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I have my own variant of japanese rice balls that I was hoping for some advice on.

One thing to keep in mind is that I'm a college graduate student and put a high priority on minimizing costs and preparation time (and prefer to make things in bulk).

I buy all my ingredients in bulk and try to make a weeks worth of meals in advance.

First I cook a variant of Chicken Adobo. In addition to the normal ingredients, I add about a quarter of a cup of capers and a half a cup of green olives. Additionally, I cut-up the chicken thighs in advance (because I'm guessing this will help get more flavor into the center of the meat, and also cut down on cooking time).

I then wrap saran-wrap around a small plastic cup, cover the walls with about a quarter of an inch of rice, and insert about 2 tablespoons of chicken/capers/olives. Then I cover the top with rice and tie up the saran-wrap for a completed rice ball.

So I have two questions:

  1. What do you think is the best way to make and store these riceballs in bulk? Am I forced to make them daily, or can I make them in bulk on a weekly basis without affecting the quality too much?

I've considered making the chicken-adobo in bulk and then freezing or refrigerating it, but the chicken-adobo's sauce gelatinizes and reheating it is fairly awkward and affects the quality of the meat. I've considered storing the riceballs saran-wrapped individually in my fridge/freezer, but they begin to dry out in the fridge and have weird consistency when coming out of the freezer.

  1. Do you have any suggestions for a more refined chicken recipe? I'm pretty happy with the mixture of sweet&sour from the capers and soysauce - but I really just threw together chicken adobo and added capers to it. I tried cooking the capers and olives with the chicken and ended up with too much flavor from the olives (it just made the whole thing taste like olive water). Additionally, I end up throwing away a lot of extra vinegar+soy sauce at the end of the day, and it might be better if I chose a chicken recipe that didn't end up with a hefty amount of sauce when finished.
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Onigiri (rice balls) can be frozen; that's probably your best bet for long-term storage. They can be simply tossed into the fridge the night before consumption for defrosting, or you can microwave them using the defrost setting if you have microwave-safe plastic wrap. The rice gets dried out pretty fast if you try to store them without freezing them. Note that if you want to wrap nori (dried seaweed) around them, you should do so moments before consuming, as the nori gets soggy REALLY fast even on a fresh onigiri, and crispy nori is much tastier :)

You mention a "weird consistency", but I'm not sure what you mean by this. If it's the filling getting rubbery, that'll be the microwave; try the fridge-defrost method instead. If the rice is drying out, you need to freeze them faster or wrap them more tightly.

I don't know about the recipe, but if you have a lot of sauce left over, have you tried using it as a dipping sauce, either for the filled onigiri or for some plain-rice onigiri?

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