I’m prone to massive Japanese food cravings at odd hours, and had one for onigiri recently. Onigiri are rice balls,

made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative. Because of the popularity of onigiri in Japan, most convenience stores stock their onigiri with various fillings and flavors.

By typester from Kamakura, Kanagawa (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

When I was in Japan I remember seeing  displays of onigiri, similar to the one above,  in convenience stores. I ate onigiri pretty often as it was cheap and tasty, and our food budget was quite small.




Sushi rice (may be labeled sushi rice or Calrose rice)
Water (to cook rice)
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
Sesame seeds and/or furikake
Filling options: tuna, salmon, wasabi paste, pickled plums, bonito flakes, kombu (sea kelp), and/or whatever else you think sounds good.


  1. Follow the directions on the bag of rice regarding washing and cooking rice. Allow the rice to cool enough so that you can handle it.
  2. Combine cup of water and salt – this will help keep the rice from sticking to your hands.
  3. Dampen your hands in salted water and divide the rice into however many onigiri you’d like to make.
  4. If you want to fill the onigiri, divide each portion into two and create a dimple in the rice. Put your filling of choice in the dimple, and cover with the remaining rice. Mold into whatever shape you’d like – triangles are common.
  5. Wrap the onigiri with nori right before serving so it doesn’t get soggy (believe me – it’s not pretty). You can sprinkle with seasonings now or just before serving.
  6. If making to serve later, wrap tightly in plastic wrap to keep them together, and store in refrigerator.

Check out this great onigiri-making tutorial, complete with pictures.


I didn’t have much luck with these – they kind of fell apart on me. But they tasted delicious, and it’s definitely something I will try again in the future.

Source: Inspired by SeriousEats and Allrecipes



One thought on “Onigiri

  1. Pingback: Chana Masala | A pinch, a dash, and a dollop

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