ziploc bag for storing the snack mix
  • Serving bowls

Directions

Prepare the ajitsuke nori and Crispix

The plain/unseasoned roasted seaweed can usually be found pre-cut in the stores. Ajitsuke nori is typically sold in individual packets or in a screw top container in small sheets. Use clean scissors to cut the ajitsuke nori into strips. Aim for strips ⅛” wide by ½”-1” long. Cut enough to loosely fill a ⅓ cup measuring cup. (More or less can be used according to taste.) Sprinkle the strips of nori into the bottom of an extra large mixing bowl and then add the bag of Crispix on top.

Add ingredients to a small pot

Add the butter, sugar, light corn syrup, neutral oil and soy/tamari sauce in a small pot and melt on low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Turn the heat down if it begins to bubble. Continue to stir until everything is blended together nicely. Remove from the heat and add in 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds and stir until fully incorporated.

Toss the glaze mixture with Crispix

Drizzle the ingredients from the pot over the cereal/nori. Use a spatula to remove all the glaze mixture from the pot. Now toss the ingredients to coat evenly. Add more ajitsuke nori at this point if desired or the ~½ cup of Spanish peanuts. And toss again.

Spread on a baking sheet

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. (I use a 13” x 17” jelly roll pan.) Spread out the mixture evenly and bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour on the middle rack. Every 15 minutes turn over/stir the mixture to evenly bake.

Let cool completely

When finished baking, let the snack mix cool completely on the baking sheet to maximize crispiness.

Storage

Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Keeps well for a few days!

Enjoy!
  


Don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Simple Sesame Seed Green Beans

This 5 ingredient dish (4 ingredients if you want to make it vegan!) is a good one to have in the repertoire. Fast, tasty and flexible as both fresh and frozen green beans work well! It’s great to keep a bag of green beans in the freezer for those vegetable emergencies!

Ingredients

  • ½ lbs Green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • ~2 Tbs Soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • ¼ Tsp Katsuo dashi or bonito (fish) soup stock in powder form (optional)
  • ~1 Tbs Toasted sesame seed, freshly ground (Sesame seeds can be purchased toasted/roasted.)

Tools

  • 3 quart pot
  • Bowl and Colander to rinse the green beans
  • Mixing bowl 
  • Measuring spoons and measuring glass is helpful
  • Cooking chopsticks
  • Spatula
  • Measuring cup
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Sesame seed grinder 
  • Or a Ziploc bag and rolling pin can be used in place of a grinder
  • Serving dish

Directions

Prepare the Green Beans

Rinse and trim the ends of the green beans (if using fresh) either by hand or by knife. Shorten the beans into approximately 2 inch pieces by breaking or cutting in half. Prepare a 3 quart pot of salted water and bring to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, add the green beans and cook until desired doneness. (About 2-5 minutes) Monitor the beans by trying one, making sure to run it under cold water before eating! Aim for a bit al dente without being tough or chewy. (Frozen will always have a softer texture.) When you are happy with the doneness, drain the beans in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Let the beans continue to drain while making the dressing.

Prepare the dressing

Mix the soy or tamari sauce together with the sugar and katsuo or bonito dashi (if using). The dashi does add depth to the flavor but can be left off to make the dish vegan. It will still be very tasty! Continue to stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Combine the ingredients

In a small bowl, mix the drained green beans with the dressing. Now add the toasted sesame seeds that are freshly ground and mix again.

***Grinding sesame seeds can be done in a number of ways. There are handheld sesame seed grinders, a suribachi (Japanese grinding bowl) and surikogi (Japanese wood pestle) or placing the sesame seeds in a Ziploc bag and rolling over with a rolling pin will work too! (Be sure to press out all the air from the Ziploc and seal securely before rolling!)

Taste and make any adjustments

Be sure to taste and make any final adjustments. Sometimes just a dash of salt is a good place to start before adding any of the other ingredients.

And if not eating immediately…

Store the green beans and dressing separately in the refrigerator if not eating immediately. When ready to serve, mix the green beans and the dressing with the ground sesame seeds!

Enjoy!


Don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Creamy Japanese Carrot Dressing

This is one of my favorite recipes! It really showcases what home cooking can achieve in salad dressings over a bottled one from the store. You are in for a treat! And keep in mind, this is coming from someone that normally doesn’t like salad! 😉 Enjoy!

List of Ingredients

  • 1-2 Cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ~2 Tsp Ginger, peeled and loosely chopped
  • 2-3 Tsp Sweet onion, peeled and loosely chopped (or yellow or white or red)
  • 1 Carrot (medium), peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ Tsp Dry mustard (Colman’s is good.)
  • 1-2 Tsp Soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 Tsp Sesame oil (Kadoya recommended)
  • ½ Cup Rice vinegar (Mizkan recommended)
  • ~¼ Cup Sugar (additional may be needed)
  • ¼ Cup Neutral oil, avocado oil or walnut oil work well
  • ~1/3 Cup Mayonnaise or use Vegenaise to keep the dressing vegan!
  • Salt, sprinkle to taste (Kosher salt is preferred and if you can use Diamond Crystal even better!)
  • Ground black pepper, sprinkle to taste

List of Tools

  • Blender (A personal blender will work for this recipe too!)
  • SpatulasCutting board and knife
  • Paring knife or spoon for peeling the ginger
  • Vegetable peeler for the carrot
  • Measuring cups (⅓ Cup for the mayonnaise)
  • Measuring spoons and a measuring glass is helpful
  • Spoons for tasting along the way!
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cup for the vinegar and oil
  • Storage container
  • Foil (optional)
  • Serving plates

Directions

Prepare items for the blender

*This dressing is extremely tasty but the raw onion can overpower very quickly. Please be conservative with this ingredient and add more if necessary.
All the items will be placed in the blender container except the mayonnaise. (Hand mix in the mayonnaise at the end.) A little chopping upfront even when blending results in a better dressing consistency.

Peel and slice 1-2 cloves of garlic and add to the blender container. Using fresh ginger, peel the skin off using a paring knife or an edge of a spoon. Loosely chop before adding. Peel and loosely chop the onion and add to the blender container along with the peeled and thinly sliced carrot. Be sure to peel the carrot for the best flavor!

Add remaining ingredients to the container

Now add the dry mustard, soy or tamari sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar and oil. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Cover and blend until thoroughly mixed and items are nicely pureed.

Taste and Adjust

Taste and make any adjustments especially with items needing to be pureed. When happy with the balance of flavors, pour the contents into a small mixing bowl with ⅓ C mayonnaise and whisk together carefully. Taste again and make any final adjustments.

Storing

Store in a glass container to avoid the onion and garlic smell from ruining any plastic surfaces. A piece of foil over the top of the container protects the lid and makes a tighter seal. Place the dressing in the refrigerator for later use. Be sure to stir prior to serving as some separation may have occurred!

Enjoy!


Don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Light and Crispy Wonton Chips

Wonton chips are tasty, quick and easy! Great with edamame hummus!  Or eat them alone! They are just that good!

List of Ingredients

  • 1 Package Wonton wrappers, any brand (Great way to use partial packages!)
  • Oil, neutral in flavor enough to be ½ inch deep inside the pot (My favorite is refined coconut oil which has no flavor. Virgin coconut oil is different and will flavor your food if used for cooking.)

*** Please note: The wrappers become dry and brittle when exposed to air for an extended amount of time. Limit exposure to the air by cutting only one end of the package. Also, save any unused wrappers in the original packaging by tightly covering with plastic wrap. Now, place inside a Ziploc bag and press out any air. Store the bag in the refrigerator or for longer storage in the freezer. Over time the wrappers will still begin to dry and become brittle so use as quickly as possible.

List of Tools

  • Cutting board and knife
  • Skimmer and resting plate
  • 3 quart heavy gauge pot or larger
  • Cooking chopsticks or tongs
  • Baking sheet, paper towels to line the baking sheet and a cooling rack on top
  • Airtight container or ziploc for any storing chips
  • Serving plate

Directions

Separate and cut the wonton wrappers

First, separate the wrappers by peeling the sheets apart. The wrappers cook quickly in the oil so separating the wrappers makes the frying easier and faster.

The wrappers can be cut to any desired size and shape. Cut the wrappers in half vertically to create rectangles. Or cut on the diagonal from one corner to the opposite corner for triangles. Cut a few wrappers at a time.

Make wonton chip garnish by cutting the rectangular pieces into ⅛ inch strips on the shorter side. This makes a great decorative topping on salads or on hummus etc.

Prepare the oil

Place oil in a heavy gauge pot, enough to be about ½ inch deep. The wrappers do not need a large amount of oil to fry. Use a 3 quart pot or larger but keep in mind the wrappers fry quickly so larger means working very quickly.

Turn the stove to medium. The oil is ready when a small strip of wrapper rises immediately to the top and the oil bubbles quickly.

When the oil is ready, place wrappers in the pot without overcrowding. Work quickly and flip the wrappers once the edges begin to brown. Continue to flip until golden in color and then remove from the oil to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and a cooling rack.

If making garnish, have a skimmer and resting plate ready to quickly remove the fried wonton strips from the oil. These cook quickly!

Monitor the heat of the oil and turn down the stove if the wrappers begin to brown too quickly.

Tip: This oil will be quite “clean” and can be reused again. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid. Avoid saving any of the stray flour or wonton pieces that settle at the bottom of the pot.

Storing wonton chips

Chips can be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for a few days.

Serving

Try Mae Ploy as a dipping sauce!

Enjoy!


Don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!