Summer days are long. Sometimes when I was home, the sun was still bright like mid-afternoon. My short hair was still dripping right below my ears after shower. I threw a dry towel onto the bed and lay down on it. Raised my arms by my ears, hands gently grabbed my elbows, ankles rested on the armrest of the chair by the window, I stretched deep. The gentle evening breeze coming through an open window caressed my body – it felt so nice. And so I lay, staring out into the hills and buildings where their silhouettes blurred away in the setting sun. A wash of indigo silently creeped in and took over the shimmery beam. It left only the light in homes and that of lamp posts out there. The twilight always fell fast.
If it was already dark when I was back, I would close the curtain tight, making sure no light can sip into the bedroom, and then I started playing music from the playlist I compiled through a wireless amplifier connected to my phone. Sometimes, if I wanted the company of a more rustic sound, I pulled out a vinyl record that I loved and played it on the turntable. Still wearing that wet and messy hair, I lay on bed or buried my face into the soft blanket chest down sometimes, or, had my half of my body dangling at the bed, staring at the ceiling or the turntable, but most of the time I closed my eyes, feeling the sound waves landing on my naked skin and vibrating with my life and breaths of the moment.
Staring into the sky, listening to music, this unadulterated stillness loosened me up.
Weariness overwhelmed, I wanted something light and simple for supper. The rice I set to cook before was done, so I fluffed it up and then spread it out in a large bowl to cool down a bit. I took the side dishes I made ahead in the past weekend out from the fridge and placed the extra sweet tamagoyaki and cucumber lightly marinated in shio koji onto a plate. I like my food more at room temperature. The rice was cool enough to touch, so I mixed in a handful of bonito and nori furikake. I then scooped some rice into a small bowl, placed some grilled salted salmon flakes, and covered it up with some more rice. I dabbed my hands into water and rub some salt onto the palms. Holding the rice in the rice bowl, I started to press it between my palms, unskillfully, one press at a time, feeling the warmth in my palms, the tender yet sticky texture, and the present moment of an endless stream of time.
At times, there are circumstances in life that could be so out of our hands. Let a blank space in your life, make yourself a heart-warming dinner with your not-so-skillful hands and seal that moment.
鰹魚紫菜飯素 ¼ 杯
海鹽 1 茶匙
鹽味牛油片 (可不加) 按口味
- 可加可不加 – 在飯糰放上鹽味牛油。
Yaki Onigiri with Salmon
Ingredients (for 4 onigiri):
Cooked Japanese short grain rice 2 cups
Bonito and nori furikake ¼ cups
Grilled salted salmon flakes ½ cup
Soy sauce 1 tablespoon
Mirin 1 tablespoon
Drinking water 1 cup
Sea salt 1 teaspoon
Salted butter slices (optional) To taste
- Place the rice in a large bowl, let cool a bit, and then mix in the furikake. Mix soy sauce and mirin in a small bowl, set aside.
- Place half a scoop of rice in a small bowl, put 2 teaspoons of salmon flakes on the rice, and cover it with another half a scoop of rice. Gently press the rice.
- Wet your hands with drinking water. Dab a bit of salt onto your palms.
- Put the rice on one palm. Gently press the rice ball into a triangle shape in your palms. Do not press too hard.
- Heat up a grilling rack over medium heat (or you can use a non-stick pan), put the onigiri on the rack and grill till it is dry on the side down. Flip over, brush the soy sauce mix on, flip over again when the other side is grilled dry. Repeat the steps. Be noted that the onigiri can be burnt quickly once soy sauce is applied.
- Optional – place the salted butter slices onto the warm onigiri. Ready to serve.
It’s raining outside, crisp and bleak. Three chubby sparrows took shelter on my balcony and I gave them the baguette bits left on my breakfast plate but they flew away. I stayed in, played Damien Rice on vinyl and made apple crumble. Repeat.