Lazy Sweet Rice Snacks

When my Japanese friend's children were still young, she prepared tasty rice snacks to put on standby for the hungry kids. Basically you mix rice with something tasty, pat a handful into a nice shape, and wrap it in seaweed so people eating it don't have to deal with the same sticky mess you did. Looks like sushi!

The reason I remembered this is because I'm currently living alone on a tight budget, and if I were hungry I didn't want to reach for chips or other "snacks". They are expensive, of dubious dietary impact, and of course not really filling. Which would be what I need in a snack to banish any sudden hunger before a proper time for lunch or dinner.

But I didn't have fancy ingredients, and devoting time to squeezing rice into nice shapes was just too much work for someone lazy like me. I even considered borrowing a ice cream scoop to shortcut the rice-shaping process, but... nah.

So instead, I devised something simpler: Making them by the tray.

  1. Prepare "sweet rice"
    • Here I used 4 tablespoons of sugar per 1 cup of uncooked rice. Put it straight into the rice cooker (in my case, an InstantPot).
    • If you are used to making your rice quite dry, you'll need to make it more wet than usual so that it will absorb water and clump together, rather than falling apart. But not so wet as to be mush or porridge. 2 cups of water to 1 cup of uncooked rice should be fine.
  2. Roughly diced 3/4 cup of cheap pickes (e.g., Great Value brand Bread & Butter Sweet Pickles from Walmart)
  3. When rice is ready, let it cool a bit, then mix in the pickles.
  4. Spread the rice onto a tray.
    • Something like a bread pan would be great.
    • It's up to you how thick you want the layer of rice but at least 1 cm is recommended. If it's too thin, the rice is liable to crumble when you try to scoop out a square of it.
  5. Seal tray in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge to let it cool and set so it can be cut.
And that's it. Pre-cut portions (e.g., squares) of rice while it is still in the tray. Scoop out however many portions you want to eat when you are ready to eat.

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