Saturday, March 17


Onigiri are Japanese rice balls. Traditionally these are shaped by hand into either rounded ovals or triangles, and then wrapped with a piece of nori. The popularity of onigiri in Japan makes this one of the top Japanese food on the go items.

Often found in bento boxes, individually wrapped at quick markets, and from street vendors, onigiri can be either plain or filled. A common filling is pickled, salted, or even slightly sour foods. Salmon and shrimp are highly popular fillings. Onigiri is fun to make because you can dye the rice any color, include any filling, and shape it however you want.

I am going to walk you thru how to make a plain onigiri and then a filled onigiri.

This will make 6-9 onigiri
Full time: 35-40 minutes (includes rice cooking time)

You will need:

For plain:
3 cups cooked Japanese sticky rice, I use Kokuho Rose it can be found in any large grocery store
1-2 sheets nori, toasted seaweed paper

For filled:
Ingredients listed above
8 shrimp
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Asian five spice mix
*or your desired filling

Let us begin:

Starting with your rice, you want to cook it and then let is cool slightly in the pot. Your going to be touching it, so cool it until handling it won't bother your hands

Next prepare your nori, if you look carefully most nori sheets will have score marks on it. Carefully follow these marks and slice nori into strips

Now lay a piece of plastic wrap on a plate and scoop approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of rice into the middle of plastic wrap

Gather up the plastic wrap around the rice and squeeze rice into a tight ball

Unwrap plastic wrap to reveal your ball

Wrap a strip of nori around ball and set aside on serving plate. The nori will feel stiff when wrapping it, but the moisture of rice will turn it soft and smooth

Continue with remaining rice

To serve in lunch or bento boxes, allow to cool completely.

Now let's talk about filling your onigiri.

Prepare the rice and nori as described above. For the shrimp heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and add in the oil

Gently add in shrimp and five spice, cook shrimp 5-8 minutes until done. Set aside to cool slightly

Now lay a piece of plastic wrap on a plate and scoop approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of rice into the middle of plastic wrap, and top with a shrimp

Continue to shape rice as instructed above. It's that easy to add a filling!