Brown Rice Yaki Onigiri with Bacon and Avocado
Makes 4 servings
4 cups cooked Japanese-style brown rice, freshly prepared and still hot
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 slices bacon, cooked and cut in half
1 ripe avocado, chopped into large chunks and tossed with 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice), to taste
1. Spread the hot rice out into a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle half of the salt over the rice, then toss the rice with light cutting and folding motions to distribute (without crushing the grains of rice). Sprinkle the rice with the remaining salt and toss to distribute.
2. Divide the rice into four portions. Wet both hands with warm water, then shake off the excess. Place one portion of rice in a cupped hand, then firmly, but gently (don’t smash the grains of rice!), squeeze the rice between cupped hands to form it into a ball. Then form the ball into a triangular shape by cupping one hand to form a corner, and turning the ball to shape it into a triangle. To make the traditional triangular shape, cup your hand sharply to form each corner, and keep turning it until you are happy with the shape. Set the onigiri aside on a plate and shape the remaining portions. Let the onigiri sit for several minutes to let the surfaces dry out slightly. This will give them a better crust and help prevent them from sticking to the pan when toasting them.
3. Lightly grease a large frying pan or saute pan, then heat over medium heat. Place the onigiri in the pan, and toast them on all sides until they have developed a crisp crust, about 10 minutes total. Then brush the onigiri with soy sauce and continue toasting for another 3 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and serve topped with a slice of bacon, avocado, and sprinkled with shichimi togarashi.