I know everyone’s been talking about this, but I just have to get it out of my system – SNOW. In APRIL. When I went outside to walk my dog, the ice crunched under my feet. And there I was a few days ago, ready to start planting my herb garden! Gee whiz. Luckily for my herbs, though, the temperatures are supposed to rise by next week, and I hope to have them safely in the ground by mid-month.
Ever since I started this blog, I’ve wanted to have my own garden. Unfortunately, living in an apartment, I didn’t have any land to plant in. And my attempts at having a windowsill lined with terra cotta pots full of herbs just failed miserably. But now that I’m moving back with my family, I have as much land as I could possibly hope for to garden in! I’m SO excited; it’s all I can think about! There’s something so cathartic and calming when you’re working with the earth with your bare hands. Not to mention reaping the efforts of all your hard work – crispy lettuce plucked straight from the garden, dewy flowers to garnish salads and smoothie bowls, succulent herbs bursting with earthy flavor. It’s gonna be amazing, I tell you. And I’ll be sure to post lots of pictures of my garden’s progress here! 🙂
Today’s recipe is something I’ve had in my back pocket for a while, but never got around to posting. If you haven’t heard already, I’m a devoted student of Japanese cuisine, and I’m always looking for new techniques to try and foods to make in my own kitchen. I first heard of onigiri through Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, one of my favorite blogs. She’s traveled extensively to Japan, and has a whole section devoted to Japanese food in one of her cookbooks, Near and Far (which I highly recommend). Onigiri are little stuffed rice balls that are partially wrapped in nori sheets. Traditionally, they’re often stuffed with umeboshi plums, which can be rather hard to find if you don’t have an Asian specialty market nearby. I decided to go the marinated-avocado route for the sake of convenience, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they made a deliciously creamy and tangy filling for the onigiri.
These little rice balls look a lot harder to make than they actually are – all you need is a measuring cup to use as a mold to create the beautiful circular shape. The rice sticks together surprisingly well, and it’s a breeze to coat the onigiri in the spicy shichimi togarashi.
- 2 Cups Japanese Short-Grain Rice
- ½ Cup Sprouts (any kind will do)
- 1 Tsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Black Sesame Seeds
- 1 Tsp Shoyu
- A few drops of Ponzu
- ½ Avocado, diced
- 1 Tsp Ponzu (see note)
- Pinch of Black Sesame Seeds
- Shichimi Togarashi
- Black + White Sesame Seeds
- Nori sheets, cut into strips
- Start by marinating the avocado - dice avocado, and mix in a bowl with 1 tsp ponzu. Let sit while you prep the onigiri.
- In a bowl, add rice, sprouts, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and shoyu. Mix well.
- Line a measuring cup with plastic wrap - I used ⅓ cup. Stuff the measuring cup partially with the rice and sprouts mix. Then, add in a small spoonful of the avocado filling in the middle. Top it off with more rice/sprouts mix and press down into the measuring cup.
- Take onigiri out of the measuring cup and set aside. Repeat with the remaining rice and avocado filling.
- Once you've made all the onigiri, spread some shichimi togarashi and sesame seeds onto a plate. If you don't have any shichimi on hand, more sesame seeds with do. Roll the onigiri on its side through the spice, then set aside. Repeat with all the remaining onigiri.
- Cut the sheets of nori into strips. Wrap the strips halfway around the onigiri (see photos for reference), and cut off any excess nori.
- Serve immediately - nori can get chewy if left out too long.
In addition, if you don't have any shichimi togarashi, you can mix sesame seeds with a pinch of red pepper flakes to create the spicy coating on the onigiri. But shichimi togarashi is highly recommended - you can purchase it here or at your local Asian market.
Song of the Day:
The Here and The Now – Sam & Ruby