menu: onigiri (rice balls) with shirasu (baby sardines) & spinach, rolled cabbage, carrots, green beans and cherry tomato
raspberries with yogurt & honey for dessert
onigiri is one of the most typical recipes for bento box. it is rice ball with some seasoning/garnish with nori seaweed, and its name comes from a verb “nigiru“, which means “to grasp” or “to hold”. most people must know what onigiri is, but to clarify it is a bit different from sushi from various aspects – sushi rice is prepared with rice vinegar, sugar & salt, whereas onigiri rice is with just a pinch of salt. sushi usually comes with THE most fresh ingredients, such as raw fish or shellfish, but onigiri is prepared with cooked or preserved ingredients such as grilled salmon flakes or umeboshi, pickled sour plums (by the way, i cannot eat umeboshi because of its sourness – oh dear so unjapanese of me, my mum must be so cross with me for this). shape wise, sushi has this small boat-like shape, while onigiri usually has either round or triangle form. sushi is usually bite size, while onigiri is much bigger and fills you up quite quickly (usually an onigiri is made with the portion of a small bowl of rice). we eat sushi more on special occasions, whereas onigiri is rather everyday food. sushi is luxurious and elegant, while onigiri is rustic and homey. sushi, expensive, onigiri, cheep! ….maybe that’s enough explanation 😉
for LO’s bento today, i prepared nori seaweed separately from rice ball, so that it will remain dry & crisp. but you can also put it on rice ball beforehand if you prefer nori being rather soggy. it’s totally up to you.
today’s side dish, rolled cabbage, is just some leftover from the evening before. it is pork mince pâté wrapped & rolled in a cabbage leaf, and cooked in chicken bouillon. i used sliced pancetta and thyme to give extra flavour.
i hope LO liked my another effortless bento today.