What is onigiri?
Onigiri have their origins in the 17th century, as an easily transportable lunch food for travelers. To make sure the rice would not go bad, the rice balls were filled with ingredients that helped preserve them: salted salmon, umeboshi (pickled plums) or other pickles. Nowadays, these sorts of onigiri are still considered the main ones, but modernity and rivalry between the different convenience store chains have led to a great variety of fillings, for the pleasure of Japanese workers and foreign tourists alike. However, parents all over Japan still prefer to prepare them lovingly by hand.
Making and eating your own onigiri
It is now possible to learn how to make them at Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan! Shiho, a Japanese mom with a lot of cooking experience, will teach you how to make delicious onigiri filled with true love.
The rice you will use for the recipe will be very special. It is called Obasute Tanadamai, which comes from the Obasute (姨捨） terraced rice fields, in the mountainous area of Nagano. There, the rice crops are so small everything must be done by hand! The Obasute soil, climate and cultural practice give it a distinctive aroma.
For you to enjoy this aroma fully, the rice will be cooked in a Japanese traditional clay pot. The slow clay pot cooking helps the rice release its aromas. It also gives it a delicious texture that cannot be imitated by modern rice cookers.
You will learn how to take the correct amount of rice, how to fill it and how to press it by hand into its classic triangular shape (other shapes can also be taught if you wish), and finally how to coat it with nori seaweed or sesame. You will choose two sorts of fillings among the following ones:
－Umeboshi (salted plum)
－Young sardines and leaf mustard
Once they are done, it will be time to enjoy them, accompanied with come traditional miso soup and tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelet).
Onigiri cooking class
Conditions : Short cooking class for people staying at Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan only
Time: About one hour
Price: 1500 yen (price includes the teaching and the food)
Languages spoken: English, Japanese