First of all, Erin took the amazing pictures are Shiloh’s birthday party. I was too devastated by the epic-cake-fail to think about pictures of the stuff that did work…. at least until it was too late. The picture Erin got of the rice balls was fabulous as all her photography is… You can barely see the ones without the nori in the back…
Shiloh loves Japan and everything about it so the menu for her birthday was sweet and sour chicken and rice balls filled with smoked chicken breast and pickled mango. I wrapped some nori around some of them but I didn’t like the look so I made the rest of them with a scoop, and made them about the size of a snowball.
The rice balls are really easy to make and you can fill them with just about anything. I don’t do Bento lunches but I have read that they are really good for that…
Anyway here is how I did the rice balls. Have some tamari, sweet and sour, wasabi, and other condiment sauces to dip into or drizzle on.
Recipe: Simple Japanese Rice Balls
Summary: Easy rice balls filled with tea smoked chicken
- 8 cups medium grain rice, steamed
- Salt to taste
- 1 lb chicken breast, diced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup loose tea (lapsang, oolong, earl grey, whatever you like
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- While the rice is cooking poach the chicken in broth until just done.
- Cover the bottom of a frying pan with foil and place it over medium high heat.
- Add the tea and the brown sugar to the foil. Place the chicken in a steamer basket over the tea mixture.
- When the tea mixture begins to smoke place a cover (preferably clear) over the pan and allow the chicken to smoke for six minutes.
- Remove from heat without taking off the cover and allow the chicken to absorb the smoke for 20 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning and flavor. Shred and set aside. Place a bowl of warm water with 1 tbs salt and 1 tbs sugar in it next to you. Dip your (freshly washed) hands into the water.
- Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out some rice into the palm of your hand.
- Make an indent in the rice and fill with some of the chicken.
- Add more rice to the top, dip your hand in the water and form into a compact ball that holds its shape.
- You can also make these smaller and roll in nori.
- Continue shaping the rice balls until all the rice and chicken is used.
You can use almost any minced, cooked food as filling.
Cooking time (duration): 1 hour
Meal type: side dish
Number of servings: 16
Culinary tradition: Japan
image- (c) Erin Audet Myers, photography