Rice balls in Japan are called onigiri, and they usually contain cooked rice and some flavoring, meat or vegetables.
After a trip to an Italian restaurant that served an Italian version of these, I got the idea of making fried Japanese rice balls. Both my wife and I loved these, though they’re not the most healthful things to eat.
What you’ll need to make these:
- Cooked rice (slightly sticky)
- Ground pork
- Soy sauce (shoyu)
- Beaten egg
- Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- Oil for frying or deep frying
How to make fried onigiri:
- Cook the rice (on stove or in rice cooker).
- Sauté the ground pork until almost cooked through.
- Add sake, mirin and shoyu to the ground pork, to taste.
- Simmer until liquid is cooked away and absorbed by the meat.
- Thoroughly drain any remaining oil/fat from the meat.
- Mix meat and rice and form into “rice balls.” Alternatively, you can use an onigiri maker like the one pictured.
- Freeze the onigiri so they do not deteriorate or crumble in the next steps.
- After onigiri is completely frozen, dip each side of each one in the beaten egg(s).
- Roll in panko until covered on all sides. At this point, they can be pan- or deep-fried. I’d deep fry them the next time.
Serve with tonkatsu sauce, wasabi or hot mustard and pickled ginger.