The rice in Japan is exquisite. The rice I make at home on the other hand was always a bit sub par. Once I tried to make sushi and let's just say it was an epic fail. I blamed my rice cooker (blame the tools - that's just how I roll!). That is until I found this site which explains how to cook rice properly. It was as if my eyes had been opened for the first time. I had heard of people washing rice before but I always kind of thought it was an optional extra. A bit like when a recipe tells you to pick over the lentils (what? I should be doing that too??) And soaking rice?? Who knew? I admit the process is much more time consuming, and uses a lot more water (maybe collect the extra to water some plants if you're feeling like being an eco-angel), but the difference is astounding.
With my new found rice cooking skills I can finally make onigiri. These are rice balls with a little surprise filling in the centre. These ones I made with tuna and mayo, and some with chopped up pickles but the possibilities are endless. The faces are cut out of nori with some cute little punches I bought in Japan. Honestly picking up all the little face pieces with tweezers is not for the faint hearted (though if you liked playing operation as a kid this might be a cooking task you'd enjoy!!) Onigiri are great for packed lunches - a bit easier for kids to keep neat than sushi.