This Scrambled Teriyaki Tofu Onigirazu is a cross between an onigiri and a sandwich! It’s quick and easy to make, so much fun to eat and absolutely delicious! The whole thing comes together in less than 30 minutes and they’re perfect for packed lunches.
Onigiri are balls of rice stuffed with a savoury filling, shaped into a triangular shape and covered in nori seaweed. They are sold widely in supermarkets, convenience stores and even vending machines in Japan, as well as often being made at home for packed lunches. Onigirazu, which are a fairly recent invention, combine the ingredients traditionally used in onigiri with the shape and practicality of a sandwich!
For onigiri, the rice is often mixed with tiny flakes of seaweed or red shiso (a Japanese herb, also known as perilla). These act as seasoning agents, and really make the whole thing taste so much better! I decided to adhere to this tradition for this Onigirazu, but was a little unsure what to use to season the rice. Red shiso flakes are delicious but not very easily accessible if you live in the UK. Another option was furikake, a Japanese seasoning that’s usually sprinkled over rice). Furikake is normally a blend of dried fish, seaweed flakes, salt, sugar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and plenty of MSG. Here’s a list of ingredients I saw on the packet of a popular Japanese brand of furikake:
Wakame Seaweed, Salt, Sesame Seeds, Egg, Vegetables (Mooli Radish Leaves, Carrots, Onion, Spinach), Aonori Seaweed, Powdered Starch Sugar, Reduced Mizuame Sweetener, Soy Sauce (Wheat, Soy Bean), Starch, Sugar, Wheat Flour, Powdered Kombu Kelp, Powdered Bonito (Fish), Glucose, Seasoning (Amino Acid, MSG), Processed Starch, Colouring (Paprika, Caramel), Milk.
As you can see, it includes a lot of potentially problematic and questionable ingredients (powdered starch sugar, anyone?). And although furikake is delicious, I didn’t really think it would be an option for this recipe as it’s not readily available in the UK, not very alternative diet-friendly, and not very healthy at all.
Enter Mara Seaweed‘s NEW 3-ingredient Furikake, which is made up of just seaweed, sesame seeds and chilli flakes! It’s completely natural, sustainably-sourced, healthy (it doesn’t even contain added salt!) and, most importantly, actually tastes better than any other Japanese furikake I’ve had. This delicious seasoning compliments the other flavours in these Onigirazu, and means you don’t have to add loads of ingredients when seasoning the filling.
What’s more, you’ll really easily be able to get hold of it in the UK as it’s being sold in Morrisons as of TODAY!
Mara Seaweed is a Scottish seaweed company co-founded by seaweed experts Xa Milne and Fiona Houston. I first came across them when I reviewed Xa Milne’s new cookbook, The Seaweed Cookbook for my article about Best New Cookbooks 2016 for The Independent. The book is great, by the way, and I’d really recommend checking it out, especially if you’re into seaweed.
For the filling of these Onigirazu, I went for scrambled teriyaki tofu. I was a little dubious about scrambled tofu at first, but it actually tasted SO much better than any of the meat-based fillings that I have previously stuffed my onigirazu with! I’m not even lying, it’s 100% the truth, I promise!
The secret to making the tofu taste good is to use a soft, silky version rather than a hard, firm one and to drain the water from it really well. You should use a tofu press or leave it in the fridge overnight for the excess water to drain away into a bowl. And make sure you fry it with plenty of seasoning! I did try adding other vegetables, but they released water and the end product ended up a bit too mushy, so the only other thing I’d recommend adding would be sliced spring onions. But I felt the scrambled tofu tasted delicious by itself, mostly because the seasoning was on point! Plus there’s no veggie cravings a little side salad can’t fix.
I hope you love these Onigirazu as much as I do! I can’t get enough of the wonderful combination of the sticky rice seasoned with nutty sesame, umami-rich seaweed and a little spicy kick from the chilli, paired with the perfectly tender, salty-sweet scrambled teriyaki tofu filling.
And now to address the elephant in the room – these Onigirazu may look like a nightmare to make, but trust me, they’re really not that hard. If I can do it, so can you! They’re much easier and less fiddly than onigiri, and you don’t have to wait for the rice to cook either.
If you find yourself confused by my instructions in the recipe below, there are loads of videos online that will definitely give you the confidence to make these at home yourself! Here’s one such video I’d recommend you watch if you’re feeling a little nervous about making these for the first time.
And before I leave you guys to it, I do have to add that the rice you use for these MUST MUST MUST be white Japanese sushi rice – this is no time for a wild rice/brown rice/Basmati rice situation. The stickiness of the white sushi rice is the only thing that will allow these Onigirazu to form and keep their shape!
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 2 sheets nori seaweed
- 2 portions Japanese sushi rice
- 1 tablespoon Mara Seaweed furikake, to taste
- 300g soft, silky tofu
- 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or olive)
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce (or tamari if gluten-free)
- 3 teaspoons mirin (or sub 2 teaspoons of any other sweetener or sugar)
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- Optional: 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- Drain excess water away from the tofu. Place a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl then place tofu on top of the upturned smaller bowl. Leave in the fridge overnight for the water to drain away. Alternatively use a tofu press and skip this step
- Cook rice according to instructions on the packet
- Meanwhile, heat up the oil in a frying pan and once hot, add all the ingredients for the teriyaki tofu and use a spatula or spoon to break up the tofu into small pieces
- Fry the tofu for around 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's cooked through and slightly browned
- Once the rice is cooked, add the furikake and mix well. Divide the rice into four
- Place a sheet of nori over a sheet of cling film
- Place a quarter of the rice in a small square in the middle of the nori sheet
- Place half of the tofu filling over the rice, in the same shape
- Add another quarter of the rice to cover the tofu and wrap the edges of the nori over the whole 'parcel' - the nori should stick to all sides of the rice
- Wrap the cling film around it and let rest for a couple of minutes for it to take shape
- Remove the cling film, transfer to a chopping board and cut in half with a wet knife
- Repeat for the other onigirazu