Green Pea and Wakame Flavored Rice Balls Great for Excursions

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Green pea and wakame rice balls.

Cooking expert Shimpei Kurihara introduced his green pea and wakame seaweed omusubi rice balls, a seasonal dish perfect for picnics and other outings.

Green peas with pods are a seasonal delicacy. “If you find peas with pods in supermarkets, please buy and give them a try. Unlike canned peas, you can enjoy their natural sweetness and fresh aroma,” Kurihara said.

Rice with green peas is a staple in the Kurihara family. Kurihara explained that it was his father’s favorite food, and his mother, chef Harumi Kurihara, would often serve it.

“I actually didn’t like green peas as a child, but as I grew older, I came to appreciate how delicious they are,” he said.

To get the best results from Kurihara’s rice ball recipe, start by separating the peas from their pods. Then use the following tips.

Cook the rice with bonito broth and soy sauce. Kurihara uses light-colored soy sauce so that the ingredients will stand out.

He recommends putting the rice in the rice cooker along with the broth, with the empty green pea pods placed on top so the aroma of the pods is transferred to the rice.

Prepare the other ingredients while the rice is being cooked. The green peas themselves should be left to cool in the salted water they were boiled in, instead of taking them out of a strainer. This will allow the peas to absorb the salt water and swell.

Roast the wakame seaweed by placing it in a saucepan without oil over medium heat. Stir with chopsticks to prevent the wakame from burning. Since it will be mixed with rice, be sure to remove all moisture to bring out the flavor. Add the green peas and wakame seaweed to the cooked rice, mix and shape into rice balls.

Rotate the rice rhythmically with both hands. “It’s like forming a shape with your hands while turning the rice instead of squeezing it,” said Kurihara.

The omusubi, with their bright green peas, have the shape of beautiful rounded triangles. As soon as I bit into the rice, the green peas burst and released a sweet and fragrant aroma. The wakame seaweed also went well with the rice, which was flavored with bonito dashi soup stock. As soon as I ate one, I felt tempted to take another one.

Green pea and wakame rice balls

Ingredients (3-4 servings)

  • 2 cups rice
  • 200 grams green peas (with pods)
  • 50 grams wakame seaweed (salted)
  • 30 grams bonito flakes
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp salt

  • Directions:

  • 1. Heat 1 liter of water in a saucepan. When it boils, lower the heat and add the dried bonito flakes. Simmer over very low heat for 1 minute. When it cools to room temperature, strain through a sieve to extract the bonito broth.

  • 2. Rinse the rice and drain in a strainer.

  • 3. Mix together sake and mirin, ½ teaspoon each of salt and light soy sauce and enough bonito dashi soup broth to bring the total to 350 cc.

  • 4. Remove the green peas from the pods, and put the pods to one side. Place the rice in the rice cooker, place the pods on top, and pour in the prepared stock. Cook the rice in normal rice cooking mode.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun
    Green peas that are removed from the pods
  • 5. Place 200 cc of water and ½ teaspoon of salt in a small pot over medium heat. When the water starts to boil, add the green peas and continue to boil until the peas float to the top. Leave the peas to cool in the water.

  • 6. Wash the wakame to remove the salt and cut into 1-centimeter cubes. Place the wakame in a frying pan and roast over medium heat. Turn off the heat when the surface moisture has evaporated and the wakame is lightly browned.

  • 7. When the rice is cooked, remove the pods. Drain the green peas and add them to the rice. Add wakame, gently mix, form into balls and serve.
  • Fried chicken for bento

    The Yomiuri Shimbun
    Salt-flavored fried chicken pieces
  • For bento boxes, Kurihara recommends adding salt-flavored fried chicken to accompany the rice balls.
  • Cut 300 grams of chicken thigh meat into 10 equal pieces. Add 1 tablespoon of cooking sake, ½ clove grated garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/5 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper and mix well.
  • Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of potato starch. Heat oil to 170 C and fry for 4 minutes.
  • When the chicken is crisp and cooked through, remove from the pan and place in a serving dish. Garnish with lemon.