This one’s for Tyson for reminding me that a blog needs to be fed.

Photo: Sunday Japanese breakfast at home. Broiled aji hirakiboshi (split-open, lightly dried horse mackerel), rice, pickles, miso soup, genmai cha (green tea with roasted brown rice).

I woke up this morning craving a Japanese breakfast: miso soup, grilled fish, rice, pickles. I had been collecting all these Japanese products and we hadn’t been fully exhausting the pantry and freezer. Time to make the dashi.

Yesterday I had bought some tofu at the grocery store near my house which is cheap, close and definitely/defiantly NOT going for the Mom’s Organic Market vibe. Even as I picked up the sad little tetrapak I wasn’t expecting much, but this morning when I looked at the package I was horrified to find that it was tofu “lite.” I put it in the miso soup knowing I was making a big mistake. Disgusting. What was I thinking? I had just written on this blog that one need not have tofu in miso soup. It was white tasteless goo, with the texture of pannacotta. Too bad it wasn’t pannacotta, we could have eaten that for a snack with a nice berry sauce. Stupid girl I am. Looks like it’s time to check out Thanh Son Tofu in the Eden Center. But I digress…

Delicious breakfast, and I had enough leftover rice to make a bunch of omusubi (rice balls, perhaps more commonly called onigiri). Leftover rice tip: Rice is much like bread, it keeps much better in the freezer than in the fridge. Of course, if you are making fried rice the next day and need dried out rice, the fridge works. But when I’ve made extra Japanese-style rice—sometimes koshi-hikari from California, uonuma from Niigata when I am jonesing for the supreme stuff—I make omusubi to freeze.

When the rice is still warm, wet your hands, rub your palms with a little salt, and press the rice into thick triangles or round patties (or balls or cylinders, whatever). Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the freezer. When you want rice, you can grill/broil them. Put them in a green tea and dashi broth (to make ocha-zuke). Or eat them grilled and topped with a miso sauce, such as a walnut (kurumi) miso sauce (example at You can also just steam them if you want plain rice.

I got a little overexcited finding this wicked cool Japanese Web site with 100 regional onigiri/omusubi styles. Even if you can’t read Japanese, click on the text around the map to pull up some photos. There are also four categories (click on the the bars at the top of the map) that show: furosato (local style) onigiri, kōraku (sightseeing, picnic) onigiri (with examples for spring, summer, fall, and “late fall”), innovative onigiri for the 21st century, and kihon (basic, fundamental) onigiri.