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Spicy, earthy, salty with the right amount of sweetness, these Spicy Tempeh Onigiri Rice Balls are one of the best ways to turn tempeh into an amazing dish!
I fell in love with some Tempeh dishes recently, including these Spicy Tempeh Onigiri Rice Balls. It’s so delicious that I’ve made it more than three times in the past two weeks. (I usually eat along so that’s already a lot.)
If you’re not familiar tempeh, here’s a short introduction:
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food that is made from fermented soybean and tempeh starter.
It’s high in protein, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals.
Tempeh has a very special earthy and nutty flavor that is developed during the fermenting process. The taste is so unique that I really had a hard time finding the correct words to describe.
Due to its special flavor profile, the seasoning becomes crucial.
These Spicy Tempeh Onigiri Rice Balls are a perfect example of turning Tempeh into a delicious dish.
You can learn more about Tempeh in this post: What is Tempeh + Best Baked Tempeh Recipes
We don’t need to prepare many ingredients, just the rice, tempeh, and some Asian seasoning, like soy sauce, Korean paste, and sesame oil.
Since I’m in Taiwan, these ingredients are very convenient to get. If you’re in Western countries, I believe you can find them in local Asian markets as well.
In terms of method, it’s also very simple, too. You just need to cook the rice first, make the sauce, mix the tempeh with the sauce, cook it, and finally combine all.
These rice balls are kind of a combination of Eastern flavor and Western taste. It’s seasoned with Korean paste, soy sauce, and vegan mayo. (I make my own vegan mayo and I’ve shared the recipe on Patreon.)
The taste is so amazing that I finish one rice ball in less than 5 minutes.
If you have time, I suggest cooking the rice and tempeh respectively the night. The flavor will develop more depth this way.
These Spicy Tempeh Onigiri Rice Balls are really delicious. If you don’t have a good impression of tempeh, I hope you could give it one more chance by tasting this recipe!
Spicy Tempeh Onigiri Rice Balls (Vegan)
- 480 ml (2 cup) sushi rice, rinsed
- 480 ml (2 cup) sushi rice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- To cook the rice: Rinse the rice for 1-2 times, then add the water, salt, and rice vinegar. Let the rice soak for 15 minutes.
- Cook it with a rice cooker or an instant pot. Once the rice is cooked, loosen the rice. Let it cool then cover to sit in the fridge.
- Make the sauce: In a deep dish, add the soy sauce, palm syrup, Korean paste, mushroom powder, and five-spice powder. Mix to incorporate.
- Cook the tempeh: Add the cubed tempeh to the sauce. Toss them until all tempeh cubes are well covered with sauce.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan with medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sesame oil and tempeh. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes until the tempeh absorbs the sauce. Add a dash of hot water to the pan to prevent sticking as needed.
- Transfer the cooked tempeh into a bowl. Let it cool down then covered and put in the fridge to sit for 30 minutes.
- Take out the tempeh from the fridge. Stir in the vegan mayonnaise. (I use the recipe in my ebook. I also shared it on Patreon)
- Remove the rice from the fridge. Grap a piece of plastic wrap to cover a 6-inch plate. Scoop about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of cooked rice and press it down. Scoop about 2 Tbsp of the tempeh filling to put in the center of the rice. Wrap it up by using the plastic wrap.
- Add the nori sheets to a food processor and blitz to cut them into fine pieces. Transfer the nori to a bowl and add the toasted sesame seeds.
- Coat the rice balls with the nori and sesame mixture. Enjoy right away!
- If you have time, I recommend cooking the rice and tempeh the night before and then combine them the next day.