Check out a super easy recipe of salmon roe rice balls, or “ikura onigiri”. This could come out as a comfort meal to tint some change in your everyday meal. Salmon roes are my all time favorite, and I love to eat them in sushi too, but the rice ball version allows you to easily make at home too.
What is an “onigiri”?
An onigiri is a rice ball, considered as casual finger food. It is like the sandwich version of the western food. It is so common to eat in Japanese culture, and very easy to make too! It always reminds me of a picnic scene with friends and family bringing their own onigiri to a park to eat lunch outside. Because of it’s shape and size, and with the “nori” or seaweed paper wrapped around, it is easy to eat without messing up your fingers. So during my childhood in an International school, I would bring an onigiri for field trips. Not just children, but it is an everyday meal for adults too. If you visit a Japanese convenience store, you will see a section full of onigiri with a ton of variety tastes, with just around $2. Because of it’s convenience and cheapness, it is such a popular menu for an office lunch. I can never forget my boss would bring exactly 2 onigiris every day to the office for lunch. And that tells the story, we never get bored with it, because of the various menus offered!
Why is the Ikura Onigiri so special?
Salmon roes are called ikura in Japanese. They are pickled in soy sauce, so they have a salty taste. If you haven’t tried them yet, they are so juicy and satisfying, and it matches well with the white rice. Ikura is considered one of the high class seafood in Japan, so the ikura onigiris sold in the convenience stores are usually categorized as premium rice balls. (Which is only about +$1 or so, compared to the regular ones.) Because it’s a comfort seafood, we only eat ikura on special days. So that’s why we wanted to place as much ikura on top of the rice ball rather than smush them inside, for our home made onigiri.
How do we make it?
It’s easy! On a saran wrap, place as much rice you would like to eat. Wrap it up, and cover & put pressure with your hands to make it into a triangle shape. The tip is not to over do it, because you don’t want a hard onigiri. The best onigiri is when it sort of falls apart once you take a bite into it. For this particular onigiri, I made a dent to create a pocket for the salmon roes to comfortably fit in without falling all over the place. It’s your choice to wrap nori around it. I personally also like to put very little wasabi… Oh it matches so well with the salty ikura and sweet white rice! This is a must try!