I bet you never thought you’d see those three words together! Let me say up front that this is not home made but I think you’ll be happy with the easy and quick concept. This would be a great last-minute appetizer for a dinner where you aim to impress and happen to have some previously made onigiri sitting in the fridge.

But first, a little background on how I came up with this idea.

I was making a huge, DEEP pot of quinoa tonight for lunches this week (using Not-Chick’n Bouillon Cubes instead of plain water and a wee dribble of peanut oil). The pot I was using was very deep and not very wide so the quinoa on the bottom was much more moist than that which was towards the top of the batch. So much so that I wondered, could I use it instead of rice to make onigiri? Was it that moist and would it stick together?

Well, the answers were yes and mostly. Yes, it was moist enough to use in my onigiri mold and it stuck together well enough for something that wasn’t going to travel far (i.e., take a ride on the bento express).

I’ve got several in the freezer right now to see if freezing helps them stick together. I’ll post an update later.

So, to create this appetizer, you’ll need leftover quinoa onigiri. As much as you want to make into onigiri shapes. The easiest thing to do is make a huge batch of quinoa for dinners and lunches and use some of it for onigiri. Make it in advance and store it in the fridge until you need it.

Then, I totally cheated and used store-bought mango chutney and garnished with spring onion. Very easy and quick. I whipped up four of these in just a few minutes. I think you could likely top this with any number of green garnishes and voila! Instant appetizer!

Here’s the run down for 4 appetizers:

  • 4 previously made and refrigerated quinoa onigiri (wrap individually in plastic wrap to keep shapes snug until needed)
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) of mango chutney per serving (I used Native Forest® Mango Passion Chutney made by Edward and Sons, this stuff is neat skeet but it appears they don’t make it anymore)
  • 4 spring onion garnishes, chopped, shredded or however you want

This recipe is all about plating and garnishes. Plate one onigiri per plate, top each with 2 tablespoons of the mango chutney and garnish creatively. The spring onion really sets off the mango chutney but you could probably try fresh cilantro leaves or sprigs of chives for a different approach.

You could also use regular rice onigiri but I’d make sure it was plain, unseasoned. Some folks like to season their onigiri sushi style even though that’s not really traditional. I don’t think the sushi rice seasoning would go well with the mango chutney but test first if you’re curious.

If you’re looking for more info on onigiri, there’s a great FAQ and tutorial at Just Bento.

And if you’re serving this for a Halloween dinner, just call it Bloody Bed of Maggots!