Saturday, August 28th, 2010
This meal was inspired by Seiroku Honda who was a famous author, botanist and landscape designer who designed many national parks in Japan during the Meiji Era (1868-1912). His story begins when he goes to Germany to study abroad and returns to Japan to become an assistant professor at Tokyo University. After returning, many of his relatives moved in with his family seeking financial support. Realizing that he has to support nine family members, he decides to follow the "pay yourself first" strategy by saving 1/4 of his salary, however this leaves little for food and other expenses. His wife was given little money to buy food, and for some time they survived on rice, salt and sesame seeds alone.
Although, I added some extra ingredients to this meal, Seiroku Honda was the main inspiration for this meal. The gourmand in me had to up it up a slight bit but it's still a very economical meal.
Ingredient (Servings 2)
2 bowls of cooked rice
2 cups of Japanese tea*
1.5 inch piece of ginger cut julienne
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds (1/2 for the ginger and 1/2 for the sauce)
1/2 teaspoon of sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of chopped green onion
2 tablespoons (1 tablespoon each) of onigiri filling. I used kombu tsukudani here.
Sea salt to taste
1) Julienne the ginger and spread them out on the tray for your toaster oven. Sprinkle half of the sesame seed oil on them and toss them on the tray.
2) Set the toaster on broil and toast for 8-10 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown.
3) Fill a rice bowl with rice and make a hole in it. Fill it with your favorite onigiri filling and make a rice ball. (Tip, wet your hands and rub sea salt on them and turn the rice ball as you form it into a triangular shape.)
4) Put them onto a tray and line it with foil. Brush a little sesame seed oil on the foil so the rice doesn't stick.
5) Brush the top of the rice balls with the sesame seed oil (remaining 1/2 teaspoon) and the soy sauce mixture (use half) and set on broil for about 7 minutes or until the rice creates a crust.
6) Flip the rice ball over and brush the other side with the rest of the sesame seed oil and soy sauce mixture. Broil again until the other side is crispy.
7) Arrange the rice balls in a bowl. Top with ginger, sesame seeds, green onions and sea salt to taste.
8) Pour your favorite Japanese tea on top and serve immediately.
* Hojicha (roasted green tea) is popular since it has a roasted flavor and there is less caffeine due to the roasting process. I also like genmaicha (green tea and roasted brown rice blend) since it goes well with the toasted onigiri, however you can use any type of tea you like.
Cut off about a 1.5 inch piece of ginger.
Slice them into slices and then into thin match sticks or julienne.
Sprinkle about 1/2 a teaspoon of sesame seed oil on them, toss them and broil in a toaster oven.
They should get toasty and golden brown on the edges.
Use a rice bowl to measure the rice.
Make a hole in the center and fill it with your favorite onigiri filling.
After you shape your onigiri, coat one side with half of the sesame seed oil and soy sauce mixture and broil in toaster oven.
Do the same thing on the other side. The rice should start to crackle and create a crunchy crust.
Arrange the onigiri in a bowl. Top with ginger, sesame seeds and green onions. Add salt to taste.
Pour your favorite Japanese tea on top.
It's like opening up a present! Mmmm