Rice balls or "onigiri" are a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative. Because of the popularity of onigiri in Japan, most convenience stores stock their onigiri with various fillings and flavors. There are even specialized shops whose only products are onigiri for take out.
Five Fun Rice Facts:
- Rice is the second highest worldwide production after maize (corn). Since maize is mostly grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain for human consumption.
- There are more than 40,000 varieties of rice that grow on every continent except on Antarctica.
- Rice is a symbol of life and fertility, which is why rice was traditionally throw at weddings.
- Japanese people believe it is important to not waste rice, so it you leave rice in your bowl it is considered to be rude.
- There is enough rice that grows in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri to rank the USA as the twentieth largest rice producer in the world and the second largest exported of rice. About half of all the rice grown in the USA is exported.
Five Rice Recipes:
- Tempura Sushi rolls- Victoria says: This is my go-to dinner when I haven’t gone grocery shopping. Who doesn’t have seaweed in the pantry and imitation crab in the freezer? Some people think of sushi as an appetizer, but this is a complete filling meal. I use homemade panko (my leftover challah processed) for the breadcrumbs. When it comes time to dip, my children love the sweet sauce; my husband and I prefer the spicy mayo.
- Wild Rice Pancakes- You can warm the maple syrup in the microwave so it doesn’t cool off the pancakes when it’s poured on top.
- Dairy-Free Banana Rice Pudding- So this is a non-dairy dessert that is so good your kids won't even know. Wow them next Shabbat.
- Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Black Sticky Rice- A take on the classic Southeast Asian dessert of fresh mango with coconut white sticky rice, this version has grilled pineapple served over cardamom-infused coconut black sticky rice. The consistency should be that of a loose rice pudding, though black sticky rice is always chewy. For an equally delicious dessert, use grilled banana or mango instead of pineapple.
- Jeweled Golden Rice- Inspired by a classic Persian recipe, this eye-catching fruit- and nut-studded rice dish goes well with roast poultry. Here, the colorful "jewels" are fresh and dried cherries, chopped celery, green onion and mixed nuts. The dish is prepared ahead, making it very convenient for entertaining.
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Nutrition information for a one cup serving of long grain white rice, cooked:
Fat: 0.4 g
Carbohydrates: 45 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 2 mg
Protein: 4 g
Sugars: 0 g