May 11, 2019

Monster Rice Balls | The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

“Rice balls flavored with monster extract. Their unique aroma is not for everyone.”
– Monster Rice Balls, in-game description, Breath of the Wild

          I just love the Monster menu's purples! This onigiri (rice ball) recipe was a fun one to figure out. I made it a couple of years ago for the Hyrule: Taste of the Wild recipe zine, but I think it was too involved to include. ;)
          I really wanted to get a natural, vibrant purple from ingredients that would be easy to get (natural color powders can be very expensive!, plus often you have to order them because they are specialty). I think they turned out pretty well! I also wanted to add some nice complimentary colors for the filling so I used orange roasted yam/sweet potato*, green avocado, and white cream cheese to stand out with the purple. You could certainly use other ingredients, if you'd like, such as the meaty soboro mixture I used in the BotW Meaty Rice Balls.

Note: Because the method below is a bit tedious, or rather there are several steps, one of which goes overnight, I've been experimenting with other, easier methods, so I'll be posting another method soon. :)

*To get little roast pieces of yam/sweet potato for the filling, heat your oven to 375ºF & line a baking tray with foil. Peel the potato, cut into about 1/4"-1/2" thick cubes or sticks, & toss lightly with oil, sprinkling on a little salt if you'd like. Lay out on the tray in a single layer. Bake until tender, about 30 mins., flipping half way through.

Monster Rice Balls

Ingredients:
1 Cup White Uncooked Rice
~4 Cups Shredded Purple/Red Cabbage (~½ head)
3½ Cup Water
½ Cup 100% Pomegranate Juice OR Beet Juice
Salt &/or Garlic Salt
Dried/Roasted Seaweed Strips, ~2” wide x ~5” long
Filling Suggestions
Avocado
Cream Cheese
Roasted Sweet Potato/Yam*

Directions:
Making the Purple Rice: Rinse & rub the uncooked rice until the water runs clear (this is called "polishing"). Drain & set aside until ready to use.

Bring the shredded cabbage & water to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover, & cook until the cabbage is pale purple, about 15 minutes. Drain the liquid into a large bowl & stir in the pomegranate or beet juice. Add the rice to the bowl of purple juice. Cover & let sit in the fridge overnight or longer (I let mine soak 24 hours!) so the rice can soak up some of the purple liquid.

Strain the rice, keeping about 1¼-1½ cups of the purple liquid & discarding the rest. Rinse the rice briefly & then leave the rice in the bowl until needed.§
Pour the reserved purple liquid into a pot & bring to a boil. Add in the rice & a sprinkling of salt & bring it back to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, cover, & cook for about 15-18 minutes. Check to see if the rice is cooked all the way through (if it's still a little toothsome, cook for a bit longer, adding a small amount of water if it's all evaporated). Remove from heat & keep covered for another few minutes, & then uncover & fluff with a fork. Let cool enough to handle.
§Use a rice cooker instead of the stovetop method if you prefer!

Shaping the Rice Balls: Have a little bowl of water nearby to dip your fingers into so the rice won't stick to you while making the rice balls.
Line a small bowl with a large sheet of plastic wrap & flick a little water onto it & sprinkle on a pinch of salt or garlic salt. Scoop a ½ cup of the rice into the plastic lined bowl & then make a well in the center. Put in a small chunk of the filling of your choice, or a few small chunks of multiple fillings (like avocado, baked yam, cream cheese), making sure you don’t fill it so much that you can’t make a nice rice ball! Put a little more rice on top, just enough to cover the filling, & then gather up the edges of the plastic wrap & lift it up, twisting the plastic closed.
With the rice in the plastic, press & shape it into a tight & compact rounded triangle, with no filling showing (if necessary, add little bits of rice to cover up any exposed filling). Unwrap the rice ball & lay it on a plate or tray. Continue making rice balls until the rice is used up.

Just before serving, wet your fingers again & fold a piece of dried seaweed over the bottom of each rice ball. If needed, wrap in plastic again to press the seaweed really well onto the rice.
Store leftovers in an airtight container.

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