Ten Fermented Seven Spice Mango Onigiri rice balls sit on a blue plate

Fermented Seven Spice Mango Onigiri Recipe

Japanese seven spice, also referred to as shichimi togarashi, most commonly contains a blend of red pepper, Sichuan pepper, ginger, white and black sesame seeds, orange peel and nori flakes. It contributes a multi-dimensional savory flavor alongside a gentle heat, and is commonly used to adorn ramen, udon noodles, tempura and edamame.

Since mango, chile and lime are such a well-established combination, the idea to lacto-ferment mango pieces with a citrus, chile-based spice blend came to fruition when developing this ferment. The next step was to utilize it to fill the interior of a popular Japanese rice dish, onigiri.

Onigiri is a triangular or cylindrical piece of white rice and is commonly filled with fish or umeboshi (fermented plum) paste. The fermented mango contributes sweet, salty and sea notes, culminating in a flavor-filled bite.

What’s Good to Know with Chef Olivia:

  • Using the fermented mango brine to season the sushi rice is not only resourceful but also imparts a great deal of flavor.
  • This ferment would taste delicious mixed with some mayo and used as a dipping sauce for French fries.
  • Serve your batch of fermented mango over coconut sticky rice for a savory version of the beloved dessert favorite.
  • When preparing your ferment, try to source mangoes that are not rock hard but also not too ripe. This will help them keep their shape when fermented.
  • Try adding your mango ferment to burritos, breakfast tacos or spicy tempura sushi rolls.


Fermented Seven Spice Mango Onigiri Recipe


For the Fermented Seven Spice Mango Spears:
Yield: 1/2 gallon-sized jar

  • 3 large mangoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick spears
  • 1 ginger root, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced on diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • water, to cover

For the Fermented Seven Spice Mango Onigiri & Assembly: 
Yield: 16 pieces

  • 2 cups white sushi rice
  • 1/4 cup fermented mango brine
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups fermented seven spice mango spears
  • 1/4 cup furikake
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds


For the Fermented Seven Spice Mango Spears:

  1. Add mango spears, diced ginger, sliced scallions, shichimi togarashi, salt and sugar to a large bowl.
  2. Massage for 2 minutes. Fold in rice vinegar and allow mixture to rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Pack mixture into a sterilized, glass 1/2-gallon jar, along with any residual liquid; add fermentation weight.
  4. Cover with water until the level comes up 1 inch below the lower rim.
  5. Attach airlock lid and ferment at room temperature for 5 to 7 days.
  6. Refrigerate for extended storage.

For the Fermented Seven Spice Mango Onigiri & Assembly:

  1. Rinse sushi rice until water runs clear.
  2. Add to a pot and cover with cold water until level reaches 1 inch above the rice.
  3. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Steam for 10 additional minutes.
  4. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a wide bowl.
  5. Gently fold in fermented mango brine and sea salt.
  6. Lightly wet hands by dipping in a bowl of water.
  7. Flatten 1/4 cup of rice into palm of hand. Add in a heaping tablespoon of fermented seven spice mango into center of rice.
  8. Fold rice over the mango to enclose the mango and form a ball. Shape into a triangle and repeat process with remaining rice and mango.
  9. Dip one side of each onigiri in either furikake, black or white sesame seeds.

More fermented recipes from Chef Olivia:

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