Let’s make Onigiri: The Perfect Japanese Rice Ball

  • HOW TO
  • If you’re in Japan, try purchasing a bento. A common sighting inside it is the “onigiri.” The word onigiri means “musubi” in Japanese, meaning “holdable rice.” Onigiri is not a form of sushi. This is a very common misconception. It is made of plain rice (sometimes lightly salted) while sushi is made with rice and vinegar. Onigiri is made of leftovers and other ingredients while sushi is prepared more delicately and more expensively. The purpose of onigiri is to make rice more portable, easy to carry outside as a snack. The fun part is, you can put in any filling you like!

    For those who want to try making a triangle onigiri, here are the following steps you need to take:


    Make sure you have the following ingredients on hand.

    • Rice
    • Fillings of your choice
    • Water
    • Seaweed

    Some are optional, such as vinegar, sugar and salt.

    • Just follow the same directions for cooking rice. For a better result, use Japanese boiled rice. It is stickier than usual ones. A secret to making it stickier is to leave it inside the pot for the first 20-30 minutes before cooking it.
    • Once cooked, let the rice stand for a bit so it can cool down. This is probably the best time to make your fillings.
    • Now, you have to place a cutting board on the counter. You can also use wax paper, with your preference. After, make sure to wet your hands with salty water to prevent rice from sticking onto your hands.
    • Make a crater into the rice ball. However, make sure to do it lightly as well. Puncturing it will let your fingers slip into the other side. This is where the fillings should go.
    • Time to insert the fillings into the hole. Make sure not to overfill it. Do not over-press it.
    • Wrap some nori seaweed into your onigiri. You can either use a strip or a seaweed in wrapping. This will prevent the rice from sticking onto your hand.
    • Wrap the onigiri in plastic wrap or place it into your bento box.

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    Onigiri: Sushi’s poor brother?