It was on the afternoon that we went to Fushimi Inari that we discovered meat-wrapped rice balls. We weren’t exactly in a good mood after our tour guide stood us up. And the crowd was so thick that it was impossible to take photos of the torii gates without people’s heads visible from just about every angle.
But there was food. Speedy and I discovered an alley lined with street food while waiting for our daughters who were browsing the souvenir shops. Everything looked so delectable but, as much as we wanted to try them all, there is a limit to the capacity of the human stomach. What we weren’t able to try, we noted and went on to make our home version.
There they are. Meat-wrapped rice balls discovered in a street food alley on the grounds of Fushimi Inari in Kyoto. They were available plain or flavored. The flavors included cheese, green onion mayo. seasoned cod roe mayo, ginger and kimchi. They were calling out to me, I tell you.
Why didn’t we try them? Honestly, because we were already too full. The girls already had oversized kani and takoyaki, and we had grilled pork belly and Kobe beef. It really would have been too harsh on our digestive enzymes to eat more.
My daughter, Alex, made this home version later. With bacon. They’re smaller than the ones at Fushimi Inari so you can enjoy more than one without feeling bloated.
Teriyaki bacon rice balls
- 2 cups newly cooked Japanese rice
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 8 rashers belly bacon
For the teriyaki sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup mirin
- ¼ cup sake
- Spread the hot rice on a tray, drizzle in the rice vinegar and stir gently until cool.
- Form the seasoned rice into eight balls.
- Preheat the broiler (top heat of the oven) to 400F.
- Wrap each rice ball with a bacon rasher.
- Arrange the bacon wrapped rice balls on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper or a silicone mat, and broil for about 20 to 25 minutes until the edges of the bacon are lightly browned.
- While the rice balls are in the oven, boil together all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce until reduced in half.
- Take the rice balls out of the oven and brush generously with teriyaki sauce. Do this three or more times to allow the bacon to absorb the sauce.
- Put the rice balls back in the broiler and cook for another five minutes or so or until the teriyaki sauce caramelizes.
- Optionally, sprinkle the teriyaki bacon rice balls with toasted sesame seeds before serving.