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Tanuki Okaka Onigiri Recipe

Our comfort food: Tanuki Onigiri (or Tanuki Okaka Onigiri) — we used to have this after our rounds at the Uni Auction (when it was still at Tsukiji). 

This came highly recommended by our partner at Tsukiji when he noticed that all we picked were the obvious favorites (salmon, Ebi). 

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Pic taken in 2016, Tokyo.

We were SO blown away after we had our first, then it became a ritual for us every time we had to go over for work. 

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This humble Onigiri cost us only Y150 and the description of the fillings is really nothing to shout about. It's literally just Katsuobushi, Tsuyu and Negi (spring onions), but it was SO comforting and satisfying!

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Another Tanuki Onigiri in 2018, Tokyo.

We could see why the natives and the people who worked at Tsukiji would get this over the fancy Onigiri. 

Since we don’t think any of us can have the original one any time soon, we tried making it ourselves at home and, to our surprise, it was equally good!!

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Tanuki Onigiri by Zairyo at home, 2021, Singapore. 


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Please try it~ 

Recipe, for 2 pax

  1. Cooked Rice, 1 uncooked cup of Kinmemai Brown Rice (you can use the White, too)
  2. Katsuobushi, approx. 6 tablespoons
  3. Any Tsuyu (You can use Tempura Senka or Soba Senka too - please do NOT replace with just Shoyu), 1~2 tablespoons (refer to notes)
  4. Chopped Spring Onions, 2 tablespoons

1. Cook rice in rice cooker as you normally would. We'd add 3 tablespoons of water more to cook rice as we like it softer. if not, just cook it as you normally would.

2. While the rice is cooking, prepare the Okaka: In a bowl, combine Katsuobushi, Spring Onions and Tsuyu. Katsuobushi should be moistened but not drenched in sauce, that's why we've indicated 1 to 2 tablespoons. Adjust accordingly. If unsure, it is always better to be moist than dry. 

3. Set up your Onigiri station: a plate of cool clean water (to wet your hands with), and a plate of salt (approx. 1 tablespoon)a

4. Once the rice is cooked, fluff the rice with a rice scoop. Let the rice cool a little bit until you can hold rice without burning your hands. However, DO NOT let the rice completely cool down. If you can't handle the heat even after it's cooled down a while, use an Onigiri mold. 

4. Making the Onigiri:

- First, wet both your hands to prevent rice from sticking to your palms.

- Then salt your palms by dipping 3 fingers into the salt and rubbing them onto your palms. Rub your palms together. 

- Scoop out a handful of rice onto the middle of one palm, and press the middle of the rice so that you make a little well to put the Okaka.

- Put about 1~2 teaspoon of the Okaka in the middle, and mold the rice with your hands to cover your filling completely. If unable to do so, add a little scoop of rice on top to cover the filling.

- Press the rice around the filling to gently form the rice into a triangle. It can also be a ball if it is easier for you. Your hands should be just firm enough so the onigiri doesn’t fall apart, please make sure NOT to squeeze the rice too tightly.

NOTES

- The seaweed would turn soggy if you wrap it around the Onigiri immediately and have it only after a while. 

- We don't recommend leaving the Onigiri exposed out in the open for prolonged periods of time. Like all types of rice, it will harden. 

- We don't recommend keeping it refrigerated as it will harden the rice. But if you really need to, use a cling wrap and wrap the Onigiri once you are done. We kept the wrapped Onigiri in a Ziplock bag just to ensure that the cold air doesn't get to the rice. We leave it out in room temperature the next day an hour before consumption as it should not be heated up.  

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