Gochujang Onigiri

Top 5 coziest things on earth:

  • Clean sheets on freshly shaved legs
  • Taking your pants off at the end of the day
  • A lazy Sunday morning before a Monday holiday
  • Peeling protective plastic off a screen (hhhnnnngg)

I know this list is missing a few cozy things (I don’t want to fight about it), but who cares because the only thing that really matters is eating hot and fresh onigiri (on a lazy Sunday with your pants off in bed if you want it that way).

Onigiri are Japanese rice balls that are typically enjoyed as a quick grab and go snack that you can eat pretty much anytime, anywhere. They’re typically filled with pickled plums, or fish, or seaweed, but I’m a lazy little shit which is why I took the liberty of making this recipe as easy as possibly by mixing everything together. Onigiri aren’t typically sauced either (beyond seasoning the sushi rice) but my firm belief that Gochujang (a sweet, savoury, and slightly spicy red chilli paste from Korea, go buy it from your local Asian grocer to make your life complete) is good in everything convinced me to make this sweet and spicy collab that I think you’ll enjoy too.

This recipe is technically a yaki onigiri (yaki meaning grilled), but if you’re in the mood to rebel against me you can totally skip the yaki part and eat them as is.

Grocery List:

For the Onigiri:

  • 1.5 cups Sushi rice
  • 1 tbsp Gochujang red pepper paste
  • 1 tsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Mirin
  • 2 tsp Honey (can also sub maple syrup or sugar)
  • ½ tsp Maggi Sauce (can sub MSG)
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Ketchup (just trust me. Gung gung used to fill our house with ketchup. We are a pro-Heinz family. End of discussion.)
  • 2 handfuls Roasted seaweed strips
  • 3.5 oz fish (I used a can of tuna, cause, again, I’m lazy. But feel free to show me up and use fresh fish or make this vegetarian with some shitake mushrooms.)
  • Furikake seasoning

Cooking Method:

For the Onigiri

  • Start by making your rice. If you didn’t grow up in an Asian family, then hi, welcome. I’m your Asian family now. As your new, cool aunt, I’m telling you that you need to wash your damn rice. This isn’t up for debate. Now – rinse 1.5 cups of rice in cool water until the water runs mostly clear. Then, add 1.75 cups of water into your rice cooker. Walk away for a couple of hours. Go to work. Binge an entire seasoning of Selling Sunset. Sushi rice cooks better when you let it soak. Turn it back on and let it do its thing. Remove from heat and let cool until you can handle it.
  • Make your gochujang sauce by combining gochujang, rice vinegar, mirin, honey, Maggi sauce, Oyster sauce, and ketchup. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
  • Scoop your rice into a large bowl and add your fish and roasted seaweed strips. Mix slightly. Then add your sauce. Mix completely.
  • Stuff into an onigiri press – if you don’t have one of those, use your hands by wetting them slightly so the rice doesn’t stick and mould them into a triangle shape.
  • You can stop here and add roasted seaweed sheets to the bottom of them and eat as is OR you can turn them into proper yaki onigiri by adding a bit of oil to a pan and frying them on both sides until brown. Enjoy!

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