Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Growing up my mom would prepare my brothers and me bento boxes which we took to school for lunch. A bento is a single take-out or homecooked meal originating in Japan and is typically colorful, creative, cute, and well balanced. Many mothers in Japan take bento 🍱 very seriously and will even attend classes that teach how to create adorable and delectable food for their kid's meals. These will typically include an assortment of meticulously crafted lovable animal faces/shapes. It's funny that the other kids would make remarks on such special and thoughtful lunches - I would often receive unkind comments about how it looked or smelled, which I think is pretty common for Asian kids. However, now as adults, these foods (like sushi) are considered a luxury. Because of this, I used to ask my mom to not make the bento lunches she worked hard on and instead opt for a sandwich. It has been many years since then and I have learned to embrace the delicious culture rich food I grew up with. So today I would like to share a spicy tuna onigiri recipe. Onigiri is a rice ball shaped into a triangle and is a staple food in bento. It is virtually impossible to go into any convenience store in Japan without stumbling across this fantastic and umami comfort food. Onigiri can be made out of only plain rice but will normally include some type of nutritional protein filling/salad. This spicy tuna onigiri stores and packs well making it a wonderful snack or meal. Here I paired it with some cucumber salad (recipe on my blog), octopus-shaped hot dogs, vegetables, and tamagoyaki (卵焼き - Japanese Omelette). Enjoy with my matcha 🍵 latte recipe and you have a delicious, healthy, 🍱 meal that you can take anywhere!
1 1/2 cups Japanese short-grain/sushi rice🍚
2 oz can tuna
3 tablespoons Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie brand)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
dried seaweed (nori)
1 teaspoon dashi (optional)
Cook the rice according to package instructions.
When the rice is done cooking fluff with a fork or spatula. Set aside until warm so that you can shape the rice.
In a separate bowl combine drained canned tuna, soy sauce, mayo, dashi, and Siracha.
You can form the onigiri using a mold or your hands. If not using a mold, set a bowl of water aside to lightly wet your hands then sprinkle salt on them to help prevent the rice from sticking and add flavor. Take a portion of rice in one hand and add the tuna filling on top. Add more rice until the tuna is covered and form a ball.
Begin molding the warm rice by gently cupping your hands in a U-shape to create an equilateral triangle with three equal sides, rotating occasionally.
Take a piece of dried seaweed and place it on one side of the onigiri or wrap it around one corner. Add another 1 teaspoon of tuna on the top corner (optional). Serve immediately or wrap in cling wrap to preserve.