Serves 8 to 10 (makes 24 cakes) | Active Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1¼ hours
Soy Dipping Sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons water
1 scallion, sliced thin
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Rice Cakes
1¾ cups water
1 cup short-grain brown rice
1 cup baby spinach
¾ cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed and patted dry
2 (8 by 7½-inch) sheets nori, crumbled
2 scallions, sliced thin
¼ cup white sesame seeds, toasted, divided
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Head Start
Refrigerate rice cakes, covered, for up to 1 day before you plan to serve them; let come to room temperature before serving.
Perfect Pair
For a filling small plates spread, serve with Soy-Marinated Eggs and Crab and Mizuna Salad .
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS For bite-size morsels with craveable complexity, we took inspiration from onigiri, a Japanese bento box staple of white rice that’s usually shaped into triangular bundles and stuffed with bits of fish, pickled plums, sea vegetables, or other ingredients. Our recipe departs from the traditional preparation by starting with short-grain brown rice, which we pulse in the food processor along with spinach and edamame. This processing step releases starch from the rice, which makes the mixture easy to shape and also enables us to combine a good amount of spinach mixture with the rice. We scoop out portions of the rice mixture and, with lightly moistened hands, press each into a petite disk. We roll the edges in toasted sesame seeds, which add a crunchy, nutty contrast to the rice. A simple soy dipping sauce makes a tasty accompaniment to this fresh bite.
1 For the soy dipping sauce Combine all ingredients in small bowl; set aside.
2 For the rice cakes Bring water and rice to simmer in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 40 to 45 minutes. Off heat, lay clean dish towel underneath lid, and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork and cover.
3 Pulse spinach, edamame, nori, scallions, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, ginger, salt, and sesame oil in food processor until mixture is finely ground (it should not be smooth), about 10 pulses. Add rice and pulse until rice is coarsely chopped and mixture is well combined, about 8 pulses.
4 Divide rice mixture into 24 portions (about 1½ tablespoons each) and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet. Using lightly moistened hands, roll each into ball, then press into disk about 1½ inches wide and ¾ inch thick. Spread remaining 2 tablespoons sesame seeds onto plate. Gently roll sides of disks in sesame seeds, pressing lightly to adhere, and transfer to serving platter. Serve with soy dipping sauce.