Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Freetown chaos and banana bread

This place really makes me laugh sometimes. Sometimes it also makes me cry… but that’s another story.

I just came back from having lunch with my friend Dina (who is an amazing cook). She has just had her living room painted – nothing funny about that, except that the painters painted around the furniture. Didn’t move it. Just painted right around it – so when she wanted to rearrange her furniture there were big ugly sections of the old paint in the shape of bookshelves and arm chairs. Very African.

Driving in Freetown is quite the experience. When I first got behind the wheel here I was petrified; literally shaking. There are no rules and if there are – nobody knows them. I had to keep pushing myself to drive and I knew that each day would get easier – and it did – but initially I really had to force myself to do it. These days I’m a natural – I drive like the Sierra Leoneans, who, just between you and me, are the worst drivers in the world.

Most of the cars on the road are taxis - which in Freetown are denoted by a thick yellow stripe on the side of a car. Any car. That’s it. No meters, no signage. The taxi system is somewhat different here. You don’t just get a taxi to yourself – you get one seat. So there are several people sharing the taxi with you. You also don’t get just the one taxi to where you want to go. Depending on your destination you may need to catch several. Taxis generally run a particular route, so they could go from the beginning of one road to the end of it – you would then need to get another taxi for the next section of your trip and so on.

As part of the disarmament and reintegration process after the war, many ex-combatants were provided with grants and training to start their own businesses and many of them went into the taxi business. While many of the taxis are safe – you have to be careful as there are all sorts of characters driving them.

My favorite thing on the road (not) is when the cars just stop in front of you, no indicators, no warning, no pulling over to one side, just stop, in the middle of the road. This may be to pick someone up, drop someone off, because they’ve broken down, got a flat tire, have a chat, need to buy some food, get a drink of water, pee, whatever. Doesn’t matter that there are a hundred cars behind them all blasting their horns like maniacs and screaming. They just take their time, oblivious to everything and everyone around them.

Other times, whole roads will be cordoned off by the police because someone important is coming through. This could mean being stuck at a standstill in traffic for a couple of hours, with no way of getting out.

The other favorite (again, I’m being facetious) is getting stuck behind a big truck (these tend to be circa 1960), which is going at about 10 kilometers per hour pumping out black plumes of smoke – and there is no getting away from it – bumper to bumper traffic behind and in the opposite lane. The only thing to do is take short, little, shallow breaths. And a shower when you get home. Even worse to be stuck behind a garbage truck.

A quick recipe before heading off from Freetown chaos to Cairo and Marrakech on Friday morning (at 3am - eek!) for two weeks (!!!) Very, very excited, especially about the food.

This is a great recipe for banana bread. I'm making it right now to take to Nicoletta's farewell tomorrow night. She is going home to Italy to have a baby!

It's really worth the extra effort of baking the bananas and soaking the raisins – but would be really delicious anyway if you couldn’t be bothered to do this. It’s adapted ever so slightly from the roast banana-pumpkin breakfast bread recipe from 101 Cookbooks:

You will need:
  • 3/4 cup raisins (I also add some dried apricots chopped into raisin size pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of rum, brandy or whisky
  • 2 large bananas, or 4 small ones, unpeeled
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla exract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Pour the alcohol over the raisins and bring to boil in a small saucepan. Let stand for 1 hour or so. Discard liquid (I'm sure you can find a good use for it)
  3. Bake the bananas in the oven for around 10 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl (if you have a stand mixer - use this - I don't - but I want one) cream the butter and sugar for around 3 minutes using an electric mixer (although of course you could do this by hand). Add one egg and mix until completely incorporated. Add second egg. Mix until completely incorporated.
  6. Meanwhile, squeeze the flesh of the bananas out of the skins and into yet another mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and mash up together.
  7. Add half of this banana mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture and mix (using the electric mixer - or not if you don't have one) until completely blended. Add half of the flour mixture to this mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining banana mixture and blend thoroughly. And you guessed it - now add the remaining flour mixture and mix until all are blended together.
  8. Fold the raisins (and apricots if using) into the mixture.
  9. Pour into greased loaf pan (or whatever you are using).
  10. Bake in the oven for around 1 hour - or until a toothpick or match (or whatever you use to check if things are ready) inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool on a rack. Slice. Eat.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Smuggled celery, potato and carrot soup

Toshi was away for most of this week on a work trip to Kambia (in the north-west of the country).

Normally when it's just me I go back to basics when it comes to food - like to my all time favorite comfort food - a huge serving of mashed potatoes and two fried eggs. Disgusted? I can't get enough of it. It makes me so happy. I settle back into the couch, eat, and watch dvds of polish soap operas, which my mum loads me up with each time I go home.

I could have eaten this happily every day Toshi was away except that I had a big bag of celery in the fridge. Now, celery may not sound very exciting to you - but I have not had any for at least a year and can't get any here. I've never been a huge fan of celery, but suddenly I found myself craving it - couldn't stop thinking about it! This celery was flown in from the US and smuggled inside Susie's suitcase and she so very kindly gave me two whole bunches of it.

I had a few carrots and potatoes lying around so I decided to make soup. And what absolutely delicious soup it was.

To make this celery, potato and carrot soup you will need:
  • 3-4 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
  • Two (small) bunches (or one large bunch) of celery, sliced.
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1.5 liters vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt, pepper
  • Yoghurt or cream to garnish (optional)
  1. Melt the butter (or olive oil), add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.
  2. Add the carrots, potatoes and celery, cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the stock, bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until all vegetables are tender This should take around 20-25 minutes.
  4. Blend the soup until reasonably smooth.
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Serve and top with a bit of cream or yogurt. Grind some pepper on top.
I don't have any photos of the soup as my photographer was away.

The photo below is of a Sierra Leonean woman grinding groundnuts for a delicious local dish - groundnut stew. I will share a recipe of this soon.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pho Ga - Vietnamese Chicken Soup

This has to be one of my favorite meals ever. There is something so special about this amazing bowl of tasty, soothing broth that just makes everything in the world OK. I've not yet been to Vietnam, but I've eaten at plenty of good Vietnamese restaurants and this bowl of pho is just as good as any of those - if not better just because you have the satisfaction of having made it yourself. I made this last weekend (it's definitely something to do on a weekend as it requires some time), froze the left over broth and we are having it again today. I found this recipe at Viet World Kitchen - I adapted it ever so slightly and the only thing I added was some star anise, which as I learned recently from Heston Blumenthal is a natural meat flavor enhancer.

For this delicious pho you will need:

For the broth:
  • 2 unpeeled onions
  • Around 8cm of ginger - unpeeled
  • 1 whole chicken (around 2kg)
  • Additional 1 1/2 kg of bony chicken pieces (backs, necks)
  • 5 litres water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 x 2.5cm chunk of rock sugar
  • 2 x tablespoons of coriander seeds, toasted
  • 4 x cloves
  • 1 x star anise
  • 1 bunch of coriander (roots, stems and leaves - stems around 2.5 cm in diameter)
For the bowls
  • Flat rice noodles (dried or fresh)
  • Cooked chicken
Additional garnishes
  • 1 onion, sliced paper thin, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained
  • Coriander (the leaves only)
  • Mint
  • Bean sprouts
  • Chilies, thinly sliced
  • Limes, cut into wedges
  • Thai basil
To make the broth:
  1. Grill onions and ginger until the skins are blackened almost all over (I don't have a grill so I did this directly over the gas stove burners). After 10 to 15 minutes they would have softened slightly. Remove from heat and let cool. Rinse the onions and rub off the charred skin. Peel the ginger, halve it lengthwise and bruise lightly. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the chicken. Detach each wing by cutting it off at the shoulder joint. With a heavy cleaver, whack the bones of the chicken and chicken parts to break them partway or all the way through. This will expose the marrow and enrich the broth.
  3. In order to achieve a clear broth, it is critical to parboil the chicken first. Put it in a large pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes to release the impurities. Throw away the water, rinse the chicken and scrub the pot clean. Return all the chicken pieces and chicken to the pot, breast side up.
  4. Add the onions, ginger, salt, fish sauce, rock sugar, coriander seeds, cloves, coriander and star anise. Pour over the 5 litres of water.
  5. Bring to boil and lower heat to a gentle simmer (it is necessary to maintain a gentle simmer to achieve a clear broth). Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes.
  6. The chicken is now cooked. Use tongs and a big spoon to transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Be REALLY careful when you do this - once I burnt myself very badly with the liquid from the centre of the chicken. Keep the broth at a steady simmer.
  7. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove each breast half and the whole thighs. Set aside to cool. Return the leftover carcass to the pot and simmer gently for another 1 and 1/2 hours
  8. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the solids. Taste and adjust flavor with additional salt, fish sauce and rock sugar.
Assemble the bowls.
  1. Prepare the rice noodles according to packet directions.
  2. Cut the cooked chicken into slices.
  3. Prepare the garnishes into separate bowls for people to help themselves (cut the onion, coriander, chili, mint, prepare the bean sprouts and the lime).
  4. For each bowl, place a portion of the noodles inside, place chicken on top. Ladle broth into each bowl. Serve immediately and allow people to add own garnish.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Maldivian Pasta

We had the most delicious dinner last night. Maldivian pasta courtesy of Renata (that's Renata in the picture)- who is a friend of Mieke's and the woman who introduced us to an AMAZING restaurant and wine bar in Rome - Enoteca Ferrara. This was by far the best place we went to while we were in Italy a couple of years ago, and we went to many great places.

Renata is from Rome but now lives in Male, Maldives where she is working as a legal adviser to the government, helping them organize the elections. Hence the Maldivian pasta.

You will need:
  • Pasta - Renata recommends penne or shells, but last night we felt like making our own pasta so we had fettuccine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Maldivian tuna fish, or whatever you have (we used barracuda) cut into small pieces
  • Capers chopped into small pieces (I used quite a lot, about half of a 200g jar)
  • Salt, pepper
  • Chili
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Boil pasta until al dente
  2. Saute onion in generous amount of olive oil, add chili
  3. Add fish, stir until cooked through
  4. Add capers
  5. Season with salt and pepper and add parsley
  6. Add pasta, stir until mixed through
  7. Serve (I added some additional olive oil at this point, next time maybe I'll add a squeeze of lemon)
This was so, so delicious. I hope I get more recipes from Renata....

Here is a photo of Huvafen Fushi from Renata - an underwater spa in the Maldives - apparently Kate Moss stayed there last weekend....

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weekend breakfast

What a week. It started off with the shocking news of the shooting of Jose Ramos Horta - the President of East Timor. Having lived in East Timor for a couple of years, the little country has a very special place in my heart. I'm very sad about what is going on there right now... and hoping for the best.

I'm currently doing some work with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and this week was a particularly busy one as I had two colleagues coming to Freetown for the week - one from Washington DC and the other from Bogota and it was all non-stop meetings, being stuck in bad traffic, climbing countless flights of stairs in 90% humidity and trying to retain some level of composure.

The other notable event of this week was a fuel shortage in Freetown. There is an imminent fuel price increase and most stations have stopped selling fuel until the price increase is implemented so they can make more money. This means that only a couple of fuel stations are selling fuel, resulting in lines of dozens and dozens of cars at these stations. I had the misfortune, along with thousands of others of getting stuck in the middle of this.

Needless to say I'm very happy that the weekend has finally arrived. We are in a rush every week-day morning and don't have much time to enjoy breakfast during the week but on weekends it's a different story and we really take our time. This morning we had, what I suppose I could call 'Eggs Mexicana' (or Huevos Mexicanos) fresh mango juice and coffee. Delicious.

For Eggs Mexicana you will need:

(Serves 2)
  • 2 flour or corn tortillas
  • 4 free range eggs
  • Bacon or ham (optional)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 chili
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • A little coriander
  • Salt, pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying eggs
  1. Make the salsa. Chop tomato, avocado, onion, chili and mix in a bowl. Add juice of one lime, season with salt and pepper, add coriander and mix.
  2. Cook bacon or ham if using.
  3. Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in oven for a few minutes until soft and heated through.
  4. Fry (or poach) eggs making sure that yolks are runny.
  5. Take one tortilla per person, on one half of the tortilla place bacon, then salsa, then eggs. Fold the other half of tortilla over and eat immediately.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mieke's Prawns Sihanoukville

Mieke and I also met in Jakarta, we worked together for a while at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Mieke is now in Colombo, Sri Lanka with her very cool husband Guy and daughter Ted and has started up a new venture called KOOII working with Sri Lankan artists. That's Mieke and Ted in the photo and this is Mieke's recipe for Prawns Sihanoukville (or prawns Cambodia style):

You will need:
  • Sea salt

  • Bay leaf

  • Large prawns in shell

  • Lime

  • Ground black pepper
  1. Boil water with sea salt and a bay leaf. Add large prawns in shell.

  2. Make dressing: squeeze lime, grind fresh black pepper, add sea salt and mix.

  3. After prawns turn pink, drain them, wrap them in a tea towel, put this packet in a strainer and cover with ice cubes.

  4. When cool, serve as appetizer - let guests shell their own prawns and dip them in the sauce.

That's Mieke's fish monger in the photo. Looks like quite the character.

Rob's Tempeh

I met Rob in Jakarta. We had loads of good times (although not too many of them involved food if I recall correctly...). Rob now lives in Melbourne with his partner Nikki and gorgeous daughter Zara whom sadly I still have not met but plan to very soon. After five years in Jakarta as a correspondent for The Straits Times he moved to Colombo, Sri Lanka and after a few years there he recently made the move to Melbourne.

In addition to being a writer and photographer, Rob is a super cook and has shared his recipe for tempeh and rice. Over to Rob:

I suppose my favorite ever thing to eat, and this can be blamed on my childhood, growing up in near poverty in East Java is tempeh and rice.

So here we go:

  • 500 gr tempeh
  • Coriander pods, a handful

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • Pinch of salt

  • Sweet soy sauce, or kecap manis, to taste

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Slice tempeh to around 0.5 cm thickness.
  2. Crush coriander pods, add garlic and salt, and crush some more (mortar and pestle or the javanese ulek-ulek would be great here). Add enough water to make a paste the consistency of thin, runny yoghurt.

  3. Marinate tempeh in coriander paste. Half an hour would be enough, but the longer you do, the more the flavors get absorbed.

  4. Heat about an inch of oil to near smoking point, and drop in the tempeh slices. You want the tempeh brown, but not burnt. Usually a minute each side for me. Drain tempeh well. You don't want them oily.

  5. Make rice.

  6. Place serving of rice on paper, drizzle with sweet soy sauce to taste, add tempeh slices, and voila.

I'm being serious. This is one of my favorite meals, ever.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Green Thai-style Curry

I can't go back to store bought, ready-made curry pastes. It makes so much difference when you make your own. This is a recipe for a green Thai-style curry. We had this last week with shrimp but you could use chicken, fish or whatever vegetables you have.

For the green curry paste you will need:
  • Chilies (I used two really hot ones - they look like the habanero, maybe they are) but if they are less hot you will need to add more - depending on your taste
  • A handful of spring onions (most recipes call for shallots but I can't get these here) or half a yellow onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3 cm chunk of ginger (or galangal if you have it)
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced lemon grass (I don't have this so I don't use it)
  • A slice of lime rind
  • A big handful of coriander leaves, stalks and roots
  • 1/2 a tablespoon of peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon each of roasted coriander and cumin seeds (I throw them in a dry frying pan over high heat for a minute or so and they're done) - you can use a bit less of ground coriander or cumin too
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • Juice of one lime
For the rest:
  • Shrimp, chicken, fish or whatever vegetables you want to use (could be pumpkin, sweet potato, tomato, carrot, snow peas, whatever you fancy). I used two dozen small shrimp.
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
  • Oil (whatever type you like to use)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Fish sauce to season
  • Some coriander leaves to garnish
Place all of the curry paste ingredients in a food processor (you could use a mortar and pestle if you prefer or don't have a food processor. You might want to grind the roasted coriander seeds before putting them in the food processor as they tend to stay in quite large chunks - I quite like this, but you might not). Blend for a minute or so until it turns into a vibrant green paste.

Put whatever oil you like to use in a frying pan and throw in your shrimp, fish, chicken or vegetables and fry until they are about half cooked. The reason I do this is rather than putting them in raw into the sauce is because they add a really deep flavor to the oil and as a result to the rest of the dish. Take them out of the pan and put aside, leaving the oil in the pan. Cook the onions, and add the paste, I add around 3 tablespoons first, give it a bit of a fry and then I pour in the coconut milk, the water, bring it to a boil and then I taste and add more paste until it suits my taste. Add some more fish sauce, then whatever protein or vegetables you are using and simmer for a few more minutes until cooked through. Add more fish sauce if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice. Easy.

This will serve 3 hungry and 4 less hungry people.

Super easy, super moist chocolate cake

This is a recipe I got from my Polish/French friend Dina who has recently moved to Freetown (well it's more or less that recipe, I lost the note on which it was written so I'm working from memory). It's in the oven as I write this and it took me five minutes to throw it all together.

You will need:
  • 200 grams of bittersweet chocolate
  • 200 grams of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Some vanilla (or a splash of brandy as I'm doing)
  • 5 eggs
  • 75 grams of plain/all purpose flour
  • A splash or sprinkle of coffee (this accentuates the chocolate flavor apparently)
Melt the butter and chocolate together. Stir in the sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Put in the vanilla or brandy or whatever flavor you like (if any at all). Whisk in the flour, add the coffee.

Butter a small/medium cake tin and pour in the mixture.

Put into moderate oven until the cake is firm and a toothpick, match or knife comes out clean (mine took just under 30 minutes).

Ok so my version may not be the prettiest thing around, but if you tip it upside down it will be presentable enough. The holes in the top are just from me poking around to see if it's ready.

My (currently) favorite cake

I have to share this recipe with you for an EVO (that's extra virgin olive oil) and Yoghurt cake. I got it from Dorie Greenspan's website. It is so, so, so easy and very moist and delicious.

You will need:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar (actually I put in somewhere between 1/2 a cup and 3/4 of a cup depending on my mood - I find 1 cup to be a bit too much)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime (or lemon, or whatever citrus)
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I use a rather uninspiring long-life variety because it's all I can get but it works just fine)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I don't have any so I don't use it)
  • 1/2 cup evo (extra-virgin olive oil) (but I've seen other similar recipes that call for other types of oil so if you don't have access to evo, it's not the end of the world, just use whatever you have)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 350 degrees F) [or in my case just turn the oven on as I have a very basic Chinese contraption on which you can't really control the heat, it's more like hot, and really hot].

Butter a loaf pan, or a small cake tin.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and keep near by.

Put the sugar and zest in a medium bowl and rub the ingredients together until the sugar is fragrant. Whisk in the yogurt, eggs and vanilla. When the mixture is well blended, gently whisk in the dry ingredients. Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil. The batter will be thick and shiny. Scrape it into the pan and smooth the top.

[Sometimes I take half a cup of raisins and chopped up dried apricots, pour some whisky, rum, brandy or whatever is lying around, bring to a boil for a couple of minutes - don't make the same mistake as me and let the alcohol catch on fire, my right arm has no hair left on it, but at least my eyebrows are still in tact - let the raisins stand for 30 minutes and soak up the alcohol, then pour in half the cake mixture and sprinkle in half of the lovely drunken fruit, pour over the other half of the cake mixture and sprinkle over the remaining fruit. The reason for doing it this way is that if you mix in the fruit into the mixture, most of the fruit sinks to the bottom, this way, it seems to be more evenly distributed. I reckon so anyway.]

Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes [in my oven, this only takes 25 minutes so keep a watchful eye on it], or until it is golden and starts to come away from the sides of the pan; a knife inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.

So good.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Snapper and rice

I spend so much of my time reading cookbooks, trawling the internet for recipes that only require those ingredients that I have access to. I’ve become pretty good at adapting and experimenting – and things turn out pretty well..... most of the time anyway. I can get amazing seafood here (and it's super cheap) and I can buy some decent vegetables (like tomatoes, onion, garlic, aubergine, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots). I can get some herbs. I can buy pretty much anything that comes in a can. I can get tough local beef, frozen legs of lamb that travel all the way from New Zealand and frozen chickens from Brazil (Brazil dominates much of the African frozen chicken market). Thanks to the significant Indian and Lebanese communities here I can get some great spices. We also smuggle in various key ingredients in our suitcases every time we travel. So things really ain’t bad. But you need to get a bit creative to keep things interesting. The first recipe I'm going to share with you is one for 'Tai-Meshi' - which literally translates from Japanese to 'Snapper Rice'. We had this last Wednesday night. It's delicious and super easy.

You'll need the following:

3 cups rice
(use Japonica rice if you have it, if not, use whatever you have)

- we use dashi (Japanese fish stock), if
you can't get that just use normal fish stock, or vegetable stock. We use a rice cooker but you can use a normal saucepan. Put in enough stock to cover the rice plus a centimeter on top (or just whatever proportion of rice to water you are used to working with)

A small whole snapper
scaled and gutted (or whatever fish you h
ave, you don't have to use a whole fish, but it is best when the bones and skin are used as these give the rice additional flavor.

A piece of kombu (seaweed) - this adds great flavor but don't worry too much if you don't have it

Wash the rice, drain it. Add in the stock. Place the fish on top of the rice, throw in the kombu. If you're using a rice cooker put it on the normal setting (not the speedy setting). If you're using a saucepan, bring the pan to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over the lowest heat possible for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and rest for 10 minutes. Discard the kombu, put the fish on a separate plate (it's really good with a little bit of soy sauce). Dish out the rice into bowls and dig in.

This is more than enough for two or eve
n three people. We always cook too much and give whatever is leftover to our guards and Sorie (he lives in a house on the side of ours and does things like turn our generator on and off, clean the compound, and fixes things here and there). You can also make 'onigiri' (rice balls) and have them for lunch the following day. You can make these by waiting till the rice has cooled enough so that you can handle it with your hands and then working them into triangles (see the photo for Toshi's demonstration). We added furikake (these are delicious sprinkles of various things such as dried fish, dried soy beans, sesame, shiso, and lots of other yummy things). You could add some other spices, herbs or nothing at all. If you're putting the onigiri in the fridge overnight make sure you store them in an air tight container because dried-out rice is gross.