Miso Beef Onigiri (rice ball). This recipe is inspired by the new Zelda game. Thinly sliced beef cooked with miso, ginger and garlic, then stuffed inside rice balls. Satisfying quick bite for lunch or picnic.
Onigiri is Japanese rice ball. It is a ball of steamed rice formed into a triangle shape, stuffed with filling and wrapped with a nori (seaweed). It is very popular in Japan as snack, quick bite or lunch. You can easily find it in convenience store or supermarket.
While visiting Kyoto last February, we had our first onigiri from a famous rice restaurant. It was a chilly winter day and we just finished exploring a temple. We were cold and hungry. When we walked by the rice restaurant, we saw a bunch of people eating onigiri at the front door. We couldn’t resist. Bryan ran inside the store and got one. The onigiri was still warm and it was filled with salted salmon. It was absolutely delicious. If we didn’t have any lunch plan, we probably would have eaten a few more.
Since coming back home, I have pretty much forgotten about the onigiri. Until recently, Bryan has been playing a new game on his Nintendo Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s a really fun game, either to play or watch. Other than monster fighting, treasure hunting and puzzle solving, this Zelda game also has a cooking part. You collect ingredients like meat, herbs, vegetables along the way, and cook them to create all kind of dishes. Different dishes have different effects that can restore health or energy. It’s surprising how many dishes you can make, like skewer, omelet, curry, crepe, cake, and pie. Rice balls are on the menu too! And that is what inspired me to make this miso beef onigiri.
Miso beef is definitely not a traditional filling for onigiri. Thinly sliced beef was marinated with miso, garlic, ginger and mirin. Then, quickly stir fry in a skillet until cooked through. Stuff them into warm rice and shape into triangles. Wrap the rice balls with a piece of seaweed and sprinkle with some furikake (rice seasoning). Nom! Savory, and umami! Very satisfying! My health has now been restored! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Miso Beef Onigiri
- 1½ cups uncooked Japanese short grain rice
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- ½ teaspoon ginger (grated)
- 1 tablespoon white miso (shiro miso)
- 1½ teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 5 ounces thinly sliced beef
- ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2 sheets nori (sushi seaweed)
- Furikake (dried rice seasoning)
- Cook the rice in the rice cooker. Mix and cool for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine garlic, ginger, miso, water and mirin.
- Cut the beef into 2-inch strips. Transfer to the miso mixture. Season with black pepper. Mix well.
- In a large pan over high heat, warm ½ tablespoon vegetable oil. Add the beef and cook until cook through. Taste and adjust with salt and sugar. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Prepare a small bowl of water (drinkable). Wet both of your hands with the water. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on one palm. Rub both hands together. Take ½ cup of warm rice and slightly pat down onto one hand. Make a dent in the middle. Add about 1 tablespoon of beef. Carefully cover up the beef with the rice around the edges and roll the whole thing into a ball. Use both of your palms to gently pressure the rice ball into a triangle shape. Repeat with the rest of the rice.
- When ready to serve, wrap each rice ball with a piece of seaweed and sprinkle with furikake. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
- I used white miso, because I have leftover at home. You can also use red miso or a mixture of both. But red miso tends to be saltier, you may have to use less when cooking.
- Thinly sliced beef can be bought in Asian supermarkets, like Mitsuwa, 99 Ranch and H-mart.
- If you can’t find thinly sliced beef, you can use ground beef as well.
- The beef should taste saltier and stronger than normal, because they are used as filling.
- Do not wrap onigiri with nori (seaweed) until ready to serve. Seaweed gets soggy real quick.
- Furikake is a dried seasoning for rice. It adds extra flavors to the onigiri. They come in many flavors, like salmon, seaweed, shrimp, bonito. The classic is the seaweed, which is what I used in this recipe. It is best with the miso beef. You can find Furikake in most Asian supermarkets or from Amazon.