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  • Hey, what's up, guys? Welcome back to Binging with Babish.

  • Where this week, I am just so embarrassed to find out that onigiri are not jelly-filled donuts, but a rice ball, traditionally stuffed with pickled plums, kelp, or a whole host of other ingredients.

  • So let's start with the kelp, which we're gonna let reconstitute in water for 15 minutes until it's soft and flexible, just like this.

  • And then we're going to pat it dry and slice it into thin 2- to 3- inch long ribbons.

  • Now, beware this stuff is really sticky once you cut it.

  • Just gotta get it off the finger there, c'mon.

  • Once you manage to get yourself unstuck, continue slicing your kombu until it is all sliced up into slices, like this.

  • Which we're then going to throw into a saute pan, along with a half a cup of water, one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, three tablespoons of soy sauce, and one tablespoon each of mirin and sake.

  • I know this seems like a lot of flavors for a little bit of kelp,

  • but onigiri fillings are very bold

  • because they're just mostly rice.

  • So now we're bringing this over the stovetop,

  • and over medium heat,

  • bringing to a simmer and cooking

  • for about 10 minutes.

  • We're also gonna add

  • a big tablespoon of sugar.

  • This I imagine is to help combat

  • all that salt and acidity.

  • And so after about 7 to 10 minutes,

  • you will find that most of the liquid

  • evaporates and and you're left with a nice thick sauce,

  • into which we are going to generously sprinkle

  • some sesame seeds, setting aside

  • and covering until ready to be used.

  • Our sour pickled Japanese plums, or umeboshi,

  • are much easier to prepare

  • in that they just need to be pitted.

  • To get the pit out,

  • just give your plums a little squeeze.

  • Then you can mash these up with a fork,

  • I'm just gonna give them a little chop.

  • And then it's time to get our rice ready.

  • We are making sushi rice,

  • so that means we have to thoroughly

  • wash it. When I say thoroughly

  • I mean thoroughly

  • Into a bowl it goes, along with

  • about a cup of water,

  • and then we're going to slosh it around,

  • trying to rinse off as much of the starch as possible.

  • You'll notice that the first three or four washes,

  • your water's gonna look kind of like skim milk,

  • and we wanna keep going until

  • it's almost running clear.

  • Then into a rice cooker,

  • or in this case, a pressure cooker, it goes,

  • along with one and one half times

  • its volume in water.

  • So, to this one cup of rice,

  • how many cups of water am I adding?

  • That's right, one and one half.

  • Then I'm cooking the rice on high pressure

  • for 7 minutes, before letting it rest for 5.

  • And then releasing the pressure

  • using the valve and a protective glove of some sort.

  • And then spreading the rice out

  • onto a sheet pan so it can cool slightly.

  • While it's still hot, though,

  • I wanna drizzle it with a mixture

  • of two tablespoons rice wine vinegar

  • to one tablespoon of sugar

  • to one teaspoon of salt.

  • Give it a little mix without mashing it too much.

  • We want the rice to stay nice and fluffy,

  • we don't want it to clump together.

  • Get our fillings at the ready,

  • and then it is time to start forming our onigiri,

  • which you gotta do with wet hands,

  • otherwise the rice is gonna stick to you like glue.

  • I'm gonna start by making a little disc of rice in my hand,

  • dropping in a few pieces of our filling,

  • and then topping with another disc of rice.

  • Brock specified that the rice balls containing plums

  • were round, so I'm going to go ahead and pat this,

  • into a sort of kinda burger patty shape.

  • there we go

  • And then onto the slightly more challenging task

  • of forming triangular onigiri.

  • It all starts the same way,

  • sandwiching the filling between two flat hunks of rice,

  • shutting the edges closed.

  • But this time, instead of patting into a patty,

  • we're going to coax it into a cone.

  • By holding it flat with one hand,

  • and then pressing down with a rounded hand on top.

  • And then these guys get a strip of seaweed

  • on the bottom to act as a sort of handle

  • and protect your hands against the sticky rice.

  • So here they are, my first attempt at making onigiri

  • stuffed with umeboshi and kombu.

  • The pickled plums were definitely my favorite.

  • They almost taste like sour cherries,

  • and they work surpisingly well

  • with the ocean-like flavor of the seaweed.

  • The kelp-filled ones? Eh, not so much.

  • The flavor's great, but the texture's

  • offputting to me. It's very chewy and leathery.

  • That is, however, purely a personal opinion

  • and just something I'm not yet accustomed to.

  • The umeboshi, however, were entered

  • into the Clean Plate Club.

  • The one thing I was really not happy with, though,

  • was the shape of my onigiri.

  • It looked pretty rough and sloppy,

  • and often Japanese cuisine can be

  • incredibly beautiful and precise,

  • so I wanted to try and do a better job.

  • Attempt number 2 had better shapes,

  • but I cut the seaweed too big,

  • so they looked a little out of proportion.

  • Attempt number 3 had under-washed rice,

  • so they had came out kinda slimey.

  • Attempt number 4 was preceded by

  • a couple jazz cigarettes

  • and kinda went off the rails a little bit.

  • I call him "Snowmanigiri",

  • which I recognize is not clever.

  • But attempt number 5 is where I finally hit my stride.

  • Warm rice, wet hands, and properly cut seaweed

  • yielded perfect onigiri,

  • proof that with enough practice,

  • you can and will do anything.

Hey, what's up, guys? Welcome back to Binging with Babish.

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    kao posted on 2021/10/29
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