Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ita-wakame onigiri with donabe brown rice...This year's HB kick-off

I brought back an unique kind of seaweed from my last trip back to Japan.

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It's a delicacy called "Ita Wakame" (sheet wakame seaweed) from Shimane Prefecture of Japan. It's wild-caught paper-thin dried young wakame seaweed. Because it's so thin, you don't need to rehydrate it before eating it. You can use it almost like nori (roasted) seaweed. Ita Wakame is extremely rich in minerals and different vitamins. Also, while the kind I got was all natural (with no seasoning), it's packed with umami flavors with slight saltiness from the ocean.

We were going to our first Hollywood Bowl concert of this year, so I made simple onigiri (rice balls) with my double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", and used Ita Wakame for it. First, I made simple brown rice (2 rice-cups) with Kamado-san, and tossed the rice with 4 tablespoons of roasted golden sesame and 2/3 teaspoon of sea salt.

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In a small cup, lined with a piece of plastic wrap, I lightly spread some Ita Wakame (I broke it roughly by hand). Then, I added 1/5 of rice and covered the top with more broken Ita Wakame. I gently wrapped the rice with the plastic and formed it into a triangle-shape ball. The key is that you have to do all the process while the rice is still very hot.

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Before the show at Hollywood Bowl, we were invited to a picnic event. It was fun.

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Once the concert started, we were hungry again and it was time for our Ita Wakame onigiri! It was fantastic. The seaweed softened up nicely and the brown rice was nicely seasoned with it.

The event was called, "Big In Japan", with the headliner YMO (Yellow Magic Orchestra). We had a fun time!

Happy donabe life.