In Japan, Hokkaido is primarily known for its corn products, and corn kernels can often be found in ramen dishes there. Corn was initially introduced to Japan in 1579 by the Portuguese, but the corn was primarily ground to feed animals. Because meat consumption was often banned or discouraged during the Edo Period, (1603-1867), domestic corn production did not boom until the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Sweet corn was originally grown in Hokkaido beginning in the early 1900s during a period of agricultural growth. It was not until mid century that sweet corn took off in popularity. Grilled corn on the cob, often slathered in soy sauce, mirin, and sugar, is a common item at summer festivals and events throughout Japan. Corn cream soup and corn tempura have also become popular staples. It’s time to buy some sweet corn from your local market and transport yourself to Hokkaido, with the help of Bokksu Market’s abundance of flavor-packed goodies!
Onigiri rice balls are a convenience store staple in Japan, with flavors like salmon and umeboshi, pickled plum. They are simple to make and easy to transport. They are often wrapped in nori seaweed. These summer corn and scallion onigiri combine the best parts of summer: juicy sweet corn, vibrant scallions, and of course umami must-haves like sesame oil and furikake seasoning. The flavor combination truly sings. Amp up your lunch game with these simply delicious and hearty snacks, and enjoy summer’s bounty at its finest. Have fun with this recipe - even if you don’t form perfect triangles, your onigiri will be delicious. Feel free to add additional flavorful summer veggies like fresh peas or crunchy carrot bits as well.
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8-10 medium-sized onigiri
- 2 cups cooked sushi rice
- 2 tbsp sushi rice vinegar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 ears fresh sweet corn
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 fresh scallions, sliced
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- Maldon sea salt, to taste
- Furikake, to taste
- Optional: Wrap your onigiri in nori seaweed!
- Heat a medium sized skillet over high heat. Add sesame oil.
- Shuck 2 ears of corn and rinse. With a knife, cut kernels off of the cob.
- Heat kernels in the hot skillet until they begin to show color, for about 5 minutes.
- Once the corn reaches your desired brown color, take the corn off of the heat and let cool.
- Mix your cooked sushi rice with 2 tbsp sushi rice vinegar.
- Mix sweet corn, chopped ginger, sesame seeds, salt, and sliced scallions into your cooked sushi rice and mix.
- Wet your hands with cold water to prevent the rice from sticking to them. Scoop rice mixture into a piece of plastic wrap. Mold to form a triangle shape. Repeat until your rice is used up.
- Finish with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt and your desired Furikake seasoning.
Itoh, Makiko. “Japan’s Historic Love of Corn.” The Japan Times, 8.19.2014, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2014/08/19/food/japans-historic-love-corn/
By Hadley Sui