Japanese onigiri (Rice balls)

    50 min

    Onigiri originate from Japan and are often found in Japanese bento boxes. They are fun to make and you can stuff them with anything you feel like. Try substituting in smoked salmon, ham, beef, pork or barbecue chicken.

    50 people made this

    Makes: 8 onigiri

    • 800g uncooked short-grain white rice
    • 1.1 litres water
    • 250ml water
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 4 tablespoons Bonito flakes (Japanese dry fish flakes)
    • 2 sheets nori (dry seaweed), cut into 1cm strips
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:50min 

    1. Wash the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. Combine washed rice and 1.1 litres water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer rice until the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rice rest, for 15 minutes to allow the rice to continue to steam and become tender. Allow to cool.
    2. Combine 250ml water with the salt in a small bowl. Use this water to dampen hands before handling the rice. Divide the cooked rice into 8 equal portions. Use one portion of rice for each onigiri.
    3. Divide one portion of rice in two. Create a dimple in the rice and fill with a heaping teaspoon of bonito flakes. Cover with the remaining portion of rice and press lightly to enclose filling inside rice ball. Gently press the rice to shape into a triangle. Wrap shaped onigiri with a strip of nori. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat to make a total of 8 onigiri.


    Bonito flakes and nori sheets can be found in most Chinese/Oriental stores.

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    Reviews in English (32)


    very simple, i love making these either to snack on or for a dinner. my only change is i make a solution of white vinegar, about a cup, and 2 table spoons of sugar, and mix this with the rice before i begin. It adds just the right amount of flavor to the rice, so its not so over whelming. after adding the vinegar, just wet you hands and shape like always :D  -  09 Apr 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I made this recipe for rice balls for my daughters international night. They turned out great! I made the mini balls and put canned salmon bits and spiced ginger in the center. I rolled them in black and white seseme seeds and put dried seaweed on others. The teens at the school loved them. I found great directions in the internet for rolling and twisting them in wet salted plastic wrap which took all the air out and made them nice and firm. (then take them out of the plastic wrap)The key is to always handle them with wet hands.  -  02 Mar 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    A good friend of mine that I met through anime conventions years ago was having a graduation party, and I knew a bunch of the anime crew would be there, so I thought I would make something fun as a snack! I came across this recipe after watching Fruits Basket with a friend and we decided it would be perfect. Made the first few rice balls using the recipe as-is, though we couldn't find bonito flakes, so we used some tuna salad, chicken salad and avocado instead. After making some of the plain rice ones, we elyssa's advice and added some rice vinegar, sugar and salt to the rice. The smell kind of scared us at first, but after tasting them, we were glad we did it! Both versions of the recipe get five stars from everyone at the party!  -  20 May 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)

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