bento love: how to make sushi rice balls

 

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kid-made perfection

 

So now that we have bento bags, of course we need to fill them.  Once you have the rice molds, you can really fill these up with anything you want.  There's extra ideas below.  If you have rice on hand, it only takes 10 minutes to make these.  We always have rice on hand, thanks to our restaurant-style rice steamers.  This is a nice way to get veggies into the kids ~ I just put out several options & they fill them.  It also helps to take them shopping.  Mahal & I took a late-night jaunt to the Asian market & he surprised me by grabbing fresh seaweed salads & beautiful tiny white enoki mushrooms.  He usually can't stand mushrooms, but couldn't resist the tiny white caps on the long, skinny stems.  But you can get ingredients at any grocery store.  As usual, this project works for any age, even a baby.  This is a very satisfying project for kids ~ like most Japanese crafts, you can't help but feel like some kind of master craftsman when you're done.

 

Materials
2 Cups of leftover sushi rice
1 Cup Enoki Mushrooms (any kind works, really)
1 T. Olive Oil or Butter
1 package of Inari Wrappers (fried sweet soy crusts)
Nori strips (dried sea weed)
Gomasio (toasted sesame seeds + sea salt) or Sesame seeds

 

Tools
Small Saucepan + wooden spoon
Plastic Rice Molds

 

Step 1 
Chop & Saute the mushrooms in the butter or oil

 

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Step 2 
Fold in the rice & 3 T. of Gomasio

 

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Step 3
Cut the inari wrappers into strips.  Place on a plate with the nori.

 Step 4
Place rice in a bowl with a spoon.  Lay out the rice mold.

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Step 5
Fill the bottom half of the mold with rice.  Pat down with spoon.

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Step 6
Add fillings

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Step 7
Add more rice & place lid on mold.  Press down tightly.

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Step 8
Remove lid & invert onto plate or into bento box.

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Step 9
Eat!

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Other possible fillings:

Breakfast: Smoked Salmon + Tamago ~ scrambled egg.  With a pinch of sugar + green onions + soy sauce.
Boy's Favorite: Crispy Tuna + Capers
Flip-Style: Sardines  + Chopped Tomatoes, Lemon juice + Soy sauce
Hawaiian-Style: Spam + Chopped Fried Egg + Pineapple.  Although I use crisped seitan, not Spam.