3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 teaspoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups short grain (sushi) rice (I used brown)
4cm strip of kombu/dried kelp (optional)
1-2 teaspoons crushed chilli (to taste)
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons miso paste
250g skin-on salmon
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 spring onion, finely sliced
togarashi seasoning, to serve
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ green cabbage, finely sliced
¼ red cabbage, finely sliced
1 x 5g packet nori snacks

I have been having a weird craving for onigiri lately… I want to go back to Japan. I love the fact that the onigiri you buy at the 7-Eleven, and stores like that, was just so delicious. The best ones came with the nori separated by the packaging, so it stayed lovely and crisp. I can’t read Japanese so it was always a lucky dip with fillings, but a very happy day when I got a spicy, fishy, mayo one. This is not a traditional onigiri – where the filling would be covered completely with rice in a very neat package – as I like a bit more filling for these versions, so I am okay with a more haphazard shape.


1.In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons caster sugar and the salt and set aside.
2.Put the rice into a colander and wash under cold running water, shaking the rice around to ensure it is washed well.
3.Leave the rice to drain for 30 minutes (this starts the grains absorbing water).
4.Place the rice in a medium saucepan, add the kombu, if using, and cover with 3 cups of water.
5.Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce to a very low simmer, cover and cook without stirring for 10 minutes for white rice and 20 minutes for brown rice.
6.Take off the heat and leave to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
7.Tip the rice into a bowl and remove the kombu.
8.Pour over the vinegar mixture and fold it through the rice with a wooden spoon, stirring well to increase the stickiness of the rice. Set aside to cool.
9.In a small bowl stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar along with the chilli, mirin and miso paste, to make a marinade. Stir until smooth.
10.Remove the skin from the salmon and set aside.
11.Add the salmon to the marinade and coat well.
12.Set aside for about 30 minutes.
13.Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan to medium hot and add the salmon skin, cooking until crisp. Set aside.
14.Add the salmon to the pan and cook for about 1 minute on each side until just charred.
15.Set aside to cool slightly.
16.Slice the salmon and combine with the mayonnaise and a teaspoon or two of the remaining marinade.
17.Divide the rice into 6 portions.
18.Take one portion and divide in half.
19.Using wet hands, press half the portion to a flat round about 10cm diameter (you can use an egg ring or cookie cutter to get perfectly round circles if you like).
20.Spread over one sixth of the salmon then top with the other half of the rice, pressing down evenly.
21.Sprinkle with sesame seeds, pressing them into the rice to stick.
22.Repeat with remaining rice and filling.
23.Heat the remaining oil in a clean frying pan.
24.Fry the onigiri for about 5 minutes on each side until nice and golden and crisp, using a pastry brush to brush with soy sauce towards the end of cooking.
25.Serve topped with the spring onion, crisp salmon skin and a sprinkle of togarashi seasoning along with the cabbage and seaweed salad.
27.In a bowl, stir together the lemon juice, vinegar, caster sugar and salt then toss through the cabbage.
28.Set aside for at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to slightly pickle the cabbage.
29.Just before serving, slice the nori into thin pieces and sprinkle over the salad.
30.Serve immediately.

Recipes and food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles

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