Rice Ball with Four Fillings - Best
Onigiri, the Japanese name for this dish, means hand-moulded rice.
Japanese rice is ideal for making rice balls, which are filled here
with salmon, mackerei, umeboshi and olive. The nori coating makes them
easy to pick up with your fingers.
50g/2oz salmon fillet, skinned
3 umeboshi, 50g/2oz in total weight
45ml/3 tbsp sesame seeds
2.5ml/1/2 tsp mirin
50g/2oz smoked mackerel fillet
2 nori sheets, each cut into 8 strips
6 pitted black olives, wiped and finely
Japanese pickles, to serve
For the rice
To cook the rice, wash it thoroughly with
cold water. Drain and put into a heavy pan. Pour in the water and leave
for 30 minutes. Put the lid on tightly and bring the pan to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. When you hear a crackling
noise remove from the heat and leave to stand, covered, for about 15
Stir carefully with a dampened rice
paddle or wooden spatula to aerate the rice. Leave to cool for 30
minutes while you prepare the fillings. Thoroughly salt the salmon
fillet and leave for at least 30 minutes.
Stone (pit) the umeboshi. With the back
of a fork, mash them slightly. Mix with 15ml/1 tbsp of the sesame seeds
and the mirni to make a rough paste.
Wash the salt from the salmon. Grill
(broil) the salmon and smoked mackerel under a high heat. Using a fork,
remove the skin and divide the fish into loose, chunky flakes. Keep the
salmon and mackerel pieces separate.
Toast the remaining sesame seeds in a dry
frying pan over a low heat until they start to pop.
Check the temperature of the rice. It
should be still quite warm but not hot. To start moulding, you need a
teacup and a bowl of cold water to wet your hands. Put the teacup and
tablespoons for measuring into the water. Put fine salt into a small
dish. Wipe a chopping board with a very wet dishtowel. Wash your hands
thoroughly with unperfumed soap and dry.
Remove the teacup from the bowl and shake
off excess water. Scoop about 30ml/2 tbsp rice into the teacup. With
your fingers, make a well in the centre of the rice rind put in a
quarter of the salmon flakes. Cover the salmon with another 15ml/1 tbsp
rice. Press well.
Wet your hands and sprinkle them with a
pinch of salt. Rub it all over your palms. Turn the rice in the teacup
out into one hand and squeeze the rice shape with both hands to make a
densely packed flat ball.
Wrap the rice ball with a non strip. Put
on to the chopping board. Make three more balls using the remaining
salmon, then make four balls using the smoked mackerel and another four
balls using the umeboshi paste.
Scoop about 45ml/3 tbsp rice into the
teacup. Mix in a quarter of the chopped olives. Press the rice with
your fingers. Wet your hands with water and rub with a pinch of salt
and a quarter of the toasted sesame seeds. Turn the teacup on to one
hand and shape the rice mixture into a ball as above. The sesame seeds
should stick to the rice. This time, do not wrap with nori. Repeat,
making three more balls.
Serve one of each kind of rice ball on
individual plates with a small helping of Japanese pickles. Here we go
for one of the best salmon recipes.