Hawaiian Breakfast-Style Onigirazu

Onigirazu is a rice ball with one unique history. This dish actually had its start in the pages of Cooking Papa, one of the longest-running manga titles of all time. In one issue, the main character develops this rice-ball sandwich as a quick recipe (his version only takes 5 minutes!). The name itself is a combination of the words onigiri (rice ball, nodding to the process of shaping the rice by hand) and nigirazu (not shaped by hand). Basically, it’s a rice ball without the work of hand-molding.

While traditional onigiri have a relatively limited selection of fillings, onigirazu are much more flexible. While it’s not unusual to see them filled with traditional sushi ingredients, it’s also common to see them filled with tonkatsu or even Western ingredients like a BLT! My recipe is a nod to rich, hearty Hawaiian breakfasts with plenty of spicy Portuguese sausage and eggs cooked just how you like.

Once you get the hang of it, these are quick to form. Here’s a step-by-step process:

First, lay the nori in a diamond shape on a mat. Spread a thin layer of the rice in a square-ish shape on top.
Next, arrange the sausage in a flat layer on top of the rice.
Add the egg over the sausage.
Add another thin layer of rice on top of the egg. (If you cooked yours easy-over, it might be a bit slippery. Just be patient with yourself as you arrange it.)
Bring together all the corners, and fold into a square shape. Wrap it in plastic wrap to let the moisture from the rice absorb into the nori and make it tender.
After about 5 minutes, unwrap the onigirazu and cut it in half with a sharp, wetted knife. (The water will ensure a clean cut.) Voila!

Hawaiian Breakfast-Style Onigirazu

1/2 lb Portuguese sausage, sliced 1/2” thick

1 TBSP oil

4 eggs

4 sheets nori

2 cups cooked rice, warm

In a sauté pan on medium heat, sear the sausage on both sides; cover, and set aside. Place a small sauté pan on medium-low heat with the oil, then fry the eggs one at a time to desired doneness.

Lay out a sheet of nori in a diamond shape, then layer about 1/4 cup of rice in the center in a square shape. Layer the sausage slices and the egg on, then top with another 1/4 cup rice. Fold the corners over the top to make a square shape, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. (If you have an onigirazu mold, you can use that in place of the plastic wrap.) Serve warm.

Makes 4.

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