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Turkey & Gravy Yaki Onigiri

SERVES: 6 rice balls PREP: 30 minutes TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes
Turkey & Gravy Yaki Onigiri

Turkey & Gravy Yaki Onigiri

SERVES: 6 rice balls PREP: 30 minutes TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes

Leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches are good...until you try Japanese-inspired crispy rice balls stuffed with turkey and gravy.

My parents make a 20-pound turkey every year for our family of five at Thanksgiving because my dad gets it for free at work. There is always too much turkey leftover, and I always get sick of it after two days. So I’ve had to start getting creative with repurposing leftovers. This year, I decided to stuff turkey and gravy into yaki onigiri, a grilled—or in this case griddled in a skillet—Japanese-style crispy rice balls for portable snacks that even stand up to a day or two in the fridge. You can make them into the classic triangle shape using a little plastic wrap and your hands, or buy an onigiri mold at an Asian grocery store (or online for around $5). The angular sides of the triangle will sear up nicely, but you can also just press the rice balls into flat discs that yield similarly crispy results and are much easier for beginner onigiri makers.

  • 2 cups short-grain rice, such as sushi or arborio

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 ½ teaspoons sugar

  • ½ cup leftover minced turkey, preferably dark meat

  • ¼ cup cold leftover gravy, preferably Pepper’s Cheat’n Gravy

  • 3–4 tablespoons canola oil for cooking, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, for glazing

  • Cooking spray

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