Made onigiri with Sagey when I went home over Thanksgiving break. I love them and have wanted to learn how to make them for a while. Got the general idea from this very helpful website. They're really easy to make, and with more practice I think I'll get even better at making them. Since they are so portable, I think they'd be perfect for both of us to bring as school lunches. Making them reminded me of tamales, in a way, since it's a starchy blank slate with an intense filling. There seems to be a lot of room for innovation as far as fillings go.... we made some with just plain umeboshi plums, and a made up one with some smoked salmon and pickled ginger muddled together.
2 1/4 c water
umeboshi plums/other yummy things
3 or 4 nori sheets
In strainer, rinse rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak in a bowl with the 2 1/4 water for about 30 minutes. Bring to a boil in a medium sauce pan, then turn down and simmer and cook till water has evaporated. The rice is very glutenous, so don't stir too much or it'll turn into a giant mushy glob. Let it cool for a while, until it is safe to handle.
Clean your hands very well and leave them damp with cool water. Sprinkle salt on your palms and grab a handful of rice (amount depending on how big you want your rice ball to eventually be) and cup it in your palm. Make a round little well in the center and add an umeboshi plum or a tablespoon of filling. Add another little bit of rice on top of the filling and begin forming the onigiri by pressing and turning the rice ball around in your hands. The traditional shape is triangular, and to achieve this I first formed a sphere and held it at the bottom of one palm and pinched two sides at the top, then pressed this shape gently with my palms flat.
Then wrap the nori however you like. Jean tells me that you can put the nori on later, just before eating, so it doesn't get soggy. But I kind of liked it a little chewy.
We used a rice mold my mom bought at Uwajimaya in Seattle to make the funny shaped ones, and they were cute but kind of a hassle. I liked the tactile experience of pressing the warm rice with salty palms.
Next, toasted onigiri...