Rice Sandwiches

Omusubi

For the most popular picnic lunch in Japan, triangular rice “sandwiches” are stuffed with a variety of fillings and garnished with roasted black sesame seeds or strips of roasted dried laver. Blocks of Thick Sweet Omelet go well with rice “sandwiches, ” and sharp, bright-colored pickles round out the meal.

Ingredients

  • cups cooked, still warm rice (made from cups raw rice according to master recipe)
  • Scant ½ teaspoon salt

Filling A

  • 3 tablespoons katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce

Filling B

  • umé-boshi (pink-tinted pickled plums)

Garnish

  • ½ tablespoon dry-roasted black sesame seeds or ½ sheet dry-roasted Asakusa nori (dark dried laver)

Method

Season the warm rice with salt and toss it gently with a wooden spoon. Divide the rice into 6 portions. Now prepare your fillings and garnishes. Mix the dried bonito flakes with soy sauce for filling A. Remove the pits from the pickled plums for filling B. Dry roast the black sesame seeds in a heavy skillet, then transfer them to a small bowl. Dry roast the dried laver for 1–2 minutes (details for both). With a knife or scissors, cut the laver into 3 long strips.

Have a bowl of cold water nearby and dampen your hands whenever necessary to prevent the rice from sticking to them. Take one of the 6 portions of rice and form it into a ball with cupped hands. Make an indentation in the center and fill it with one third of filling A or B (1, 2). Work the rice into a ball again, closing over the filling (5). Open the palm of your bottom hand, keeping your thumb rigid and slightly higher than the other fingers. This will help shape one side of the triangle (4). Press down with your other hand to flatten the ball. Rotate the flattened ball at one-third turns to form the other two sides of the triangle. Exert gentle pressure while shaping the stuffed rice into a triangle. Garnish the rice sandwich with a strip of roasted laver (5), or with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. Repeat the process to make 5 more stuffed and garnished triangles.

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