Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rice ball: Japan's silent hero

We are happy to have heard of heroes' stories such as the nuclear workers who are risking their lives to contain the damage at the Fukushima plant, the rescuers, and theIwate hospital chief who saved the only tool for communication of his hospital after which he perished from the approaching giant tsunami.
Little does the world know that there is one shining star during this time of crisis in Japan—the rice ball or the so-called onigiri or omusubi.
This popular Japanese food is made from steamed rice in a cute rounded-triangle shape. It is filled with fish or pickle inside.
Imagine not eating the usual foods you enjoy everyday. The humble rice ball brings smile on the victims’ faces. It is a comfort food to them.
When I was living in Japan, I saw the Japanese take the delicious onigiri as lunch when they go to their work or school. You will never miss them in picnics.
Particularly during this time when they have rolling power outage and some displaced people are in shelter houses, the Japanese make lots of rice balls to store for later consumption. These rice balls have long shelf life especially when you add a bit of salt.
My Filipino friend who has been a resident in Japan for almost three decades is an expert in making onigiri. She fills the rice balls with Philippines' most popular food—adobo. Her rice balls are Filipino-Japanese in a way. And her Japanese husband and kids love it. I like it too. Oishii!
Here are the ingredients of Japanese rice ball:
Freshly steamed white Japanese-style rice—about 1 cup per onigiri
Umeboshi (Pickled plum), stones removed—about half cup per onigiri
Cut sheets of toasted nori seaweed
For instructions how to make rice balls, please visit this link.

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