Although I never get sick of traditional onigiri, stuffed with something spicy, or kimchi, I am 100% on board for switching it up every now and then.
Now that it’s officially *SPRING*, I thought what a better way to welcome the warmth, blooms and budding fruit trees than with a twist on the savory onigiri and trying something a *little* brighter and lighter! 🥑🍓🥝🥒🌸
I love making these heart shaped onigiri for any occasion: birthday’s, mother’s day, pot luck, beach snacks…or basically any time I feel like it, heh 😏. It’s such an easy way of showing love to someone…with food! It’s not any harder to shape your sushi rice into a heart than it is the traditional triangle shape – and I’m sure, there MUST be a heart shaped onigiri mold out there on the internet somewhere if you really want one!
I start with raw nori sheets:
Then shape my rice into a triangle with my wet hands –
and press down gently onto the nori to match the shape of the heart.
Dip your finger in the water to fix any loose edges as you press down!
Of course these hearts aren’t always going to look the same, and may not look “perfect” but that’s what I love about handmade onigiri. I love the uniqueness in each one.
These were all fruit, no filler! 👇🏻👇🏼👇🏽👇🏾👇🏿
It’s ok to be skeptical of fruit + rice + nori. I was too – but the fruity components I added really weren’t overly floral or sweet. Also, the sauce I made tied everything together so well, it was delish! And let’s not forget how many savory dishes do have fruit in them. Most menus have some kind of citrus or berries in their salads practically year round.
Remember that good quality nori should never have an overpowering “fishy” taste, especially a raw one. It’s definitely going to have an ocean-y flavor to it but when I’m biting into my onigiri and using raw SeaSnax as the base, I’m always tasting the fruits/veggies/toppings first.
The sauce I made was a few tablespoons of a locally made hot sauce with serrano peppers, and I whisked in a teaspoon of tamari and maple syrup. After I photographed my onigiri, I spooned a bit over each one.
I chose kiwi, kumquat, strawberry, mango, cucumber, avocado and marinated radishes & mushrooms for my onigiri. Nothing inherently sweet, and nothing that would overpower any other flavor.
The bright pop of kumquat worked really well here. I highly suggest looking for them for this occasion. They really were my favorite (and everyone else’s) part of the onigiri! I’m definitely going to be adding them to my regular list of ingredients.
I also made some quick, pan fried marinated mushrooms for this (because you know I need mushrooms at every meal 😂).
I chopped a package of crimini mushrooms (~8 oz.) into 1/4 inch slices (not able to forage for anything substantial yet!) and placed them in a small, glass bowl.
Drizzled in 2 tablespoons of tamari and 1 teaspoon of garlic chili paste (I buy mine from the brand that makes the sriracha with the rooster on the bottle).
Stir gently to coat the mushrooms and let soak for about 5 minutes.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of oil when it’s up to temperature.
Toss the mushrooms in and spread them out so they cook evenly.
Flip them over after 5 minutes, or once you start to see them shrink down in size and the sauce reduces.
Sprinkle some sesame seeds over them about a minute before you’re ready to take them out. Just watch that the sauce doesn’t reduce too much and get sticky like glue! If you start to see it getting too dark and sticky, turn the heat down to low and add a tablespoon of water or broth to get things lightened up.
These are my favorite little snack. Just as addictive as potato chips!
One tip I always like to stress when making onigiri is to not compact your rice balls too much. For presentation purposes it helps to mold them a bit more, but for taste and texture, a fluffier rice ball is much better!
Although I haven’t planted any of my own yet, I’ve been making a jar of marinated radishes and putting them on eeeeeverything.
Thinly slice radishes.
Place them in a small jar or shallow tuperware.
Add a pinch of fine ground salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Pour in 1 tablespoon of mirin, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
Cover jar and shake to mix and coat everything.
Let marinate for at least 15-20 minutes before eating. I wouldn’t let them marinate for more than 24 hours; the flavors will be too strong and the radishes will get too soft.