Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Washoku: Hand-Pressed Rice and Ginger Seared Pork

Wrapped and ready for lunch
You know you are getting comfortable with a cooking style when you feel free to experiment a little, rather than slavishly follow the book.  Going through the grocery store this weekend, I remembered I needed about a pound of pork for Gingery Seared Pork (shoga yaki), but I forgot that the recipe called for a solid piece of pork loin, or shoulder, and I got ground pork instead.  And while I was at it, I changed the recipe slightly, adding a touch of rice vinegar and a couple drops of sesame oil. 

Ginger seared pork - with a few tweaks of my own
It's not a pretty recipe (at least not when made with ground pork) but it is definitely tasty.

And since I had all this seasoned ground pork, why not try hand-pressed rice (omusubi)? I saw them at the Japan Festival a month ago, and I thought "they're just filled rice balls, how hard can it be?"

rice balls, ready to be filled
Harder than you think. Rice doesn't want to mold around things, and it doesn't stick to what you want it to stick to. I have a feeling that's why you can buy molds to make these. I wanted to make the popular triangle shape, but roundish blob was more my speed. Even my nori (dried seaweed decorating the outside) tore and didn't want to stay put.

filled with pork and some cucumber, for crunch
They are not the prettiest omusubi in the world, but they taste pretty good, and that's all that matters, right?

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