Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Warmer Temps, Sunshine... I Smell Charcoal!

Now that the sun and warmer temperatures have returned, intermittently albeit, it's time to get outside and enjoy one of the most wonderful cooking techniques. Known as the grilling, or barbecuing in some northern parts of the country, this simple method of intense radiant heat transfer is my favorite way to impart some of the most desired flavor attributes into all kinds of food.

While there are so many obvious foods to throw on the grill including meats, a variety of vegetables, and even fruit, there was one thing I had never tasted cooked on the grill, onigiri. Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball, made from sushi rice that is cooked and formed into bite sized ovals, or slightly larger triangle shapes. These rice balls are common and very popular in Japanese cuisine, and although I had tasted them with before traditional meals, I had never had them grilled. On a recent occasion I had a chance to sample these morsels and have to say they were quite tasty. Placed directly on the grill and basted with soy sauce, they readily absorbed the salt and savory flavors of the soy sauce as well as the essence of charcoal, and were a great accompaniment to the many other delicious offerings served up by our gracious hosts. While this was my first taste of onigiri on the grill, rest assured it won't be my last!