Halloween is almost here! This year, I’m feeling particularly inspired – I think it started with our neighbors decorating their yard with tombstones and skeletons, and I realized I’ve been sad that I haven’t done anything Halloween-y for the past two years (lots of reasons – but mostly around a work life that just ate all my enthusiasm). It helped, too, that the movie for Food ‘n Flix for October was Beetlejuice hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen. Beetlejuice is one of my favorite Halloween movies. First, it’s a Tim Burton film and I love the Burton universe with its over-the-top weird. Second, it’s not a scary, slasher film – I’m not a fan of those. I also discovered, as I was writing this post, that there is another Burton related challenge this month (Fandom Foodies) hosted on Witchy Kitchen. It’s #Burtoween!
So in honor of all things beautiful and strange and Burton-esque, I made Spooky Halloween Onigiri for my Beetlejuice inspired post. I love onigiri – they are such a simple lunch snack to make, consisting of sushi rice, filling and nori. I did a Fubonn run after work on Friday (Fubonn is the spectacular Asian grocery store on 82nd and Division in SE Portland) and bought umeboshi, which are very tart, salty and sweet plums that are used as a filling for onigiri. I used both umeboshi and tomolives (pickled green tomatoes – more about these later this week) as my fillings. The Spooky Halloween Onigiri get their shape from some Wilton Halloween molds from Amazon. These onigiri make such a good lunch. They are perfect as part of a bento box and would be great served with some roasted squash or a small salad. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, they survive fairly well for a day or two in the refrigerator, though if you are planning to store, I recommend keeping the nori separate until you are about to eat (it can get soggy).
I can completely see dancing sushi rice in the Burton universe, as well as onigiri decorated as spooks, bats, and Jack-O-Lanterns. Nori is a perfect decorating tool for these onigiri. I also realized belatedly that onigiri could so easily be decorated as Jack Skelington – I can just see it and probably ought to go make it. I love having fancy onigiri in my lunchbox – it makes me smile in the middle of the day.
These are the molds I used for the onigiri.
That bottom thing is a bat – probably not the best mold for this purpose
Spooky Halloween Onigiri
3/4 cup sushi rice (be sure to use sushi rice – any other rice will not stick together as well)
1 cup water
1 sheet nori
Filling – umeboshi, tomolives, smoked fish, olives, etc. (the best fillings for onigiri are salty or tart – or both)
Combine the sushi rice and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes.
Cut the nori into various shapes to decorate the onigiri. If you are using molds, the nori can be used to make eyes, mouths, etc. or can be used in one long strip to ring the onigiri. Set the nori aside.
When the rice is slightly cool (but still warm to the touch), moisten your hands to keep the rice from sticking to them and shape the rice into the desired shape. Create an indent in the middle of the rice and fill with your chosen fillings. Cover the fillings with more rice or shape the rice around the filling. Decorate with nori and enjoy!