Sprogs — A Fun-To-Eat, On-The-Go Snack
Are you a fan of onigiri — the Japanese rice balls wrapped around centers of pickled plum, cooked seafood, veggies, and pretty much anything else the imagination can come up with?
Then, you’ll love Sprogs, the small “rice scooters,” that take them to the next level.
The San Francisco company was created by Ching-Yee Hu, a busy mom who was looking for the perfect snack for her kids, as well as herself. When she couldn’t find exactly what she was craving, she decided to make it, herself.
It’s such a brilliant concept that you wonder why someone didn’t come up with it sooner. Hu was already making pressed fresh brown-rice squares for her kids when she decided to expand on the idea with more inventive flavorings.
She uses Northern California haiga brown rice that is partially milled to remove the tough outer bran to make it easier to digest yet retains the nutritious germ inside. Then, she created both “Veggie” (vegan) and “Meatie” varieties.
I had a chance to try samples recently. The great thing about Sprogs — British slang for “kiddos” — is that you can eat these two-bite treats cold, room temperature or heated in the microwave for a few seconds after unwrapping their plastic packaging. Heating them does bring out the flavor more.
Hu makes quite a few varieties and is always coming up with new flavors. My favorite was the “Bacon & Egg,” which will make you think of breakfast or fried rice. There are peas, carrots and corn mixed in with bits of egg and bacon. The rice stays soft, too, even after being refrigerated for a couple of days. It’s a tasty, hand-held comfort food.
The “Kale & Kimchee” is tinged red and carries just enough spice to perk up the palate. The “Jamaican Jerk Chicken” has rice that tastes of coconut milk with spicy shredded chicken in its center. The “Shiitake” tastes like a favorite stir-fry flavored with soy sauce and ginger. The “Roasted Corn and Poblano” tastes of a summer salad with its sweet corn, tender bits of potato and grassy peppers. While I liked the sweet flavor of the “Coconut Red Lentil” that’s a touch spicy from green chile, I found this one to have a rather pasty texture. Maybe too much coconut milk in the cooking of the rice?
With its complex flavors, one Sprog makes for a very satisfying snack unlike some energy bars that often taste too sweet or too one-note. With three or four Sprogs, you have a light but fairly filling easy meal.
Each Sprog is 80 to 160 calories, depending upon the variety. The company delivers to homes and offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto. Sprogs also can be purchases at Bay Area retailers, including select Whole Foods, Bi-Rite markets, Rainbow Grocery, and Staff of Life Natural Food Market. A four-pack is $9.99.