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What is onigiri and how do you prepare it?

What is onigiri and how do you prepare it?

What is onigiri, how do you prepare it, is it easy to make and is it sushi? are questions we are frequently asked at the shop.

Actually onigiri or rice ball, is Japan’s number one comfort food. Onigiri are usually wrapped with nori seaweed and often contains a meat or vegetable filling. Much like sandwiches in the West, onigiri are portable and readily available in supermakets and convenience stores across Japan. However onigiri is not sushi! The rice used for onigiri is plain white rice with a little salt added for flavour - very different from rice used for sushi.

In Japan, onigiri are eaten as a quick and easy snack, but also eaten as breakfast, brought on a picnic and of course packed in a bento lunchbox. Aesthetically pleasing and tasty, they are a filling alternative to sandwiches for lunch. Onigiri are the ultimate savory portable snack made with love!

How To Prepare

  • Begin by cooking the Japanese rice according to the recipe.
  • With a small amount of salt sprinkled on your hands, mould the rice into small balls or triangles
  • Create a small well in the centre of the rice and put in your choice of ingredients.
  • Some classic onigiri fillings are flaked salmon, umeboshi (pickled plum), shrimp tempura, spicy seasoned cod roe, tuna mayonnaise, etc.
  • Then mould the rice with your hands around the well to cover your filling completely.
  • Using a sheet of nori seaweed, wrap your ball of rice or add a strip at the bottom of the triangle.
  • Enjoy for a snack or during lunch.

If you are not sure about making onigiri with your hands or handling hot rice you can use a piece of cling film (Saran Wrap) to mould the rice. Alternatively, a rice ball mold is a quick and easy-to-use method of making nigiri.

Let me know if you like onigiri and what filling is your favorite!


Until next time, Bon Appétit! Bon Appétit! Bon Appétit! 

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