Onigiri (stuffed rice balls) are a popular snack in Japan. Typically, onigiri is eaten cold but these yaki (meaning "fried") and are best right after frying. Quick frying on a hot pan makes yaki onigiri nicely crispy. These sweet potato and avocado yaki onigiri are made even more yummy when dipped in a homemade teriyaki sauce. The sweet and savory sauce added some extra deliciousness to this little snack.
Yaki Onigiri: Japanese Rice Balls With Sweet Potato and Avocado Filling [Vegan]
For the Rice:
- 1 1/2 cups brown sushi rice
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
- 1/2-1 small sweet potato
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 avocado
- Teriyaki sauce (recipe follows)
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the Teriyaki Sauce:
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 5 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 4 teaspoons corn starch mixed with 4 teaspoons cold water
To Make the Rice:
- Start by washing the rice. Measure rice to the pot and rinse it several times with cold water until the water doesn't seem cloudy anymore and starts to look clear. Drain the rice. Cover the rice with cold water, set the pot to the stove and cover with a lid. As the water boils, turn off the heat. Give it a stir and let the rice absorb the water. After 20-30 minutes the rice should be soft. Drain any excess water.
- In a small cup mix vinegar, sugar and salt and pour the mixture over hot rice. Add sesame seeds and mix thoroughly. Let the rice cool in the room temperature (don’t put it to the fridge because it will dry too much).
To Make the Filling:
- Peel the sweet potato and cut into thin slices. Steam the slices in a steamer until soft. You can also bake them. Peel and slice the avocado.
To Make the Onigiri:
- Line a small measuring cup with kitchen film and put about 1 tbsp cooled rice to it. Press the rice to solid layer. Take one slice of sweet potato (you may need to cut it smaller), dip it to the teriyaki sauce and set over rice. Set also an avocado slice on top of the sweet potato. Cover the filling with some rice and press it to a uniform ball. Lift the onigiri from the cup with kitchen film and shape the rice ball with your hands. Take the film off. Repeat with the rest of the rice and filling ingredients.
- Preheat frying pan and drizzle it with some oil. Fry onigiris over high heat 3-4 minutes per side until crispy and nicely browned. Serve immediately with teriyaki sauce.
To Make the Teriyaki Sauce:
- In a small saucepan combine soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, and sugar. Bring the sauce to boil. In a small cup mix the corn starch with water. Pour corn starch mixture slowly to the sauce while stirring it constantly. Keep stirring until the sauce has thickened. Set the pan off the heat.