Portable snacks with USA (Brown) Rice

Rice. Such a versatile grain with so many different varieties. Nutrient rich and naturally gluten-free, rice is one of my favourite starches to work with. So naturally I was extremely happy to be invited to participate in the USA (Brown) Rice Blogger Challenge where I received three samples of brown rice with which to create a portable (i.e. can be eaten utensil-free and without additional preparation required) recipe made with brown rice.

I was intrigued by the short-grain brown rice and my mind immediately turned to something with a Japanese flavour.  A few years ago when Neil and I and some of our friends went on a cleanse (hey – don’t judge!), the only sort of starch we were really allowed was brown rice and our “exciting dining out” during one of the three weeks included brown rice sushi.  Since I don’t really “do” fish, and especially raw fish, I of course ordered vegetarian sushi (I know, I know, what’s the point. Again, don’t judge!) and was immediately hooked.  Now, when I eat sushi and it’s on the menu, I will always choose brown rice version. True, it doesn’t stick together as well as traditional sushi rice but I love the nutty flavour and the slightly chewier texture and it really works with Japanese flavours.

Something I have been meaning to try for a while that seemed like a perfect match for this challenge is onigiri, a traditional Japanese snack made from white rice and formed into triangular or oval shapes, often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, they are filled with some type of salty (pickled) or sour ingredient which acts as a natural preservative. Onigiri are so popular in Japan that many convenience stores sell them whilst there are even specialized take-out onigiri shops! (Thanks Wikipedia for a quick primer!)

My friend Rachael did a wonderful blog post with step-by-step instructions for making these delightful Japanese snacks.  Traditionally made with regular sushi rice, I wondered if they might work with short-grain brown rice.  Since Rachael used leftover  flavoured rice, I needed to flavour my rice somehow and decided to use some of the same flavours I used in my contribution to the Peko Peko Charity Cookbook. I followed the directions I was given to cook the short grain rice (not in my rice cooker!) and it turned out perfectly.  You could, of course, use leftover rice like Rachael did.

For me, this dish, whilst not traditionally Japanese in its technique, worked really well as a “portable snack.” No reheating necessary, they travel well and require no utensils at all. Easy to make, easy to eat and no clean-up – what could be better?

For more information about rice, please visit the USA Rice website and don’t miss the how to cook rice videos!

Keep up with me this summer through my Summer 2011 Flickr set. I will be updating this with day to day pictures (read: not all food photos!) fairly regularly so head on over there if you are interested. You never know what or who you might see there, like, you know… Dorie….


47 thoughts on “Portable snacks with USA (Brown) Rice”

  1. My daughter loves to make onigiri so I will have to show her your fab version using brown rice. Hope you’re having a brilliant time in Paris!

  2. I have tried and tried and tried to like brown rice and I just can’t. I know I should. I know it’s far healthier but… it doesn’t do it for me at all. And I refuse to eat anything with mushrooms in it. icky!

    But, i HAD to comment anyway because, I LOVE your first photo! (the dipping sauce sounds pretty yummy too!)

  3. They look absolutely delicious. Love the idea and the Japanese flavours. Even better that they’re so healthy. Feel like dipping in there and feeling cleansed! (No, I’m not judging, lol) 🙂

  4. I absolutely loved snacking on onigiri growing up! It keeps you full and it’s tasty too. Yours look beautiful, especially with that dipping sauce on the side! And, I have a weak spot for cutely shaped lunch boxes like the ones you have there.

  5. Just like you said this dish is easy to clean up! And looks easy to prepare, i love japanese cuisine, it must be delicious!

  6. I love this idea. Never thought of making portable rice snacks and these look like the perfect snack from when I am starving in front of my computer! Love it!

  7. I love Onigiri but never make them using brown rice. Looks like a healthy snack for me! Thanks for sharing the recipe!


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