Onigirazu – Japanese Rice Sandwiches

I discovered this idea quite by accident while surfing around on You Tube, and decided to create my own Onigirazu — basically sushi rice wrapped with a nori sheet to form a pocket, with whatever inside the rice that stirs your fancy.  It’s something new in the world of Japanese eating, and so just about anything can go inside.  Slice the pocket in half after assembling.   I used a rice cooker for the rice, set on sushi setting.

The recipes include a sushi preparation more in tune with traditional Japanese types of ingredients (although the sandwich itself is not traditional), and a Western breakfast-style preparation.  I also wanted to include a vegetarian preparation, using more traditional Japanese ingredients.

Thus:  (THREE recipes for the price of one post!)

rice sandwiches, japanese, recipe, vegetarian, seafood, breakfast

Three! I love these!

  • Seaweed Salad and Maguro (Yellowfin Tuna) Onigirazu
  • Breakfast Pork Sausage and Egg Onigirazu
  • Avocado, Shiitake, Green Onion, and Cucumber Vegetarian Onigirazu

I use a rice cooker to make my rice – on the sushi setting. Time will vary for that.  4 ounces will give you an excess of rice for this; the 100 mL setting is pretty much just the right amount.  Most measuring cups (in the US at any rate) do give metric as well as old-fangled measurements these days.

Another note:  in order NOT to have my rice cooker turn yellow or purple — I added the turmeric and the pomegranate juice at the end of the cooking process.  I don’t know if the color would be hard to remove or not, so I simply opted not to find out!

Make the rice sandwiches while the rice is still warm.  This enables the sticky-ness to adhere.

Onigirazu, Japanese rice sandwiches, seafood, breakfast, vegetarian

Onigirazu sandwiches awaiting the knife. Let them rest five minutes after making each, so the nori can anneal to other portions of nori. Then slice with a sharp, wetted knife, and discard the plastic wrap.

Here are three suggestions:

Seaweed Salad and Maguro (yellowfin tuna) Onigirazu

Prep Time:  5 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 sheets nori
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 pound sushi grade raw yellowfin tuna, sliced thinly (you may sub other fish)
  • 1/3 cup seaweed salad (I nabbed some as takeout from my local sushi bar)
  • wasabi to taste
  • coconut aminos or tamari sauce for dipping

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional salt to rice, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.

Lay out individual sheet of nori on a length of plastic wrap, on a working surface, shiny side down.

Drop some rice down in the center, and flatten.

Add a dollop of seaweed salad over the rice, to the edges of the rice.

Add some slivers of yellowfin tuna in a line across, about 1/8th pound.

Dab the top of the fish with wasabi, should you wish.

Layer rice on top.

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.  Dip in tamari as desired.

Check out a series of photos for this preparation below:

Japanese, rice sandwich

Warm rice centered on nori.

Japanese, rice sandwich, tuna, Onigirazu

Seaweed salad on rice on nori

Japanese, rice sandwich, tuna, Onigirazu

Tuna and wasabi on seaweed salad on rice on nori. NOTE: that blast of wasabi on the second piece of maguro (tuna) was way too intense even for me…

Japanese, rice sandwich, seafood, tuna, seaweed salad, Onigirazu

Sandwich, cut in half.  This doesn’t look so aesthetic, as it was my first effort!  Tasted great, however!

Breakfast Pork Sausage and Egg Onigirazu

Prep Time:  10 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.  10 minutes for the pork and eggs, can be done while rice cooks.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 1/2 teaspoon healthy cooking oil 
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4  teaspoon ground dried sage
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 slices of meltable cheese (optional)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional turmeric to rice once cooked, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.

Towards the end of the rice cooking time — Cook the pork and its seasonings (to make a pork sausage).  Note — I made it as a scramble; in the future I’d make two thin pork sausage patties, simply because I had a lot of scrambled pork that would not lay up nicely on the rice, and a patty would compact in more of the ground meat for my purposes.

To the pork, add the pepper, sage, oregano, fennel seed, garlic powder and salt.  Form into two thin patties and cook through in the oil in a skillet – NO pink, flipping as needed.   (Or do it like I did as a scramble of ground pork with seasonings.)   Set aside.

Cook the two eggs any way you like — I went with “over medium” – keeping the yolks soft but not liquid, simply because liquid would be messy.  You can do this other ways:  over hard, scrambled, omelet-style…

Lay out individual sheet of nori on a length of plastic wrap, on a working surface, shiny side down.

Drop some rice down in the center, and flatten.

Drop a pork sausage patty (or enough ground scrambled up pork) on the rice.

Add a slice of optional cheese.  (Oh, in my case, I forgot!)

Add an egg (or half of whatever egg prep you made).

If you didn’t use a pork patty, you can optionally add more ground pork scramble to the top.

Layer rice on top of that.

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.

Here’s some photos of this process:

Japanese, rice sandwich, breakfast, nori,

Turmeric-infused sushi rice on nori. Turmeric has so many health benefits I couldn’t resist.

Onigirazu, Japanese, rice sandwich, nori, egg, sausage

One egg. I flipped this one over and allowed the yolk to get solid enough not to run. Obviously, your egg-tastes may vary. Have at it!

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, rice, Japanese, breakfast, egg, pork sausage

On top of the egg, add more ground pork sausage, or just cut to the chase with additional warm turmeric-laced sushi rice.  Note: ground pepper and turmeric provide synergistic health benefits.

Onigirazu, Japanese, rice sandwich, nori, breakfast, egg, pork sausage

I’m getting better at making these things look aesthetic!

Avocado, Shiitake, and Cucumber Vegetarian Onigirazu

Prep Time:  10 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.  8-10 minutes for the shiitake, can be done while rice cooks.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil — a Korean influence.  (You can do the vinegar instead.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds (optional).
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice or juice left over from boiling purple beets (Optional; this is for a hint of pink.  Not so vibrant as the turmeric!).
  • 1/2 teaspoon healthy cooking oil 
  • 3-4 ounces shiitake mushrooms.  Remove stems, and break up the larger ones. 
  • 1/5th cucumber.  Remove all skin from the supermarket waxed ones, if you use.  But preferentially use the English “seedless” cukes.  Removing skin on these is optional.  Slice thin.  Either as thin sticks or thin slices.  
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced.   
  • 2 scallions/green onions, slice the white parts thin, and the green parts to 1.5 – 2 inches of length.
  • Salad dressing of your choice; use thick, not thin / watery (optional).  If it is watery, your rice will get soggy.  I opted out since most commercial salad dressings are rather icky, ingredient-wise; and I didn’t really have a good opportunity  to make my own, and use it ALL up, this week.  Just a drizzle if you do use. 
  • Gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos, for dipping.  

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional pomegranate juice or beet juice to rice once cooked, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.  Add in a half teaspoon of roasted sesame seeds if you are so inclined.  Again, mix gently.

While the rice is cooking, prep the veggies (and cook the shiitake).  Keep the whites of the scallions/green onions separate from the lengthier bits of green.

When ready, put about one quarter of the rice on each sheet of nori, apiece (shiny side down, with the nori on some plastic wrap).

Add most of the green parts of the green onions on both nori sheets, reserving just a few.

Divy up the shiitake over both nori sheets atop the earlier toppings.

Add thin slices of avocado over the toppings.

Here is where you’d drizzle some thick salad dressing, should you have and want to use.

Add the remainder of the green onions/scallions, including the finely diced bits of the white parts, over the toppings.

Top both off with the rest of the rice.  (I had a little less than planned, but no matter.)

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.

And, here’s some photos of this one!

rice sandwich, Japanese, recipe , scallions, vegetarian, vegan

Starting out. I was hoping that the pomegranate juice would have imparted more color. Feel free to omit! (Adding more would have made the rice too watery.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake

After that yummy shiitake!

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, cuke, cucumber

A layer of English cucumber

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, cucumber, scallion

Ah, fresh avocado! Fresh green onion! (If you don’t plan to eat this for a few hours, some lemon juice may just keep the avo green.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, scallion, cucumber, cuke

A final layer of rice

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, cucumber, cuke, scallion, avocado

Slice! (Wet a sharp knife for this task.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, green onion, cuke, cucumber

Ready to enjoy! I dribbled tamari over this as I ate. A wonderful lunch.

This recipe is shared at Real Food Fridays!!

And is shared at Fiesta Fridays, with co-hosts Margy and Suzanne!!

 

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About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: Building a log home in rural western Massachusetts. Will be raising chickens and goats/sheep. Raising veggies and going solar.
This entry was posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Breakfast, Cooking, Meats, Seafood, Vegan, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Onigirazu – Japanese Rice Sandwiches

  1. Marla says:

    Hi,
    These rice sandwiches are quite interesting and unique. Sure give a different twist to the common sandwich – sounds tasty and healthy. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Friday blog hop. Pinned!

  2. Thanks a lot for bringing this unique recipe at FF this week!

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