Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do You Make Rice Balls For Your Toddler? Do You Have Any Recipes Or Advice For A Newbie?

Lil' Chow lived for a year with a wonderful family in Korea who seem to have made him a good eater.

When we took Lil' Chow, the family packed his bags with an array of his favorite snack foods, a container of miso soup, and a package of homemade rice balls.

So now I'm trying to make soup and rice balls.  The balls are essential because I'm cooking more rice than ever before, and we don't finish even the 2-cup minimum that the new Japanese rice maker cooks each time.  Plus, they could be a great part of the vegetarian lunches that I'll need to pack for daycare.

So does anyone out there make rice balls for their toddlers?  I have read recipes and blogs.  I know that I can use the leftover rice and flavor them in an endless number of ways.  But I'd love some suggestions about what kids really eat.  And whether I should make the balls with warm rice, then put them in the fridge.  Or whether I could use cold rice to make them "fresh" the next morning.

Frankly, I'll take any advice.  It's a fun, new technique, and Lil' Chow seems always hungry.


Anonymous said...

We use this to make rice squares and squid hotdogs for my son's lunch some days:

This can be done with hot rice(use something sticky like sushi) and it holds up until he eats his lunch at 1130.

We also make onigiri and stuff it with spicy tuna which he absolutely loves!

Anonymous said...

The rice in your photo looks long grain. Try a sushi grade (short grain) rice in your cooker with a splash of extra water. We ball them warm with a piece of leftover meat in the middle.

wendy said...

I used to like mine with sesame seed oil, a tiny bit of soy, and cut up pieces of dried seaweed (gim) mixed in and rolled into balls. YUM! :)

EastCoastMatt said...

haha, my little tot loves them, even just plain! She eats regular veggies really well, so i'll put in little bits of bulgogi (shredded or chopped really well while removing any stringy tendon) in the balls - or any other meat that we happen to be eating for that meal - for her. Great way to sneak in the protein.

Chris said...

Definitely try the shorter grain rice. We use the HanGukMi. Works great.

My son, probably about the same age, loves eating the the rice with dumpling filling. So we cook some extra dumplings and pull the filling out and mix with rice.

Megan said...

We've never tried rice balls for our two year old, but they definitely look like something she'd enjoy. I just wanted to encourage you not to get trapped by the definition of "toddler food". It's so limiting, and if you just present food as food, I know for us it's made meal times a lot simpler. Sometimes, my daughter doesn't eat dinner. That's okay. She'll make up for it the next day. But we always present her with good quality food, full of lots of flavors. I don't think we've ever said "Oh, I don't think she'll like that." Instead, it's "Well, it seems like she doesn't want that right now." I honestly believe that kids limit what they eat based on our expectations!

bmorecupcake said...

We stuff ours with salmon, but our toddler enjoys cod liver oil, so maybe she's not a good barometer. I've made them with Jasmine rice with some success, but warm sushi-style rice is the best like others said. I also season the rice (sugar, salt, rice vinegar), but I don't think that is traditional either. I make them in the morning by reheating day-old, leftover rice. There are great bento sites out there that I learned from: Lunch in a Box and Just Hungry come to mind.

Anonymous said...

I definitely have to agree with the others about using a shorter grain rice. Not only does it hold it's shape better, it also doesn't get dry when it's refrigerated like regular white rice does. Whole foods also has a really good short grain brown rice that I've come to love. Stuffed with canned tuna (I mix with sesame oil, a little mayo, and Sriracha) and if you're feeling fancy sprinkle on a little furikake (a seaweed, sesame seed, and dried seafood seasoning) So good!

Jenny said...

We make what the Koreans call yubuchobap or Japanese call Inari sushi using the wrappers we buy at Lotte. The wrappers add some moisture, which helps it last more that a day, plus there it takes less time to form them.

Anonymous said...

Besides getting the rice right per previous posters, just wanted to suggest looking into some accessories that Japanese folks use to mold both standard and cute shapes. This site is just an example - you may be able to find some locally as well.

lisbeth said...

Hi HowChow,

Rice balls are the best! The version that Wendy wrote with sesame seed oil, soy and pieces of geem seaweed is a classic. I call it 'baby food' and ate it all the time growing up and in college when I ran out of stuff in the house.

You can also use furikake to season rice balls. If you go to the aisle in the Asian market with the box curry and instant miso soup, they have rice seasoning packs. It's usually written in Japanese so I look at the photos on the package to tell me what it is haha.

Kids love omurice. A super easy version you could make is to mix steamed white rice with a bit of ketchup and make a thin scrambled egg omelette shell to wrap around the ketchup rice mixture.

Onigiri rice balls or triangle kimbop is easy to make too. Mix some canned tuna with kewpie mayo and stuff a ball or triangle of rice using your hands or an onigiri mold.

But the easiest is getting those seasoned seaweed geem (costco has a good one) and just put a bit of rice in them and roll like mini kimbop. YUM!

I think I'm going to eat rice balls tonight for dinner haha.

Anonymous said...

Mix veg into the rice. Most kids at least like corn because it is sweet and you don't have to cut it up. But you can cut up any veg and then give them a name like Rainbow Balls (If there are a lot of colors). Veg just need a lot of good PR for most kids I know.

They also sell triangle gimbap kits at the markets around here for when she gets older and can manage getting them open. These work great for picnics since they keep your gim crispy.

Mr Dai said...


google it.