Onigiri recipe: How to bring variety to your lunch break

Onigiri Recipe: This delicious vegan snack from Japan can turn your lunch break into a culinary getaway.

Take a vegan culinary journey through Asia with “Asia Vegan” by Rai Lundström! (Christian Verlag, 160 pages, €19.90)

Maggie Soltani

Japan, 11th century. Small rice balls called onigiri appear as a picnic snack in author Murasaki Shikibu’s diaries. Onigiri are probably the oldest and most popular snacks in Japanese cuisine, equivalent to bread and butter, so to speak. The compact rice flavor is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany, as the small triangles are not only easy to pack and take away, but also versatile: fillings range from savory to sweet, and onigiri can be filled with meat or vegetables. or – whatever is in this recipe – can be enjoyed as a vegan snack. Therefore, they are ideal as a small picnic snack or a slightly different snack for the little ones and adults.

Our recipe comes from the cookbook “Asian Vegan” by Rai Lundström, who lived in Japan and traveled to many other Asian countries for culinary delights, and shows how well-known classics like wantan soup or pad thai taste even without animal products. The book devotes short chapters to the cuisines of Japan, China, India, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as recipes for drinks and sauces. Pure vegan umami!

These decorative vegan onigiri could be straight out of a Studio Ghibli movie.

Maggie Soltani

Here’s how to make vegan onigiri with shiitake mushroom filling

Onigiri recipe: Ingredients for about eight pieces

  • 250 g Japanese short grain rice (sushi rice)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 100 g shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. pepper flakes
  • 3 sheets of nori
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • 50 g of cream

This is how rice balls are made

Cook rice according to package directions. Chill until workable, but not too cold.

Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a pan. Fry the shiitake mushrooms there until they start to color. Reduce the heat, add the soy sauce and continue to cook until the mushrooms are absorbed. Season with chili flakes.

Wet your hands thoroughly before shaping the rice. If the rice starts to stick to your fingers, wash your hands again with water. For one onigiri, roll about 70g of rice into a ball. Make a hole in the ball and fill it with the mushroom mixture. Cover the hole with rice. Use your hands to form the knot into a nice tight triangle shape. Repeat until the rice and filling are finished.

Cut the nori sheets into strips about 3cm wide and 10cm long. Place a strip of nori under each onigiri triangle. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and chopped crepes on top and serve.

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