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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) おにぎり • Simply One Cookbook

Filled with a wide range of fillings and flavors, Onigiri, or Japanese Rice Balls, make an excellent fast snack and a enjoyable different to sandwiches for lunch. On this recipe, you‘ll learn to make onigiri utilizing frequent substances for rice balls in Japan.

An oval plate containing 3 pieces of Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) placed on a bamboo leaf.

Onigiri (おにぎり), typically known as Omusubi (おむすび), are Japanese rice balls. They’re what I name the magical meals of the Japanese. Tender, toothsome rice made moveable, they’re the traditional consolation meals for picnics (particularly throughout the cherry blossom viewing), bento lunch containers, fast grab-and-go snacks, mountain climbing journeys, film snacks, and so on.

Rising up in Japan, I’ve the fondest reminiscences of serving to my mother form freshly cooked rice into triangles and pack them neatly into my bento containers earlier than working off to highschool. 

A plate containingn 2 onigiri (Japanese rice balls) garnished with bonito flakes and salmon on top.A plate containingn 2 onigiri (Japanese rice balls) garnished with bonito flakes and salmon on top.

What’s Onigiri (Omusubi)?

Onigiri (おにぎり) are Japanese rice balls manufactured from steamed rice that you just compress right into a triangular, ball, or cylinder form and are normally wrapped in a nori seaweed sheet. You’ll be able to taste them flippantly with simply salt or add a wide range of fillings.

The phrase “onigiri” is extra generally used all through Japan, but it surely’s often known as nigirimeshi (握り飯) or omusubi (おむすび).

Adored by all ages, onigiri show their significance and recognition in Japanese on a regular basis lives. We make rice balls for college and work lunches and for a lot of outside actions and occasions. In some methods, they’re the Japanese thought of vitality bars. We snack on onigiri once we want a fast increase of vitality and sustenance.

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) on a plate.Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) on a plate.

Onigiri’s Historical past

Deemed because the very first touring meals, onigiri have been invented earlier than the existence of refrigeration as a way to protect recent rice longer so it might be introduced alongside to feed vacationers, samurai, troopers on the street, or farmers within the farm fields.

The strategy was to fill the rice with a salty or bitter ingredient as pure preservatives and flippantly compact them into moveable meals that may be carried alongside and eaten with arms. To maintain the rice secure, salt was first utilized in making the onigiri.

At present you’ll find these rice balls in so many sorts and types, however the fundamentals of constructing onigiri stay the identical.

In the event you’re an anime or manga (Japanese comics) fan, you might have most definitely seen onigiri present up in lots of storylines of those cultural outputs. Essentially the most memorable look must be in a scene in Spirited Away, the place a boy named Haku affords Chihiro, the primary character, some onigiri within the hope of comforting her. Because the younger woman took a chew of the rice ball, tears began rolling down her cheeks. It tells the highly effective connection between meals and residential and the feelings concerned. As you’ll be able to see, onigiri means lots to the Japanese.

A bamboo basket containing 6 onigiri (Japanese rice balls).A bamboo basket containing 6 onigiri (Japanese rice balls).

Components for Onigiri

For essentially the most primary and comforting onigiri, you’ll want solely two substances. That’s proper! You want steamed rice and good-quality nori seaweed.

  • Japanese Quick-Grain Rice – Generally labeled as sushi rice exterior of Japan, Japanese short-grain rice is the rice that we use in most Japanese cooking. It provides you the proper chewy, tender, and barely sticky texture. I personally advocate Koshihikari. Please don’t substitute it with jasmine or another forms of rice as they may disintegrate. Want to be taught extra about Japanese rice? Learn this publish.
  • Nori Seaweed – You will discover it at Japanese/Asian grocers, well-stocked grocery shops, or on-line.
  • Non-obligatory Fillings – We’ll focus on them under.

Leap to Recipe

Methods to Make Onigiri

  1. Prepare dinner short-grain rice with a rice cookerpot over the rangePrompt Pot, or donabe.
  2. Utilizing a mould or your arms, make rice balls. Don’t neglect to salt rice balls for meals security. Fillings are elective and I share the best way to stuff rice balls with a filling within the recipe card.
  3. Wrap the rice ball with nori seaweed.

What’s the Greatest Rice Cooker

To make the peerlessly steamed rice for onigiri, I like to make use of my Zojirushi NP-NWC10XB Rice Cooker. It makes fluffy rice each time, and it’s the greatest Japanese rice cooker I’ve ever used! You may get it on Amazon for $458.29, and it’s effectively price it in the event you prepare dinner loads of rice.

A rectangular white plate containing 3 onigiri (Japanese rice balls).A rectangular white plate containing 3 onigiri (Japanese rice balls).

Onigiri Filling

Sure, you’ll be able to fill onigiri with no matter your coronary heart needs, however I’ll share with you among the most typical fillings for onigiri in Japan.

Fillings for Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)Fillings for Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
  • shake [pronounced as sha-keh] (salted salmon)
  • umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum)
  • okaka (bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce)
  • kombu (simmered kombu seaweed)
  • tuna mayo (canned tuna with Japanese mayonnaise)
  • mentaiko or tarako ((spicy) salted cod roe)
  • furikake (rice seasonings to sprinkle throughout)

Now in case you are able to get artistic, look no additional than your dinner leftovers. I’ve used my leftovers from Rooster Karaage and Shrimp Tempura to fill my onigiri. As a substitute of plain steamed rice, you may also use Takikomi Gohan (blended rice) or Corn Rice.

Onigiri Shapes and Mildew

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)-step by step-28Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)-step by step-28

You may make many various shapes of onigiri, and the commonest ones are:

  • Triangular
  • Cylindrical (form of rice bale)
  • Spherical/round
  • Cylindrical
  • Inventive – Some residence cooks even take their onigiri to a different excessive style degree by shaping the rice balls into so many cute animals or character-based shapes!

On this up to date recipe publish, I used an onigiri mould to reveal the best way to use it. I discover it simpler to portion every onigiri utilizing the mould.

Methods to Wrap Nori

There are alternative ways to wrap the nori across the rice balls. You’ll be able to minimize a sheet of nori into skinny strips and wrap the nori across the cylindrical or triangular rice ball form (that is extra like a ornament).

You too can minimize the nori sheet in thirds and wrap the rice ball with the nori.

Some desire to wrap the rice balls when they’re heat so the nori will persist with the rice (however will probably be soggy/moist) however most individuals desire to maintain the nori as crisp as attainable.

You should purchase this onigiri plastic wrapper, which lets you hold the nori crispy till you’re able to eat (just like Japanese comfort store-style onigiri). Or, examine the video under to see how one can make a DIY plastic wrap.

An oval plate containing 3 pieces of Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) placed on a bamboo leaf.An oval plate containing 3 pieces of Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) placed on a bamboo leaf.

Cooking Ideas and Strategies

  1. Use freshly cooked rice. I strongly advocate utilizing freshly cooked rice as an alternative of older rice if you make onigiri. Switch the cooked rice to a big bowl, baking sheet, or sushi oke (hangiri). Let cool barely. The rice must be heat when making onigiri.
  2. Moist and salt your arms. It’s necessary to moist your arms with water to forestall the rice from sticking. Put together a bowl of water subsequent to your working station. Salt each your arms and rub to unfold throughout. Salting helps to taste and to protect the onigiri for an extended time.
  3. Give simply sufficient stress. Your arms must be agency sufficient when urgent the onigiri so the rice doesn’t disintegrate if you form it. You don’t need to squeeze the rice too tight. Rotate the rice balls each time you give light stress. After rotating 3-5 instances, the rice ball must be in good condition.
  4. Determine your rice ball with a filling. In the event you add a filling, place a small quantity of the filling on the tip of the rice ball so you’ll be able to establish which filling is inside.
  5. Hold the rice and rice balls lined with a plastic or a humid towel so the rice won’t dry out rapidly.
  6. Wrap the nori proper earlier than you serve, in the event you like your nori to be crispy. Some onigiri retailers promote onigiri that has nori wrapped round it already. We take pleasure in each kinds, so it’s as much as your desire.
A bamboo basket containing 6 onigiri (Japanese rice balls).A bamboo basket containing 6 onigiri (Japanese rice balls).

Frequent Requested Questions

Why does my nori get soggy and moist?

Nori will get soggy as quickly because it absorbs moisture. In the event you desire crispy nori in your onigiri, I like to recommend wrapping the nori proper earlier than you eat. Be certain that the nori is stored in a resealable bag to keep away from getting stale.

Why does my nori get gummy?

I like to recommend getting higher high quality nori, ideally imported from Japan. It’s very unlucky however most nori accessible in grocery shops right here will not be flavorful and the feel tends to get gummy when moist/moist. I all the time get imported nori from Japan (I normally decide the most costly nori at Nijiya Market) and it’s fairly good. We will get higher high quality nori in Japan at an honest value, however not exterior of Japan but.

Do I’ve to make onigiri proper earlier than I pack for lunch?

If you wish to make onigiri for lunch the subsequent day however don’t need to get up early, right here’s my tip. You’ll be able to wrap the completed onigiri (in plastic wrap) with a thick kitchen towel. The kitchen towel protects the rice balls from being too chilly within the fridge. Rice will get arduous within the fridge however with this straightforward trick, your onigiri will likely be cool sufficient to remain secure.

Do you serve onigiri chilly?

You’ll be able to take pleasure in onigiri heat or at room temperature, so that they’re good in your lunchbox or as a moveable snack on the go. You’ll be able to even plate them up as a tasty appetizer!

Do you suppose I can contain my kids in making rice balls?

Sure! The perfect half about making onigiri at house is you’ll be able to all the time have interaction your little ones as their ‘craft day within the kitchen.’ Make it enjoyable and pleasing! You need to use this onigiri mould to make it simpler to create a triangle form.

Like all the things else, follow makes good with regards to making onigiri. For a visible information, you’ll be able to watch my video and see the step-by-step directions under.

Is onigiri sushi?

For the uninitiated, onigiri is typically misunderstood as a kind of sushi however they don’t seem to be.

One of many key variations between onigiri and sushi is that onigiri begins from a base of plain steamed rice, whereas sushi is manufactured from Sushi Rice (steamed rice seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar).

👉🏻 See extra particulars in How To Prepare dinner Japanese Rice and How To Make Sushi Rice.

The place can I get onigiri?

Exterior of the house, you’ll be able to actually discover rice balls in every single place in Japan: konbini comfort shops, airports, cute cafes, and specialty shops.

Right here within the US, you’ll find them at Japanese grocery shops.

Extra Onigiri Recipes and Variations

We additionally take pleasure in onigiri in these common variations:

An oval plate containing 3 pieces of Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) placed on a bamboo leaf.An oval plate containing 3 pieces of Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) placed on a bamboo leaf.

Want to be taught extra about Japanese cooking? Join our free publication to obtain cooking suggestions & recipe updates! And keep in contact with me on FbPinterestYouTube, and Instagram.

An oval plate containing 3 pieces of Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) placed on a bamboo leaf.An oval plate containing 3 pieces of Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) placed on a bamboo leaf.

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

Filled with a wide range of fillings and flavors, Onigiri or Japanese Rice Balls make an excellent, fast snack and a enjoyable different to sandwiches for lunch. On this recipe, you‘ll learn to make these onigiri utilizing frequent fillings for rice balls in Japan.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Prepare dinner Time: 30 minutes

Whole Time: 1 hour

Servings: 9 onigiri (13 with a mould)



For the Japanese Salted Salmon Filling (fast model)

For the Tuna Mayo Filling

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you’d like substitutes for Japanese condiments and substances, click on right here.

Stop your display screen from going darkish


To Put together the Steamed Rice

  • To measure 2¼ cups raw Japanese short-grain white rice, overfill a US cup measure (a ¾-cup measure works effectively for this) or a rice cooker cup with raw short-grain rice and degree it off. Put the rice in a big bowl. Repeat till you might have the quantity of rice you want. Tip: Please be aware that 2¼ cups (450 g, 3 rice cooker cups) of raw Japanese short-grain rice yield 6⅔ cups (990 g) of cooked white rice. That is sufficient for 9 onigiri rice balls (sometimes 110 g every). One cup of cooked white rice weighs about 5.3 oz (150 g).

  • Subsequent, rinse and wash the short-grain white rice and prepare dinner it with a rice cooker, pot over a rangePrompt Pot, or donabe. Please comply with the detailed directions in any one in every of these posts for the best way to rinse and prepare dinner the rice. Right here, I‘m including 2½ cups water to the drained rice in a rice cooker. Tip: The rice-to-water ratio is 1 to 1.1 (or 1.2) for Japanese short-grain white rice. This rice requires a soaking time of 20–half-hour. Please learn this weblog publish for an in depth clarification.

To Put together the Onigiri Fillings

To Form the Onigiri

  • Collect all of the substances to make the onigiri and a bowl full of water in your arms. In case you are shaping the onigiri together with your arms, switch the freshly cooked rice to a big bowl, baking sheet, or sushi oke (hangiri) and let it cool barely till it‘s cool sufficient to deal with. The rice must be heat when making onigiri.

Methodology 1: With an Onigiri Mildew

Methodology 2: With Your Arms

  • First, moist each of your palms with a little bit of water to forestall the rice from sticking to your arms. Then, apply some Diamond Crystal kosher salt and unfold it on each palms. How a lot salt? I dip 2–3 fingers within the kosher salt, as pictured under. In case you are utilizing desk salt, use half the quantity because it’s saltier than kosher salt.

  • Scoop a handful (about ⅓ cup, 50 g) of barely cooled however nonetheless scorching rice onto your left (non-dominant) hand. Tip: Your left hand holds the rice ball and flattens the onigiri’s sides. At all times hold it beneath the onigiri. Create a small effectively (indentation) within the middle of the rice. Add 1–2 tsp of 1 form of filling inside.

  • Scoop some extra rice (one other ⅓ cup, 50 g) to cowl your filling fully. Mildew the rice together with your arms and gently press the rice across the filling to type the rice right into a ball.

  • Bend your proper (dominant) hand barely to type a “mountain” form and place it on high of the rice. Your proper hand types the triangle corners of the onigiri. At all times hold it on high of the rice ball.Gently press the rice together with your high hand to make a triangle nook. Tip: Make your arms simply agency sufficient so the onigiri doesn’t disintegrate, however don’t squeeze too tightly. Attempt to hold the density of the rice ball as ethereal as attainable.On the similar time, squeeze the fingers and heel of your backside (left) hand on both aspect of the onigiri to softly press the perimeters flat.Now, rotate the triangle nook you simply made towards you. I exploit a single upward movement to barely toss the rice ball in my backside hand whereas I exploit my high hand to rotate it towards me clockwise (since I’m right-handed). The primary nook will now level at you whereas the tip of the second nook factors up.Repeat the “press and rotate” steps to type the second and third triangle corners. Then press and rotate 2–3 extra instances to complete shaping the triangle.
  • Flip the rice ball on its aspect and press gently to flatten one aspect; repeat on the opposite aspect. Then, press and rotate one final time. Switch to a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining rice.

Methodology 3: Utilizing Plastic Wrap

To Coat with the Furikake

  • Keep in mind, dip your fingers earlier than touching the onigiri to forestall the rice from sticking to your fingers.

  • Coat the three sides of the onigiri with furikake (rice seasoning).

To Wrap with the Nori and Serve

To Retailer

  • In the event you‘d wish to pack Onigiri in your lunch, hold it cool and eat it inside 6 hours. Onigiri (or any rice dish) will get arduous if you refrigerate it. The chilly air makes the rice dry and arduous. I don‘t advocate making onigiri too far forward of time. But when you really want to, my trick is to wrap the onigiri with thick kitchen towels and retailer it within the fridge. The onigiri will likely be cool and secure however mustn’t get chilly.

  • In case your onigiri has dried out a bit, you’ll be able to grill it in a frying pan and baste it with soy sauce to make Yaki Onigiri.


Vitamin Details

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

Quantity per Serving

% Every day Worth*

* % Every day Values are based mostly on a 2000 calorie weight loss program.

Writer: Namiko Chen

Course: Bento, Aspect Dish, Snack

Delicacies: Japanese

Key phrase: rice, seaweed

©JustOneCookbook.com Content material and images are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is each inspired and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any web site or social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my picture use coverage right here.

Editor’s Be aware: The publish was initially printed on September 5, 2012. It was up to date with extra useful content material and new step-by-step and remaining pictures on September 10, 2023. The publish was republished with a brand new video on Might 10, 2024.

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