My New Favorite Onigiri: Yukari
Growing up, we only really ate three types of musubis at parties or picnics. Plain musubi, musubi wrapped with nori, and musubi filled with ume. Even though I love ume now, I never used to like it as a kid and I would always look for the red dotted musubi to tell me NOT to get that one.
Sometimes though, people would put it in without any warning and I’d bite into it and be all grossed out. What a silly, picky eater I was to not like ume!
My brother works at the Sheraton Waikiki and he’s given us a stay now and then as gifts and at the little convenience shop downstairs they sell musubis, bread, snacks, etc. One time during our stay, I bought a musubi with purple speckles and it turned out to be an ume-flavored musubi and my goodness was it delicious.
Eventually through experimenting with purchases at Marukai, I found out that it’s called Yukari Seasoning. Essentially dried flakes of red perilla, or beefsteak, which is what is used to flavor ume. So while there is no plum in the seasoning, it tastes just like the pickled plum because this is what the plum is pickled with in the first place!
All you do is take hot rice and sprinkle the powder on. Mix it up really well and then form into a musubi!
In this photo I used two different brands of seasoning, with the one in front having little specks of ume in it and being more brightly purple. If you mix it up and then let it sit for a minute or so, I’ve found this helps bring the purple color out.
If you can find this seasoning at your local Asian market and you love ume flavor, definitely give this a try. It’s sooo yummy!