Wasabi Mayo Crab Onigirazu is a fun sandwich made with Japanese sushi rice, crab meat and fresh vegetables topped with a zesty wasabi mayo and folded over with a nori (seaweed) wrapper to be enjoyed as a picnic lunch or in a bento box.
Have you ever enjoyed a Japanese onigiri? Onigiri are Japanese sushi rice balls stuffed with items like tuna and mayo, pickled plums, bonito flakes, sesame seeds, etc. and are shaped into a small triangle and then wrapped neatly and tightly with a nori leaf. These are delicious but very VERY small little treats that you can pick up at any market or even at the 7/11’s in Japan and around Asia.
Some brilliant person created what they call an onigirazu, which is a LARGE sized onigiri that can fit lots of fun fillings and the perfect sized treat for lunches or bento boxes. Brilliant I tell you as these treats are sandwich sized. The onigirazu craze is hitting Japan like a storm.
Come and join the craze with this delicious unique sandwich that you can really stuff with anything your little heart desires. I have seen onigirazu stuffed with yakitori (grilled chicken), tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlets, sushi, fried eggs, vegetables and you name it. Today, I wanted to share with you a fun and easy wasabi mayo crab onigirazu.
I love the layers of flavors in the wasabi mayo crab onigarizu starting with crisp outer layer of seaweed (nori/laver) and then the tender and filling short grained Japanese rice, spicy wasabi mayonnaise, sweet gluten-free crab meat, bright yellow crisp diakon radish pickles and many fresh vegetables.
You can use fresh steamed crab picked over for shells. I used a gluten-free brand of imitation crab meat or you could even used tinned crab if you wish. I just happen to like daikon pickles but really any tart and savoury pickle will be beautiful in this wasabi mayo crab onigirazu.
Wasabi mayo is just made with 2 ingredients wasabi paste and Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise. If you cannot find wasabi, you can substitute horseradish sauce. You do not need to use the Kewpie brand mayo as any one in your refrigerator will work well.
Nori is dried seaweed and some of you may know it as laver. I like to use the full large sheet so you can fill with more exciting fillings. You can find the nori leaves in any Asian food store or in the Asian food section of your market. If you cannot find nori leaves then of course you could still make a modified onigirazu with a large tortilla, collard greens, etc.
When we used to live in Japan, I used to have to make a bento box for my youngest son every day for school and I sure wish I new about these onigirazu back then. Of course, you do not need to garnish your treats with bumblebees, flowers and ladybugs but you sure win some style points with the other kids if you do. Have fun with this Wasabi Mayo Crab Onigirazu recipe.
Japanese short-grained rice works best as this rice is sticky and holds shape in the Wasabi Mayo Crab onigirazu. I also use a plastic wrap to help tightly seal the onigirazu together and it is nice to make them the night before or in the morning before so that the onigirazu hold together well. Also if you wet your knife with a little water or rice vinegar before you slice your onigirazu in half it will prevent your knife from sticking.
Practice makes perfect when assembling your wasabi mayo crab onigarizu so be patient with yourself. It is not really too hard if you remember these 4 basic steps.
1) Place your nori sheet on your table on an angle so it looks like a diamond.
2) Use 1/2 cup cooked rice for the bottom, press down, fill with crab, wasabi mayo and vegetables evenly, among the four onigarizu.
3) Place a final 1/2 cup of top of all of your fillings
4) Pull up the sides of the nori and fold like an envelope and tightly wrap saran wrap to hold onigirazu together.
Now of course some delicious Magic Matcha Bars are just the perfect sweet ending to this delicious picnic lunch.
Wishing everyone a super week! Take care
A fun Japanese sandwich made with sushi rice, crab meat and fresh vegetables topped with a zesty wasabi mayo.
- mayonaise - 1/2 cup
- wasabi - 1 teaspoon
- plastic wrap - 4 sheet a little larger than the size of the nori dried seaweed sheet
- nori sheet (dried seaweed/laver) - 4 (as used to make sushi rolls)
- rice - 4 cups cooked and cooled short grained Japanese
- crab meat - 12 slices gluten-free imitation or 6 ounces of fresh crab picked over for shells or even tinned crab
- diakon pickles - 16 slices of thin sliced or any other pickles of choice
- cucumbers - 36 thin slices with peel (or other vegetables of choice like super thin slices of carrot, celery, purple cabbage, etc)
- toothpicks - 4 (use as a marker to know which way to cut the onigirazu)
1) Mix together mayonnaise and wasabi. Set aside.
2) Place a sheet of plastic wrap a little bit larger than nori leaf (dried seaweed sheet) on your working surface. Lay your nori leaf (dried seaweed sheet) on an angle with a corner pointing up (in a diamond shape) with the non-shiny side facing up and the shiny side facing down.
3) Place about ½ cup cooked rice into a thin layer shaped into a square in the middle of the nori leaf (dried seaweed). (Wet your fingers with a little rice vinegar to prevent the rice from sticking to your fingers, if you wish)
4) Place 3 slices of imitation crab meat (or real steamed crab meat) in an even layer across the top of the cooked rice, which is lying on top of the dried seaweed sheet. Press down slightly with your fingers. Drizzle 1/8 cup of wasabi mayo on top of crabmeat.
5) Place a thin layer of sliced cucumbers and then thin layer of sliced Japanese daikon pickles (or maybe a fried egg instead for that bright yellow color) on top of the crab layer.
6) Layer on top about ½ cup of cooked Japanese short grain rice and shape flat and into a square. Press down slightly.
7) Take note of which way your ingredients are laid out before you fold up your onigirazu. (The goal is to cut your wasabi mayo crab onigirazu so that you see a pretty cross cut of your sandwich displaying all of the colorful fillings) Gently fold up to opposite ends of nori leaf up and around the sides of the onigirazu so the points or the ends of the nori leaf cross at the top. Then take the other edge of the nori leaf and gently pull up the other two sides and cross until the edges meet up at the top. Place the toothpick in the direction (just gently lay on top as a reference tool) that you will be cutting the onigirazu to show case the ingredient layers. Finally, wrap the wasabi mayo crab onigirazu firmly and tightly with the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve or at least 30 minutes.
8) Remove the plastic wrap. Wet your sharp knife with water or rice vinegar (to make it easier to cut) and cut your wasabi mayo crab onigirazu in the same direction of your toothpick marker. Place your delicious wasabi mayo crab onigirazu into your bento box with other treats and enjoy on your next picnic or work/school lunches. Enjoy!
• You can use any additions you want in your onigirazu such as other colorful vegetables, left over chicken instead of crab, or even a fried egg instead of Japanese pickles.
• Prepare and layer each of the onigirazu sandwiches in an assembly line fashion to speed up the process.