While this isn’t an Irish recipe and doesn’t have anything to do with Saint Patrick’s Day, it is green! So I say it is still within the Saint Patty’s Day theme!
These were born from a desire to make something green for St Patrick’s Day but also not wanting to have to go to the grocery store for lots of new ingredients. So I went through my fridge and pantry and found matcha, green veggies, tofu and rice. Not sure if green tea rice balls were a thing, I googled and learned about Japanese Onigiri! Onigiri are kind of like Japanese sandwiches – sticky rice formed around a filling of fish or veggies, usually wrapped with nori (a dried seaweed) in creative ways. I won’t call these onigiri because I’m sure I failed at them in that regard, but they can definitely be called Rice Balls!
I made a savory version with a Miso Tofu and Green Veggie filling, and a sweet version with Sweetened Red Bean Paste (the only new ingredient I needed!) inside. They turned out beautifully green and very tasty! And pretty fun to make, if you don’t mind getting your hands a little messy!
Without further ado, here is the recipe!
Green Tea Rice Balls (2 Ways: Savory and Sweet!)
Green Tea Rice:
- 1 1/2 cups sushi rice
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 heaping tsp Matcha Green Tea Powder
Cook the sushi rice per package directions.
While the rice is cooking, blend the rice vinegar, sugar and matcha in a bowl. Stir or whisk well to eliminate green tea clumps.
After the rice is done, remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the green tea mixture and stir to combine. Cover and let the rice cool enough to be handled. While waiting, make the tofu filling.
Miso Tofu and Veggie Filling
- 1 Tbsp miso (I used Eden Organic Genmai Miso)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (from an actual lemon, ideally)
- 2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 cup frozen green veggies (I used chopped broccoli and spinach)
- 1/3 of a block of firm tofu, drained and crumbled
Heat the frozen veggies in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the veggies are warm, add the crumbled tofu. (Pro tip: crumbled tofu means squished through your fingers).
In a small bowl, mix the miso, lemon juice and toasted sesame oil. Add to the tofu and veggie mixture and stir well to incorporate. Once everything is warm you are ready to make the rice balls!
Assembling the Rice Balls
I followed this how-to for making the rice balls, although mine didn’t come out quite as well as those (I need to practice!). Wet your hands, flatten some rice into your palm, add a spoonful of filling then wrap the rice around it. You can then shape it more if you want, and wrap with nori if desired! (Or cut four-leaf clovers out of nori for a St Patrick’s Day theme like I did!)
Dessert Green Tea Rice Balls
For the sweet version, I purchased a package of Sweetened Course Red Bean Paste at a local Asian market and used about a spoonful for each rice ball. (Here is a link to the package I used, although this is the “fine” version, which would work too).
So there you have it! I hope everyone has a great Saint Patrick’s Day and eats lots of green food! If you make these, let me know how how you like them!
Do you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?
Also does anyone have any ideas for how I should use the rest of the sweetened red bean paste? It is delicious but I’m not sure what else to do with it!