Japanese style quick breakfast with onigiri

by ebazaar 30 August 2009 No Comment

It’s time for Asa Gohan!

onigiriThe choice of filling inside these hearty triangular balls of steamed rice flavored with some salt is up to the person cooking it really. It can be pickled plum or umeboshi, salted salmon, salted dried kelp or shio-kobu or even marinated tako or squid. I’m not too sure why they actually call them riceballs when it’s actually triangular in shape. But later I found out that it really used to be in round shapes in the olden Japanese days. But machines has indeed overcome the traditional ways of making onigiri, that is why we have triangular shapes onigiri now. Yup, there are machine of making triangle onigiri devised around the 80’s. The history of onigiri was written in Lady Murasaki’s diary way back in the eleventh century (source of onigiri history, wikipedia,). That’s quite a long history of a food isn’t it?

However, onigiri is not only presentable in triangles all the time, there are some that still in the shape of a ball nowadays. There are actually many types of onigiri, where it differs in ingredient, colors and how they present it. Some of it have a few ingredient all mixed together and shaped into triangles with only a small wrap of nori. Some are even lightly fried to get the golden brown color on the outside.

You can see a lot of onigiri types here according to the regions in Japan.

From what I knew, if you actually made onigiri simply by moulding it into cute riceballs and wrap nori all over it, you’ve managed to make yourself an ugly onigiri. Hah!

Onigiri is one of the most convenient and practical foods in Japan. You can find it in almost every convenience store ( japanese people call them ‘konbini’) such as Family Mart and 7Eleven as well supermarkets and food departments at major leading Shopping Mall.

Other interesting fact of Onigiri:

  • It is also known as Omusubi
  • homemade onigiriWell, before the Japanese people are able to use the chopstick, they mould rice, which is their staple food into certain shape like balls and rectangular to make it easier to pick it up. So it was thought that onigiri actually might have originated way back before Lady Murasaki’s writing.
  • Onigiri is widely introduced to the public eye of people outside Japan through anime and manga such as in Naruto, Dragon Balls, Pokemon and many more.
  • Onigiri can be one of the cheapest and most fulfilling option you have if you’re travelling in Japan on a tight budget. Normally it priced around ¥150 (but it can be much cheaper when it’s near closing time of the shop and on promotional events)

Japanese vocabulary info:

‘Asa Gohan’ means breakfast

‘Nori’ is edible seaweed

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