This recipe was inspired by a Tasty video for crispy onigiri that popped up on my Facebook feed, and turned out really well, though it’s not *technically* teriyaki sauce, since it doesn’t include mirin. Mirin isn’t available where I live, and this recipe makes a great halal alternative.
Chicken Teriyaki Onigiri
1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts
1.5 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 cloves grated garlic
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. sushi vinegar (I used this as a replacement for mirin)
1 medium carrot, grated
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced and then chopped fairly small
Neutral oil, salt & pepper
Green onion (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp. mayo
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
Mix the cornstarch with enough water to form a slurry. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, honey, sesame oil and sushi vinegar. Stir to combine.
Chop the chicken into small chunks and add half the marinade. Marinate for :30 – 1 hour.
While the chicken is marinating, cook your rice (I make mine simply with 1c. sushi rice + 1 Tbsp. sesame oil + 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, a big pinch salt + 2c. water cooked on the rice setting of my electronic cooker).
When your rice is done, remove to a bowl to cool a bit.
Reduce the other half of the marinade until thickened over low heat and set aside.
Grate the carrot and chop the pepper thinly. Set aside.
Thinly slice the green pepper and set aside.
Mix the mayo and remaining 2 Tbsp. soy sauce in a small dish and set aside.
Add 1 Tbsp. neutral oil to a medium pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and sauté, moving frequently so the sugar in the sauce doesn’t burn, until cooked through. Sprinkle with a little salt and a generous amount of white pepper (or less – or black pepper – you do you).
Set the chicken aside. Add 1 Tbsp. neutral oil to the pan and put back over the heat.
Add the carrot and pepper and sauté until soft. Add 1 Tbsp. of the reserved and reduced marinade. Stir to combine and let cook another minute or two. Set aside.
You’re ready to assemble your onigiri, and this process goes pretty quick.
I made myself an assembly line – a little dish of water to coat my hands in so the rice doesn’t stick, rice, the dish of soy sauce mayo, chicken, veggies, sliced green onions, sesame seeds, and nigiri sheets that have been cut in half.
To assemble: dip your hands in the water, grab a small hand full of rice, and press into a flat (ideally triangular shape but I couldn’t make that happen) shape. Make a small dent in the middle of the rice. Spread some of the flavored mayo all the way to the edges of the rice. Add a couple chunks of chicken (I used 3), about a Tablespoon of veggies, and a couple slices green onions. Fold your fingers up, turning your hand and the rice into kind of a cup. With your other hand, push the chicken into that cup as you continue folding your fingers up, enclosing the chicken and veggies into a rice case. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and lay on one of the halved nori sheets. Roll up into a burrito looking roll, wetting one end of the nori to seal everything together.
I know this sounds really awkward, but you’re basically doing what you would do to stuff a burger with cheese, if that makes sense. I went gentle and slow and didn’t worry too much about overstuffing each ball. Needless to say, I had a bunch of leftover chicken; enough for dinner for two + lunch the next day.