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Krebstar5 3:25pm, 8 January 2007
I would like to try making onigiri, but I don't have a rice cooker. Usually when I make rice, I will make it the night before and then turn it into fried rice the next morning so that it will soften up again before I put it into my bento.

I know that white rice can often get really hard and dry if you leave it in the fridge overnight. This leaves me with a problem, if I make onigiri, does that mean it will be rock hard by the time I put in my bento in the morning? Does everyone just make and eat their onigiri on the same day? Are their any storage tricks to keep your rice soft?

As I am still a newbie to japanese cooking, and advice would be greatly appreciated. ^_^
Collectonian 15 years ago
I make all my bentos the night before, so when i do onigiri I go ahead and mold it and pack it. I've never had any problems with it being hard the next day. I usually like to warm mine up a little before eating, but even before warming I've touched it and its never been hard. I think as long as you store it in a good container and maybe go ahead and shape it, it will be okay the next day. Mine may stay soft too because when I pack it, it is usually still just a little warm so there is some condensation that will keep the air inside the bento tier moist.
Biggie* Posted 15 years ago. Edited by Biggie* (member) 15 years ago
Have a look at this thread from last month: Do I have to get up at 4 am to make onigiri?
Krebstar5 15 years ago
Oh, thank you both. I'll have to start experiementing.
tigerbelly 15 years ago
Huh! I had no idea you could make onigiri the night before & refrigerate them without problems! I've had such bad luck putting rice in the fridge in the past (it does get all mealy & crumbly) that I didn't even try it.

I did buy myself a small capacity rice cooker as a treat a few months ago, so I set it up at night to cook on timer in the AM. I make my onigiri fresh in the AM and don't refrigerate my bentos. I have a little mold, and it only takes me 5 minutes max to make them. I'll note I kind of *have* to have a rice cooker, as it seems the one thing I can never seem to cook properly is RICE. Who knows why, but I'm cursed!

I think the comment about the condensation from a slightly warm onigiri keeping it soft is probably spot on.
Collectonian 15 years ago
Agreed on the rice cooker! Since I got one not too long ago, I can finally enjoy rice that isn't slightly undercooked! I absolutely love it! My rice always come out perfect now! :-)
Krebstar5 15 years ago
Hmm, can anyone reccomend a rice cooker that isn't too pricey? Or perhaps I should have started a new thread for that one...
Ginrei 15 years ago
I got an "Aroma" brand 8-cup rice cooker for $24 at Target the other day. I cooked my first rice with it yesterday, and it turned out wonderful! (It even comes with a little recipe book!)
...I've never made onigiri, though, and am a little scared to try because I don't know what kind of things to put inside... =)
OMBF / Obiwan Bento Posted 15 years ago. Edited by OMBF / Obiwan Bento (member) 15 years ago
Almost anything that tastes good and isn't too gloppy can go inside onigiri. (There's a great tutorial - illustrated!) at cookingcute.com.

Plain rice is the classic & original flavor. Riced mixed with furikake is the first level of fancy-ment. Next comes stuffing with such things as umeboshi, tuna-n-mayo (fabulous), your favorite kind of cooked/seasoned fish or meat, or anything you feel bold enough to try. Myself, I'm partial to the firmer bits of mango chutney.
natakiya 15 years ago
I make some of my mini-onigiri in advance and then freeze them, putting them originally in a flat container to freeze and making sure that they are not touching each other :) When I am ready to eat them I put them on a plate, sprinkle each with a little bit of warm water and pop them in the microwave for 1 minute (or less if there are only one or two onigiri).

They come out a little bit more likely to fall apart than freshly made ones, but definately edible and not at all mealy like in the fridge.

Hope this helps :)
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