Bento: Kimchi Fried Rice Onigiri

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In the past six months or so, I’ve become semi-obsessed with bento, the traditional Japanese lunch and the boxes they’re packed in. [Go look at Cooking Cute and tell me you're not struck with both awe and envy.]

During the week, I usually just pack my husband’s Mr. Bento knock-off or Lock&Lock set with leftovers from the night before, but on Sundays I have a little more time and energy to try something new.

Onigiri![The color is wonky, but you get the idea.] For never having made onigiri before, I’m really quite pleased with how they came out. They held together well, and I think the cabbage in the kimchi kept the onigiri from drying out in the lunchbox overnight.

There was no real recipe, just one of those throw stuff in and hope it turns out well things, but here’s what’s in them (as far as I remember):

  • leftover medium-grain rice
  • diced kimchi
  • chicken broth
  • soy sauce
  • basil
  • nori seaweed to wrap

With a little oil in the pan, I sauteed some diced up kimchi. Cooking kimchi seems to keep the spiciness and other flavors, but removes the funky fermented taste (which I love but my husband is not as keen on). I crumbled up the cold rice and added it with a little chicken broth to rehydrate it and to make it stickier. After a little soy sauce and some basil, I let it cool enough so I could handle it and packed it into an onigiri mold (like this one). I cut some strips of nori and wrapped them up. I managed to fit three onigiri in the box, which my husband says was enough, in addition to the pickled radish, tomatoes, and Greek yogurt they were packed with.

The finished product.
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