Here’s a deliciously FUN recipe for Simple Japanese Onigiri rice ball snacks. They’re filling, healthy, super cute and a great way to save both time and money. Make onigiri in the morning for the perfect afternoon afternoon snack, assuming you can wait that long to eat them…
We learnt this handy recipe at a sakura celebration in Miyoshi while wandering through Shikoku, Japan. After spending the morning making udon noodles with our feet (yep), it sounded like the perfect way to escape the cold, blustery weather, and maybe even try some local Japanese food…
Funny how nobody mentioned the karaoke.
Plate after plate reached the tiny table in front of us as we sat on the floor, Japanese style – homemade oden stew, these tasty onigiri rice balls, and endless cups of free flowing sake and beer.
We ate and we drank, surrounded by music, friends, laughter and conversation. Blissfully unaware of the microphone inching closer and closer…All you need to make onigiri at home is cooked rice and your favourite seasoning. Oishi!! Click To Tweet
Until the spotlight was on me, that is. Eeeeeeeeek.
I blinked. Gulped.
Glared at Sarah who was just barely holding back the giggles.
Stood up, took a deep breath, grasped that microphone and…
Well, needless to say, blew everyone away with my flawless rendition of The Beatles.
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To this day I’m immensely grateful to this Simple Japanese Onigiri recipe and the two lovely Japanese ladies who taught it to us that day, saving us from further shenanigans of the karaoke-kind.
Sure, onigiri are kind of similar to sushi (rice, seasoning and seaweed), but they’re so much easier to make.
In minutes our new friends had whipped up another fresh batch by taking up a handful of cooked rice mixed with furikake seasoning (we LOVE Goma Shio aka salted black sesame seeds) and deftly moulding into a cute triangular shape. A small decorative sheet of nori seaweed and the onigiri was ready to eat.
Simple Japanese Onigiri
All you need to make onigiri at home is cooked rice and your favourite seasoning.
We recommend using koshihikari sushi rice which is stickier and will hold its shape better. You’ll be able to find sushi rice at most supermarkets while furikake is available in the Japanese section at Asian grocery stores.
To make your fresh onigiri look a little more authentic add a slice of nori around the base – it looks great and tastes great too. If you’re making onigiri ahead of time, it’s a good idea to store the nori separately from the rice until you’re ready to eat, otherwise it will go soggy.
In Japan you’ll often find onigiri filled with delicious hidden ingredients such as chicken and mayonnaise, tuna, pickled plum or seasoned kombu seaweed. But at home you can use whatever you want.
How about some fried chicken, canned tuna or pickled vegetables?
You’re only limited by your imagination… and your tastebuds of course.
A simple snack or exotic appetiser, we love onigiri because they are so easy to customise with your own flavour combinations. What will you add to make your own onigiri?
Soooo, pretty sure it’s no secret that Japanese cuisine is one of our all time favourites, when we’re not munching our way fiery through Malaysian Mee Goreng, crunchy Vietnamese Spring Rolls or super creamy No Cream Carbonara.
Oh god. So hungry right now.
How about you? What tasty world cuisine sets your cravings on fire?
P.S. Heaps of you lovely readers have been asking about the cute little flowers in the furikake we used to decorate our onigiri!
It’s part of a gorgeous Japanese rice seasoning we became addicted to in Japan, called Ume Goma Shio (ie plum sesame salt), and it’s made by the brand Marumiya. The good news is you can easily find Marumiya Brand Ume Goma Shio online from Amazon, or occasionally in the seasoning section of Asian import stores.
Just look for the cute little white seal cartoon. 😛
It’s super fun to use and has a lovely salty sesame flavour with a hint of ume (Japanese plum). If you give it a try, let us know what you think!
Onigiri Recipe - The Simple Japanese Rice Ball Snack
- 3 cups cooked Japanese sticky rice
- 1 packet rice seasoning aka ‘furikake’ in Japanese
Pop your cooked rice into a nice mixing bowl. Add the furikake or rice flavouring and mix through evenly. Or if you feel like hiding something tasty inside, you can skip this step.
Separate the rice into equal portions, big enough to be a large handful each.
Wet your hands with water and rub your together with a pinch or two of salt. This'll stop the rice sticking to your hands.
Pick up one handful/portion of rice. If you are putting something inside, here is where you make an indent, place the ingredients inside and fold the rice over, then lightly compress into a ball.
Using mainly your fingertips while resting the rice on your palm, start to press and squeeze the rice into a triangular shape, rotating as you go so it’s even. According to our Japanese friends, you ideally want to end up with one face of the onigiri having a small indentation from your fingers.
Optional step: Wrap a small slice of nori seaweed around the base of your onigiri.
Place a slice of nori on the bottom of the onigiri (the rough side should face the rice) and fold it up towards to the middle of the onigiri.
Repeat for the remaining rice portions.
NotesBe sure to experiment with your favourite flavour combinations and let us know how you go.
Made some onigiri but somehow forgotten to eat them? Has your onigiri gone a little dried out? You can quickly bring some life back to them by lightly coating in sesame oil and/or soy sauce and warming in a fry pan. The heat will crisp up the outside leaving the inside tender and moist.