The wakame gives off a smell and taste of the sea while the salty bacon adds just enough fat to prevent the dish from having that dry mouth feel. The sesame seeds and oil provide a bold nutty aroma and flavor. The rice vinegar rounds off all the flavors in the dish.
Where did I get the inspiration? From NHK World where many recipes are a lovely mix of traditional and modern, and the results are often fantastic. This crispy bacon, wakame and sesame onigiri is one of those that qualify as fantastic.
Of course, I gave the dish my own spin. Seasoning the rice a la sushi, with rice vinegar and a dash of sesame seed oil, was my idea. So was the addition of toasted sesame seeds. The latter was an attempt to make good use of leftover toasted sesame seeds from the previous day’s mung bean sprouts and spinach salad.
Everything just blended together perfectly. So, so good! Bacon and wakame onigiri is something you’ll want to make again and again.
Bacon and wakame onigiri
- Rinse the rice several times until the water runs clear. Drain. Place in the rice cooker and pour in three cups of water. Cook.
- While the rice cooks, place the dried wakame in a bowl and pour in enough hot water to cover.
- Chop the bacon and cook in an oil-free frying pan until browned and lightly crisp. Drain (save the bacon fat for future use).
- When the rice is done, transfer to a shallow bowl and mix lightly to separate the grains. Pour in the rice vinegar and sesame seed oil. Stir to blend.
- Drain the wakame and squeeze out excess water. Finely chop.
- Add the bacon, chopped wakame and sesame seeds to the rice. Mix to combine. Taste. Add salt, if needed, and mix again.
- Form into balls or triangles to make onigiri (see how to use an onigiri molder).
- Serve your bacon and wakame onigiri as a snack, for breakfast, or as a side dish to meat, seafood or vegetable main dish.