I have been cooking a lot of rice this week. I am testing the new donabe rice cooker and some onigiri recipes. On this occasion, I also tested the pros and cons of using a rice ball mold. I usually make my rice balls by hand, but I sometimes use rice ball molds. It's when I don't have enough hands to make onigiri by hand. The rice ball maker I found at Marukai is plastic - double onigiri mold. Each mold takes about 3/4 cup of cooked rice. They make a perfect triagular onigiri. But if you just use it to mold the rice, your onigiri will not hold together, especially if you are grilling it. To use the molds, rinse them in water so they are slightly wet, and then stuff them with rice. Don't pack too much or you will squash the grains.
Plastic onigiri molds and onigiri right out of the mold.
To keep hold the shape of onigiri, use your hands to gently press the molded rice triangle from all sides.
Onigiri that has been pressed by hand, ready to be broiled.
I used a Cuisinart toaster oven to broil these balls. It can fit 9 onigiri on the tray so it is pretty accomodating. When the onigiris are toasted, you baste them with some miso-soy-mirin sauce and toast them again until they are nice and crispy. Serve immediately.
Grilled Onigiri with Miso Recipe:
Onigiri (See recipe below)
Grilled onigiri served two ways
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: Each sauce recipe makes enough for 4 onigiri
Miso sauce with chives
1/4 cup miso (white, Saikyo or red miso paste)
2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
In a medium bowl, whisk together the miso, mirin and soy sauce. The chives can be whisked into the sauce, or sprinkled over as a garnish just before serving.
Soy mirin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce (koikuchi style)
2 teaspoons mirin
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and mirin.
Grilled onigiri assembly
4 onigiri, Olive, sesame or chili oil
1. Brush the onigiri with a little oil to prevent it from sticking to the grill. If you use a spicy oil like chili oil, it will give the onigiri heat.
2. Heat a grill pan or grill over medium-high heat until hot, or heat the broiler. Line the grill pan, grill or a baking sheet (if using the broiler) with foil. Grill the onigiri on both sides until crisp and slightly toasted; this can take from 5 to 10 minutes on each side depending on the heat and cooking method. While grilling, baste the onigiri with a little of the sauce on each side a few times until it is absorbed and becomes crisp; the onigiri should not be moist from basting when done. Watch carefully, as the onigiri can burn.
3. Serve immediately while the onigiri are piping hot.