Onigiri (rice Balls)

OnigiriWhile it is hard to get the hang of at first, you will find that the traditional triangular shape is a natural fit for your hands. Alternately, you can buy an onigiri press at your local Asian grocery store, which makes perfectly formed onigiri.


4 cups of cooked white or brown rice Nori


Grilled and salted salmon


Ideally, this is to be made with fresh, hot rice. However, I find that just-cooked rice is too hot to handle. I like to stand by the sink and wet my hands with cool running water, then dipping my hands in a dish of kosher salt. This keeps the rice from sticking to my hands, and lends a nice flavor to the rice. Ladle a scoop of the hot rice onto one cupped hand, and gently press to form a ball. To fill the onigiri, press a thumb into the ball, and fill with your choice of filling. Add a little rice to fill the hole, or, simply form the onigiri around the filling. Press the onigiri into a 3” x 3” triangle. The texture should be firm, but not hard. With your very first onigiri, you’ll get accustomed to the amount of pressure needed.

Place the completed onigiri into a lunch box or on a serving plate. Rinse your hands, and then repeat. To serve, cut nori into convenient sized rectangles, and have each diner wrap his/her own onigiri with one or two pieces of nori. This nori not only adds a nice flavor and texture, it keeps the diner’s hands clean and un-sticky. You’ll find it better to place the nori on the onigiri immediately before eating, as I prefer the almost crispy texture to the soggy kind.

For custom fillings , feel free to improvise. If it tastes good with rice and is salty, it would make a good filling for onigiri.

Makes about 4 onigiri