i miss new york's asian culture.
i miss red bean popsicles and taro soft serve. i miss the cotton candy machine outside of kenka (and all the food inside kenka)... i miss ktown karaoke and even ollie's delivery... i miss those lazy days when you have nothing to do but day drink and stand in the totto ramen line. i miss that there is a place where you can sit on the floor, eat manta ray fin, and enjoy your bottle of sake leftover from the last time you were there. i miss dim sum and xi'an famous and i really miss being called other other june by the percussionists (hi june! hi other june!).
i even miss the occasional accidental barfing up of all of my ktown barbecue.
save for my town's little pad thai place, there is very little asianness here. there is an asian grocery and a few, like, fusion things. but i just googled "north dakota izakaya" and it was a sad sea of emptiness.
this weekend, my new york asian missings pointed to onigiri, those comforting little rice balls that are the subject of not one, but two emoji. so i made some, but first i tapped my life's resident onigiri expert, chris, for a few words to describe the perfect onigiri:
crunchy (the seaweed)
toothsome (the rice)
mysterious (the filling)
additionally, a perfect onigiri must be salty enough. there is no excuse for an under-salted onigiri, says chris.
an onigiri is typically salted by salting your hands or dipping your hands in salt water when you mold them, but i have not had too much luck when molding onigiri in the past, so i tracked down this handy guide on how to form onigiri. my favorite method, as seen in the above gif, is the cookie cutter method. after forming them, i sprinkled salt all around the outside.
i also found that adding a bit more water when using brown rice helps the onigiri to keep its shape. the rice will indeed be a bit more mushy, but i like mushy things!
these little guys make the perfect quick snack because they can be stored in the fridge and eaten immediately. i bet eggboy is the only farmer in the midwest to have brought onigiri for lunch yesterday. kekekeke.
honey + bacon onigiri
makes 4 onigiri
1/2 batch of this sushi rice* at room temperature
1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp honey
1 stalk green onions, finely chopped
2 slices cooked bacon, finely chopped
a pinch of chili flakes
4 strips of seaweed
*if you're using brown rice, i'd recommend adding a bit more water so that it's easier to mold (i added 1/2 cup... this might be too mushy for some people's tastes, so start with 1/4 cup and add more if necessary)
to make the filling, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, green onion, bacon, and chili flakes.
to mold the onigiri, refer to this handy guide
sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds
if you are eating them immediately, wrap in seaweed and enjoy! if you are saving some for later, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. add the seaweed right before consumption so it is crunchy!
enjoy! and also tweet about it using the onigiri emoji :-) :-)