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OMBF / Obiwan Bento 10:48pm, 14 December 2006
Well, I tried making onigiri from refrigerated sticky rice; I warmed it up first so it came out fairly well.

Then I froze them. They are nasty when they defrost: dry, crumbly, hardly recognizable as rice at all. Not puke-worthy, but strictly from hunger!

What I want to know is: is it even possible to make decent onigiri in advance, like the night before? Are they edible after refrigeration? If so, how long do they stay edible?
OMBF / Obiwan Bento 15 years ago
I'm figuring it out slowly. Just made about a dozen mini-onigiri with Lundberg's Short Grain Brown rice (and just added a couple photos to my photostream for gloating purposes). They're in the fridge now, waiting for me to eat them starting tomorrow.
Collectonian 15 years ago
I make all of my bentos the afternoon or evening before because I go to work around 7:30 am. I've done onigiri several times and they have been fine for lunch at noon the next day, even when made almost 24 hours earlier.

I have not tried it with brown rice, though it has worked fine with both jasmine and sushi rices.
Biggie* 15 years ago
You can freeze them (individually wrapped, without the nori), just nuke them in the microwave afterwards to warm them up and make them soft. Don't defrost them in the refrigerator or on the counter or they'll be hard and nasty.
cloudswinger 15 years ago
I believe the Japanese didn't have refrigeration when onigiri was invented. My parents never had a problem eating rice that was left out overnight. But now they have one of those rice cookers that keep the steam in, so they just leave it on all the time. Then you have hot rice in the morning anyway.
OMBF / Obiwan Bento 15 years ago
Lamascus, thanks for your input. As I understand it, frozen onigiri should go straight from freezer to microwave - is that what you meant?

Collectonian, how do you get jasmine rice to stick together?
Biggie* 15 years ago
That's right, one_more. I've also nuked them straight from the refrigerator as well with no issue. Some Japanese-lang. cookbooks recommend adding a little bit of rice vinegar to the cooking water for any rice that's going to be put into bento -- keeps it from spoiling when it's left out at room temperature. I tend to do what cloudswinger's parents do: leave dinner rice in the rice cooker until morning, then make it into onigiri for the day (or freeze).
Collectonian 15 years ago
I form it will it is still very hot and press tightly. Then treat them with kid gloves, though larger ones usually fall apart when I eat them. It works best when you are using a mold that you are using pressure to form the shape. :-)
OMBF / Obiwan Bento 15 years ago
Well, I ate the tuna onigiri at lunch today. RAVISHING - but just a little fragile. Fortunately I only lost one bite when it fell from my chopsticks, bounced out of my bento, and hurtled to the ground :)
featherbed 15 years ago
jasmine and brown rice are not as glutinous and sticky as regular asian rice, you might have to modify or at least cook them differently or not rinse them as much to make them as sticky, to my mind jasmine and brown rice are tasty as other treats but not so good for onigiri, not as satisfying, i would rather have them under a sauce rather than in a ball.

good luck tho!
FrenchBento 15 years ago
i always make my rice, onigiris, and generally bento food the previous night. No way i'm cooking fresh out of bed.
so, my rice and onigiris are refrigirated overnight (i've forgoten rice out overnight sevral time and it's still fine), and it's still great for lunch the next day.
OMBF / Obiwan Bento 15 years ago
I notice that onigiri get more fragile the longer they are refrigerated, but a quick zap in the microwave (say 20 seconds for one serving) pulls them right back together. Can't do it with tuna/mayo, though, so I have to eat those fresh. Yummm.
♫ bunnychan εїз 15 years ago
the best thing to do for onigiri is do the same morning of the day you eat, is simple ^^
just enough you have a rice cooker,
- you program for the time you need
(I program the vening before so thet at 6.30 in the morning the rice is fresh and cooked)
- you take a mold for onigiri
- you stuff the rice inside with furikake or what you want and you have your onigiri ready !
ENJOY ^^

onigiri is the kind of food which absolutely cannot be frozen !!!
in the way I told you i can make as many onigiri I want and never I waste time, just take me 2 minutes each, normally in the morning i do une onigiri for the bento and the rest odf the rice stays in the rice cooker since evening hot and fresh to be eaten ready when I come home from work ^^
SO SIMPLE ^^
for Joke! 15 years ago
i dont have a rice cooker.

I cook rice the night before, before i go to bed, and just leave it on the stove with the lid closed and the heat off. The next morning i warm it up a little in the microwave (cold rice does not stick as well as warm). I NEVER refrigerate it. Certainly never freeze it!!!
cloudswinger Posted 15 years ago. Edited by cloudswinger (member) 15 years ago
Rice cookers can be pretty cheap. They sell little 3 cup ones for $10. They take only about 10 minutes to cook rice, especially the small quantities. And if you stick it on one of those electrical timers, you can have fresh cooked rice every morning. Or you can buy a nice neuro controlled one for $80-200. But they tend to only come in bigger sizes like 10 cups.
Biggie* Posted 15 years ago. Edited by Biggie* (member) 15 years ago
Well, one of my Japanese-language cookbooks  冷凍保存&使いきり特ワザ (roughly translated:Techniques of Freezer Storage and Using Things Up) put out by respected magazine house Shufu no Tomo (主婦の友新実用BOOKS) says that freezing is a fine way to have rice ready to go when you're in a hurry in the morning. Pg. 104 in particular recommends making yaki-onigiri, wrapping each one individually in plastic wrap, and freezing (defrosting in the microwave). It also says you don't have to grill them beforehand if you don't want, or go ahead and make onigiri out of sekihan or okowa -- and freeze them (the same way). I'll grant you that freshly made onigiri are nicer, but when I lived in Japan for nine years I knew people to make/freeze onigiri when they had too much leftover rice.
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