How to make Onigiri (rice ball)

4 Mar

I wish I could have some more time to take photos or videos when I cook. Anyhow…these photos were provided by my friend Chika, who often cooks for her grandmother.

I’ll share with you how to make 3 Onigiri step by step. 🙂

#1. Prepare 3 bowls of steamed rice, ingredients for 3 Onigiri (in this case grilled salmon, pickled plum and seasoned seaweed), roasted laver and salt.

#2. Flake the fish meat away from fish bone. Take off the stone from the pickled plum.

#3. Put steamed rice into the bowl and make a small hollow in the center to add ingredients.

#4. Put some water on your hands and then some salt.

#5. Move it (#3) to your hands,

#6. Try to make it triangle-shaped by clasping it tightly with both hands.

Ta-da! 😀

#7. Roll roasted laver over Onigiri.

Done! 😀
If you find it hard to make a triangle shape, try to make it round or ellipsoidal shape.

You can put anything you like inside the rice ball. It’s not that the ingredients must be either salmon or pickled plum. If you want to skip grilling salmon, you could make use of salmon flake like in the below picture.

Or seasoned kelp like this.

There should be no Japanese people who dislike Onigiri. Everyone loves it!!
Have you ever tried Onigiri? What kind of Onigiri do you like? I like Mentaiko with mayo (similar image) inside it! :p


26 Responses to “How to make Onigiri (rice ball)”

  1. laura March 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    yum! Looks soooooo good. Thanks for sharing the photos 🙂

  2. Sana March 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    I like onigiri with bonito flakes soaked in a mixture of light shoyu and umeboshi paste ^_^ Is that a bit weird? I can buy imported umeboshi, but the quality varies enormously, sometimes they are delicious, and other times, bleugh! So the paste is less risky!

    • kirin March 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

      No it's not weird, that sounds yummy! 🙂
      I personally like less salty umeboshi soaked in honey.

      • Sana March 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

        Umeboshi soaked in honey! That sounds delicious! I must look out for that…

  3. Diyana March 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    The rice doesn't have any vinegar like sushi?
    I have an onigiri maker that I bought from Daiso but I only used it once. I'll definitely try again after seeing this post!

    • kirin March 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

      No, no vinegar added, when it comes to rice ball. ^ ^;

  4. Mel March 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    😀 I will try to do some!! it looks easy and delicious!! 😀

    • kirin March 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

      Yes, it's easy and tasty. Also healthy. 🙂

  5. cinnamon_girl March 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Oishisou~ Tabetai!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  6. Kaoru March 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    OH i miss onigiri!! i used to have those for bento!!!! my host mum makes really good tuna mayo onigiri!!!! =) miss those a lot!!!
    I've made onigiri before, but for some reason, mine wouldn't shape into triangle! =(
    so i roll them into circle!!! ahahahhaa
    grilled salmon is also one of my favorite!!!
    i prefer the one from sendai…..its has the freshness taste to it when compare to the one you buy from Tokyo

    • kirin March 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

      I love tuna mayo, too~!
      I suppose fish and vegetables taste better outside Tokyo. I wonder how food in Sendai, I've never been there. I was so shocked how everything tasted wonderful when I traveled Hokkaido.

  7. venus March 5, 2011 at 1:43 am #

    Hi Kirin,
    thank you for sharing the steps of Onigiri.
    I LOVE them so much. So far, I have not make any ever since i moved to here.
    But when i in my Home country, i made by using the shape which bought from Daiso. Hahaha
    Because, if i made , will look more like circle shape or a ball.
    May i know use which type of salt , Table salt or Sea Salt?
    I seldom use salt for my cooking.
    I normally used salt to soak ,lotus root, apple to prevent turn brown.

    • kirin March 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

      I'd use sea salt.
      It's not much, only a little bit. ^ ^

  8. Steven Stier March 5, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    What is roasted laver? Is it the black wrap? What is it made of? It looks like seaweed.

    • kirin March 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      Yes, it's seaweed. I looked up the Japanese word in English and roasted laver was what's given. ^ ^; I always wonder when I use seaweed, it can be wakame seaweed, kelp or laver like in this photo? In Japanese, wakame, konbu and nori refer to all different things. So in this case the word seaweed is more appropriate?

      • Steven Stier March 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

        When I first read this post I thought you had misspelled "layer" as "laver" I am not familiar with the word "laver" Most Americans would expect to see the word seaweed or kelp used for this wrap. Since I am interested in learning Japanese I think that using the Japanese word followed with an English definition would work better. Such as, "Roll wakame (seaweed wrap) around onigiri" But then, if you did that, I would not have an excuse to write to you. And talking with you is always one of the brightest parts of my day. Thank you for everything you do. You are the best.

      • kirin March 8, 2011 at 2:37 am #

        I see. Well, this is called Nori and is different from Wakame or Konbu (kelp). Maybe seaweed wrap will do. ^ ^
        Thank you! Also thank you for your idea that I should mention Japanese words corresponding to some English words. I'll keep it in mind, but please remind me if I forget that again. ^ ^

        Thank you Steven. It's so nice of you to say that. 😀 I enjoy myself replying to comments, but how happy it is for me to know you also enjoy writing to me!!

      • Sana March 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

        In the UK we're more likely to recognise 'laver', as it's harvested from parts of the Welsh coast. We may not relate it to nori, even though it's exactly the same type of seaweed! The laver we're familiar with is used in a bread recipe, and I've never seen it available in toasted sheets, so I was really surprised to learn that it was the same seaweed… Maybe just refer to it as 'nori', haha!

      • kirin March 8, 2011 at 2:39 am #

        Thank you Sana!
        Sometimes our English dictionary has unfamiliar English words for interpretation of certain Japanese words.
        In this case I should have called Nori (seaweed wrap or paper) I guess… :p

  9. Salma March 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Wow, sugoi 😉 Thank you for sharing these steps ^_^

    • kirin March 8, 2011 at 2:40 am #

      My pleasure! Please give it a try. Onigiri is considered a Japanese fast food but much healthier than burgers. ^ ^;

  10. Arina March 7, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    I love tuna mayo!! I ate onigiri everyday when i was in japan. I tried many other type of onigiri but i love tuna mayo most. I tried karashi mentaiko because i watched tsuki no koibito before i came to japan and in that drama takukimu only eat mentaiko onigiri. Mentaiko sounds cool and i tried it but i dont really like it. Im wasabi freak! I cant eat my onigiri without wasabi paste tube beside me. Heeee 🙂

    • kirin March 8, 2011 at 2:42 am #

      Wasabi in onigiri?? Wow!
      Have you tried mentaiko mayo? To me, mentaiko mayo tastes better than mentaiko only. ^ ^

  11. JanJ June 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Thanks for this post. I'm really craving mentaiko onigiri at the moment but they don't sell it over here in London. I saw mentaiko in the sushi ingredients cabinet at the Japanese supermarket though which got me very excited! I can make my own mentaiko onigiri! But I have a question, well actually two. 1) Do I have to cook the mentaiko before I use it in the onigiri? And 2) is mentaiko safe to eat in pregnancy? I'm pregnant! Thank you 🙂

  12. JanJ June 23, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Hi Kirin! 🙂

    Thanks for answering my questions! How do I heat mentaiko? Do I microwave it?

    I think spicy food is okay for expectant mothers if they are used to it (otherwise they might get bad heartburn) and I am a spicy food fiend so I should be fine! 🙂 Not sure about the cholesterol but I think as long as I don't eat lots of it that should be okay too. The only part I am worried about is the raw food bit, but if I can heat up the mentaiko then that should cook it right? Hmm maybe it sounds like I'm grasping at straws but my craving for mentaiko is THAT bad hahaha 🙂

    • kirin June 24, 2011 at 2:25 am #

      Oh I see! ^ ^
      I don't know if you also use this kind of toaster in your country ( but I would put mentaiko in a heart-proof dish and place it inside the toaster to heat. Or I'd wrap it in an aluminum foil and place it in a fish grill and heat it. If your toaster is shaped only to bake breads, you could use your oven then. I don't know if microwave is safe…I mean it could explode because it's made from a lot of small eggs. So don't forget to wrap it in case of explosion.

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