Macrobiotic Rice Balls
Rice balls – The Japanese traditionally used these for travelling. With a few vegetables they are a meal in themselves. Macrobiotic rice balls are made up of brown rice, nori sea vegetable and umeboshi plum. They are self contained within the nori sea vegetable and can last a day in a cool container. They are also a filling and satisfying form of grain at a meal. They tend to be quite chewy and make great practice for eating slowly and chewing well.
The brown rice is filling, whilst being moderate (55) in the GI. It is a whole grain, so particularly nutritious and essentially still alive. Like other whole grains it has not oxidized. The nori adds minerals, including iron. The umeboshi plum has been fermented and brings healthy bacteria, as well as being highly alkaline forming. If you add staining you will benefit from more oil, protein, iron and calcium. In this example I have cooked the brown rice with roasted black soya beans, which enrich the rice ball with more protein, calcium and iron.
In terms of chi, rice balls can be generally classified as a more yang and warming, making it popular in colder countries and during the winter. By frying the rice balls we make them richer and more warming, or yang. The brown rice and the compact nature of the rice balls generate more metal chi in the five elements, however, if fried this will be complimented with more fire chi.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE 4 RICE BALLS
450g (1 lb.) Short grain cooked brown rice. The rice could be cooked with roasted black soya beans for a richer, nuttier flavour. You can also mix in roasted sesame seeds.
50g (1.5 oz) Dry black soya beans.
1/2tsp. Sea salt
2 umeboshi plums. If you cannot get umeboshi plums use 4 tsp of sauerkraut, or 4 slices of gherkin, or 4 pitted olives. You can also use 4 flat tsp of umeboshi paste.
2 sheets of toasted nori sea vegetable
4 tsp of tahini or sesame spread or a nut butter (optional)
Sesame or olive oil for frying (optional)
1tbls. brown rice vinegar
1tsp of finely grated ginger
2tbls of finely grated daikon or mooli or radish
If you wish to include the black soya beans, roast in a dry pan until you hear them crack and smell a nutty fragrance. Place the beans in a large pot or pressure cooker. Add the brown rice. When the beans have cooled place your open hand on the rice and pour in water until your hand is covered. If the water is cloudy, fill the pot and rinse the rice several times until clear. Alternatively you can put between 1.5 and 2 times as much water as cups of grains.
Ideally leave to soak overnight or for several hours.
Add sea salt
Simmer the rice (and beans if included) for 30 minutes.
Leave the cooked rice to cool.
Take 2 sheets of nori and fold in half. Tear along the fold or cut with scissors. Repeat with the halves so you now have a total of 8 small squares of nori.
Wet your hands and take a handful of rice. Squeeze it between your hand into a firm ball.
Place the rice ball in the centre of one of the squares of nori.
Keep your hands wet so the rice will not stick to your hands, but avoid touching the nori with wet hands.
Continue to make 3 more rice balls and place on a square of nori.
Press down on the top of the rice ball to make it slightly flat. Press your finger into the top to make a small hole. Place half an umeboshi plum (or alternative) into the hole.
To make the rice ball richer, you can spread tahini over the top of the rice ball.
Wash and dry your hands well.
Place a square of nori over the rice. Align the nori so that it is diagonal to the square of nori under the rice ball. The corners of the nori on top will be between the corners of the nori below.
Fold the corners from the nori below, up and press against the rice. Fold the corners of the nori above, down and press against the rice.
Hold the rice ball in your hands and gently squeeze until the nori is pressed against the rice.
If you have too much nori in places, you can tear pieces off. If there are gaps without nori, use can stick new patches of nori over.
The rice balls are now complete. You can eat them as they are, include them in a meal or pack them for travelling.
Fried Rice Balls
If you want a richer taste and for the rice balls to be more warming, you can fry them in olive oil.
Heat up a pan and pour olive oil over the surface.
Place the rice balls on the pan and fry until the nori turns a light brown colour.
Turn the rice balls over and fry the other side.
The fried rice balls are now ready for serving.
Mix the sauce ingredients together into four small bowls. Each person can dip his or her rice ball into the sauce. The sauce is thought to help us process the oils from frying.
You can add different beans to the rice before cooking. Adzuki beans create a maroon colour and appealing taste.
You can mix in roasted sesame or sunflower seeds to the cooked rice.
To make the rice more sticky, cook brown rice with 25% sweet brown rice.
For a more spicy sauce, mix in a little wasabi or mustard.
Simon can help you with macrobiotic cooking classes so you can learn new skills and ways to create your own macrobiotic diet.
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