Monday, October 8, 2007


This is for my friend Deanna. ONIGIRI looks difficult to make but it is not! It makes a delicious and fulfilling meal.

All you need to make good ONIGIRI is to follow the following steps:

Soak 2 cups of rice in 2 1/4 cups of water, must be Japanese short grain rice or equivalent Australian Calrose or in the worst condition and you cannot get the above, use Jasmine Sunwhite (not as good but can be used). I normally soak my rice for at least two hours.
4 tbsp of toasted Sesame seeds
1/2 - 1 tsp of fine salt or to taste
Makes 10 - 12 Onigiri's depending on the size.

1 can Tuna in Olive oil or equivalent (drained and mashed)
2 - 3 tbsp Kewpie Mayo or equivalent
pepper and salt to taste
1/3 of a yellow onion cut in bits (optional)

1 piece of Salmon (Salted, fried and flaked)
Pepper to taste
2 - 3 tbsp Kewpie Mayo or equivalent

  1. Cook rice in rice cooker using soaking water, do not add or reduce anymore water.
  2. Get ready a bowl of filtered or cooled, boiled water for wetting hands.
  3. Get a small plate of fine salt for coating hands before working on the Onigiri.
  4. When rice is ready and dry, remove and place in a large bowl or pot with lots of space for mixing movement.
  5. Pour into hot rice, the sesame seeds and add salt to taste.
  6. Mix well.
If making for Bento, then you have to 'think small'!
  1. Fill rice bowl with 1/3 rice.
  2. Wet hands and 'touch' some salt and rub on both hands.
  3. Take the hot/warm rice from the rice bowl and use 'iron hands' to roll rice into a ball.
  4. Firm up a little and poke a hole in the middle with finger.
  5. Try to make a 'well' and put into the 'well/hole' the tuna or salmon filling.
I like to be generous, but don't over-fill or else it may break apart. Your filling should not be wet. If rice is sticking to hands, wet with water again.

Take a small bit of rice to cover the 'well/hole' and start to form a triangle out of the ball. Click on the word (first line) "ONIGIRI" (above) to see You Tube demo on how to shape the triangle. Once you get the hang of it, you don't need to add that extra bit of rice and you can just 'close' up the 'well/hole' from the rice ball in your hands.

Get a pre-cut (you can buy these ready cut and packed) piece of Nori and place at the bottom of the Onigiri. This is for easy handling, for eating purpose.

It is best eaten fresh but you can make this the night before for the next morning. Cling wrap it and don't need to put into the fridge.

Try this, your kids will love it!


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

i'm impressed tt you can shape ur onigiri SO uniformly. i use an onigiri mould i bought in kappabashi, japan. it has three triangular holes, n is very useful for ppl like me.i usually just mix flaked tuna, black sesame seeds n a pkt of onigiri seasoning with d rice n press it into the moulds, n wrap them in nori.

Bento Pet said...

terri: When filling the Bento box, one has no choice but to use hand because the molds are just too big.

My kids love the furikake too but I don't know if my friend can find that in Abu Dhabi.

Personally, I love the black sesame seeds but kids, they probably pick each one out!

The other style of wrapping nori around the onigiri is like a "kimono" style. Delicious to eat the nori fresh and crisp.

Par said...

I ate onigiri once but I didn't really like it. Maybe because it's only rice in each bite and didn't have any flavor even if it's fried chicken or salmon.

Bento Pet said...

ilovepearly: You are right. If it's just plain salted rice on the outside then it's quite horrid. That's why I always flavor the rice with furikake (Japanese condiments)or sesame seeds also quite nice, but must have enough salt.

Then of course the surprise in the centre is the best!

Anonymous said...

Looks easy to make. So this rice is just plain salted with no vinegar, unlike sushi? And what is furikake? What would be the best substitute if we can't find it?

I have never eaten onigiri before. Will it hold its shape when you bite into them? Especially when it is not wrapped in nori, will it disintegrate?

If your friend can find nori sheets here, could you please ask her where she got them from? Thanks.

Bento Pet said...

kat: Onigiri is very flexible. If you don't have furikake (Japanese condiments) then just use sesame seeds and fine salt to flavor the rice otherwise it's too bland and it tastes 'bad'.

The salmon or tuna inside the onigiri (rice ball) adds to the flavor of the rice ball.

My friend says there is a Daiso near her area. Daiso is a paradise for Bento and accessories. But it also depends on the buyers of the particular country.

If you get to visit Daiso, ask for assistance and see if they sell furikake or seaweed.

If you cannot find seaweed, pack the onigiri in cling wrap after shaping it and it will hold it's shape for until you eat it.

If you work on the rice while it's still warm and soft and firm your shaping of the triangle, the onigiri will hold it's shape even when you bite into it.

Perhaps you can even get some onigiri molds from Daiso.

Good luck!

GFAD said...

Thanks for your info. My daughter only like the breaded crab claw. I am trying to introduce her to the healthier version of Jap food! :D

Didn't know there is a Daiso here. Whereabouts it is? Which street? Near any hotel? Or mall?

Bento Pet said...

kat: Check out their website:
There is info there on their overseas outlets. You can find the address of the nearest one near you.

GFAD said...

Goody goody! Thanks for the link! I found it's near to my place too. :) Going shopping soon!!

Bento Pet said...

kat: Hope you find what you want!! Warning! Better not bring so much money with you because you might just decide to buy the whole shop!!

Anonymous said...

I just made my first onigiri! You were right, it was very easy! Especially when I had the onigiri mould. Hubby loved it, but kids so-so.

Just wanted to check with you, is there any particular reason we have to mix the rice with salt and sesame seeds in a separate bowl? Can we not do it in the rice cooker pot (after removing it from the cooker)? I made a small quantity (1 cup rice) for trial first, and just mixed the rice in the same pot I cooked the rice in.

Bento Pet said...

kat: I'm glad you had some success with your Onigiri. Congrats!

Sure, you can mix the salt and sesame seeds in the rice pot. It's just a habit to transfer the rice into a 'Hangiri' (wooden tub) and my mum would nag me to death if I scratched or damaged the non stick rice pot. *sigh*


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