Onigiri are traditional Japanese rice balls usually stuffed with pickled and/or salty items. Sometimes they are wrapped in nori seaweed. But stuff them with nut butter and jam and you have a portable energy bomb that makes what amounts to near perfect fuel when on the go. My go-to habit recently is to grab one of these balls before a big ride, not so much to help power my pedal stroke but because each stuffed ball of rice is so darn delicious.
1 cup white short-grain sticky rice
2 tablespoons sugar
5 teaspoons peanut butter or almond butter
5 teaspoons jam of choice
Wash rice to remove surface starch by placing the grains in a bowl and cover rice with cold water. Swirl the rice with your hand and then drain off the milky liquid. Repeat 3 or 4 times until the water becomes nearly clear.
Place rice, 1 1/2 cups rice and a pinch of salt in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Sprinkle on sugar, remove pan from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Gently stir rice.
When cool enough to handle, place a heaping spoonful of rice into damp hands. Make an indentation in the rice and scoop in about 1/2 teaspoon each nut butter and jam. Use your hands to form rice into a ball around the nut butter and jam, adding more rice if needed to cover the filling. Repeat with remaining ingredients, making sure to keep hands damp so rice does not stick to hands. You should get about 10 balls. Chill balls for at least 2 hours to help them firm up.
In Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports & Adventure, award-winning dietitian Matt Kadey offers up 120 delicious, creative, and convenient real-food recipes to power your everyday exercise and weekend adventures.
Rocket Fuel is available now in bookstores, outdoors stores, and online from these online retailers:
Barnes & Noble
Chapters/Indigo and MEC.ca in Canada
Food photography by Aaron Colussi.