Japanese Rice Balls (Onigiri)

Japanese Rice Balls (Onigiri)

Japanese Rice Balls (Onigiri)

There are two different styles of onigiri: those that are stuffed and those that have seasonings mixed in. For the filled variety, umeboshi (pickled plums), cubes of salt-cured salmon, or tarako (cod roe) are often encased in the warm rice, and then eaten as is or wrapped in nori (dried seaweed). For others, seasonings like toasted black sesame seeds, yukari (red shiso powder), or sakebushi (dried salmon flakes) are simply mixed with the rice and then shaped into the typical triangle, ball, or cylinder shapes. Most importantly, when shaping the rice for onigiri, take care not to compact the rice too firmly. Press until the grains just hold together.Andrea Fazzari

There are two different styles of onigiri: those that are stuffed and those that have seasonings mixed in. For the filled variety, umeboshi (pickled plums), cubes of salt-cured salmon, or tarako (cod roe) are often encased in the warm rice, and then eaten as is or wrapped in nori (dried seaweed). For others, seasonings like toasted black sesame seeds, yukari (red shiso powder), or sakebushi (dried salmon flakes) are simply mixed with the rice and then shaped into the typical triangle, ball, or cylinder shapes. Most importantly, when shaping the rice for onigiri, take care not to compact the rice too firmly. Press until the grains just hold together.

Onigiri
Onigiri—seasoned or filled, shaped rice—is a common snack across Japan. The also make great appetizers.
Yield: makes 16
Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

For Seasoned Onigiri:

Instructions

  1. Scoop 14 cup warm rice into a bowl and sprinkle with toasted black sesame seeds, yukari, or sakebushi. Gently stir the rice with the seasoning, and then, using your hands, gently shape the rice into a triangle, ball, or cylinder. Repeat with remaining rice and seasoning.

For Filled Onigiri

  • Warm Japanese Boiled Rice
  • 16 tsp. cod or salmon roe, whole umeboshi, or cubes of salt-cured salmon
  • 16 (4-by-1-inch) sheets nori

Instructions

  1. Scoop 14 cup warm rice into the palm of your hand and make an indentation in the rice. Place whole umeboshi, cube of salt-cured salmon, or cod or salmon roe in the indentation and then, using your hands, gently shape the rice around the filling into a triangle, ball, or cylinder.
  2. Using tongs, quickly wave nori over an open flame until fragrant, 5 seconds, and then wrap the onigiri in the toasted nori. Repeat with remaining rice and filling.