Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball. It is a popular snack food in Japan that can be found almost anywhere. Typically, it’s filled with things like salmon, pickled plum, cod roe, but you can pretty much put whatever you want inside. The Korean version of onigiri is called Samgak Kimbap and usually has kimchi or tuna inside. No matter what you like, I can guarantee that these are very easy to make and are a delicious alternative to sandwiches. I love the portability of onigiri. They are great for taking on hikes or picnics. So let’s go over what we will need…
- some freshly steamed rice, Japanese short grain
- nori sheets
Here are some ideas for fillings:
- broiled salmon
- pickled plum (umeboshi)
- preserved bamboo shoots
- sweet shiitake (shiitake simmered in our soup base from the Chicken Udon recipe)
- tuna, kewpie mayo and corn
- chicken adobo
- mixed veg
- the possibilities are endless…
You can also use a plastic onigiri mold if you desire, but I will teach you how to make it the old fashioned way. That way, you can do this almost anywhere. Another method I have seen uses plastic wrap. Either way, you have options.
The key to making onigiri is to make sure your hands are wet. Once your hands are wet, you want to salt them. This will season the rice as you work. Put a good amount of rice in the palm of your hand and make a small indent in the middle. Take your filling and put a little in the indent. Then, lovingly close the rice around the filling and mold into a closed ball.
Gently work the ball into a triangle shape. It takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be making them like a pro! Once your onigiri is shaped, wrap in fresh nori. Each onigiri uses a half sheet of nori. Just place the onigiri on the middle of the sheet and fold it around. Easy!
Watch the video to get a good feeling for the method. Take your time and have fun in the kitchen!