Episode 118

Onigiri

Onigiri and Rice Balls from Fruits Basket, Spirited Away, Pokemon and more!

Japanese rice
Nori Seaweed
Optional:
Rice Seasoning
1/3 cup Japanese rice vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
Fillings:
Pickled daikon
Salted salmon
Tuna with mayonnaise
Konbu seaweed

You must use Japanese or Sushi rice for the Onigiri to work. Jasmine and any other kind of long rice will not. You can buy Japanese rice at most stores, but we recommend going to your local Japanese market to get all the ingredients!

To make the rice, make sure you wash it thoroughly before cooking. Simply rinse the rise in water, mix well with your hands, pour out the excess murky/clouded water, then repeat. Continue doing this until the water is more or less clear. This step is the same for using a rice cooker and when cooking on a stove.

Optionally you can make the rice stickier and add a bit of taste to it. Typically done with sushi rice, combine 1/3 cup of Japanese rice vinegar (regular white wine vinegar works as well), 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tbsp of sugar in a sauce pan and put it over a low heat, stirring or swishing often so nothing sticks to the bottom. Once the sugar and salt have melted, take the mixture off the heat and add it to your now-cooked rice. Mix thoroughly.

Onigiri is best formed when the rice is still hot. It will be harder once the rice has dropped to room temperature. Before we start, keep a bowl of warm water nearby. You can add a little salt to it as well to help aid you in the forming process. Wet your entire hand with water, including your palms. Clap your hands together to remove any excess water.

To form the Onigiri, take a handful of rice and shape it into a ball. If you want to add a stuffing, poke a hole into the ball and insert a little bit of salmon, tuna, or whatever you like into the middle. Close the hole over the ball and begin to form the Onigiri. Make one hand in the shape of a perpendicular angle (or a pyramid as we refer to it in the video). With your other hand, shape it like a cup with your fingers being one side of the cup, your thumb being the other, and the middle of your palm the bottom. Place the rice ball inside these two shapes and press down evenly on all sides. Rotate the Onigiri inside your hand so each triangular side rotates into your pyramid shaped hand. This will make sure you get the most equilateral triangle.

This last step of forming the Onigiri is easily the hardest and takes the most practice to get right. But once you’ve mastered it, you can move on to making different shapes of Onigiri! Do a Google Image Search of “Onigiri” if you want to be inspired!

Finally, you can add some Nori or seaweed to your rice ball to give it a place to be held when eaten. First warm your seaweed up by passing it over a low heat on your stove top several times on each side. Careful not to burn it! Afterwards, cut the seaweed into strips with scissors and then carefully wrap or place on your Onigiri.

That’s it! A simple but delicious snack that can be enjoyed at any time during the day. A great fun activity to do with family and friends as well before sitting down to watch your favorite anime!