Tag Archives: sushi

bento for the little one (onigiri rice balls & rolled cabbage 8/feb/16)

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.

temaki sushi (hand-roll sushi) party – how to make delicious sushi rice

temaki sushi is a type of sushi we eat at home, usually in a special occasion when a group of people gather together. “te” means “hand” + “maki” means “roll” = hand-roll sushi – in my family we call it “temaki” for short.

all you have to do is to prepare sushi rice, a pile of seaweed (called “nori“), fresh fish (assorted sashimi) and other sushi ingredients (tamago (japanese omelet), herb, some veggies, etc.) and make your own sushi rolls at the table as you eat. it is easy & quick to prepare, entertaining & fun for your guests, and most importantly very delicious. when you eat, you place your rice on top of the nori, place the topping to your liking, roll it all together and dip it into the soy sauce – and boom! you will experience the taste of japanese culinary delights.

here are some images from the sushi party we had the other day with some friends:

the trick to make temaki-sushi taste authentic is to cook the sushi rice right. it’s not hard as long as you have the right ingredients and follow the steps properly.

sushi rice recipe: (serves 3 – 4 ppl)

– 3 cups of rice, freshly cooked with a 5cm dried kelp seaweed
(ideally use japanese rice, which is sticker and juicier than basemati/jasmin rice for example. i usually cook japanese rice in rice cooker with water filed to the designated measurement or 3 cups of water. you don’t want to make it too dry nor too wet)

– 80ml of rice vinegar
– 50g of sugar (i use brown sugar which gives a bit more depth to the taste)
– 15g of salt

* the amount of sugar seems a lot, but it is the right measurement. just stick to the numbers above, and you’ll be successful!
** this is the rice vinegar i use – it is the most typical kind in the market i think. you should be able to find it in a local japanese/asian grocery store


1. as mentioned above, cook rice with a dried kelp seaweed

2. in a small bowl, mix the vinegar, sugar, salt, and stir

3. once the rice is cooked, pour it into a big wooden bowl

4. take out the kelp, and quickly mix the rice with a spatula (mix it as if “slicing” or “cutting” the rice – don’t “knead” as it damages the rice)

5. once the rice is evenly divided in the bowl, pour in the sushi vinegar mixture while the rice is still hot, and toss the rice while waving the steam off using a fan until the mixture is well-incorporated (again, slicing/cutting it so as to avoid damaging the grains of rice)

this is it!

*** by using the fan to wave the steam off, the sushi rice becomes shiny yet not too sticky. you can serve it when it is still warm, or leave it aside until it gets a little cooler. i wouldn’t recommend it to put into the fridge, as it makes the texture of rice harder than desired for sushi.

enjoy your temaki with whatever ingredients you like!

(one of the super easy ingredients is a can of tuna mixed with mayonnaise – you can eat it with cucumber sticks in the roll. believe me, it is surprisingly yummy)