How to cook rice to make onigiri
The main ingredient ofonigiri is Japanese white rice. Allow 100g of cooked rice per onigiri. Cook it in a pressure cooker or in a pot following our recipe for Japanese rice in a saucepan. Let it rest in the pressure cooker or in the pot. Meanwhile, let’s prepare the filling.
Stuffing and seasoning recipes for onigiri
The most popular in Japan:
- Umeboshi: Pickled plum. Just remove the pit
- Grilled salmon shiozake 1 teaspoon per onigiri is enough
- Tuna mayo: Mix a small can of tuna without the juice, 2 tablespoons of kewpie mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of shoyu soy sauce
- Okaka: some katsuobushi and 1 spoonful of soy sauce
- Ebi mayo : shrimp and kewpie mayonnaise
- Furikake, Japanese seasoning
You can also find them simply with salt, white or black sesame or plain. The secret to have delicious onigiri is in the cooking of the rice, it must be perfect. A little sticky but not too much! It must also be warm or even a little hot.
If your rice is cold, heat it up with steam or in the microwave. The starch of Japanese rice makes it easy to form the onigiri into triangles, if it is cold, you might force it when preparing the onigiri and you will end up with onigiri that are too compact.
Utensils for making onigiri
To make onigiri you will need
- A rice spatula the spatula will allow you to mix the ingredients if you don’t want to put stuffing in the center. It will allow you to have a well aerated rice.
- An onigiri mold (optional): The mold will allow you to have a perfect shape, you will have to wet it beforehand to unmold theonigiri easily.
- Transparent paper (optional): If you don’t like to handle the ingredients directly with your hand, the transparent food paper will allow you to have clean hands at all times.
- A plate with salt: If you want to form the onigiri with your bare hands, you will need to wash your hands well with a neutral soap, and have your hands a little wet. You will have to put salt on your palms to form the onigiri. The rice will not stick on your hands.
- A makisu (optional): A bamboo mat is useful for forming the onigiri into elongated shapes.
How to make the onigiri shapes?
We are going to form the onigiri by hand. Take one portion of rice, 100g.
You can also read our recipe for onigiri with a mold.
There are several shapes ofonigiri:
1- Triangle onigiri, called sankakukei 三角形 in Japanese, the most popular and widespread in Japan :
1- With moistened hands, place a pinch of salt all over the surface of your hands.
2- Take your rice and form a ball by gently compacting the rice.
3- With your thumb, dig a hole in the center.
4- Put your filling inside, and add a little rice to close theonigiri.
5- Turn your onigiri several times, to form a triangle.
2- Ball onigiri, called bōrukei ボール形 in Japanese, the easiest to make:
Still with your hands moistened and salted, take your rice and form a rounded ball. Still using your shoot dig a hole to incorporate your filling. Add a little rice to close theonigiri ball.
3- Drum onigiri, called taikokei 太鼓形 in Japanese:
With your hands moistened and salted, take your rice and form a rounded ball. Crush between your two hands or on the work surface to make a flat rounded patty of rice. Using the same method, dig a hole and place your filling in it. Close with rice.
4- Onigiri in straw bale, called tawarakei 俵形 in Japanese :
This shape is convenient to store them in a bento. Generally, no ingredient is incorporated in the center but all ingredients are mixed together to form this onigiri.
Take a portion of rice, and place it in cling film.
Compress lightly, and with the help of a makisu, roll theonigiri to give it an elongated shape. It is ready.
How to wrap the nori around the onigiri?
The nori that surrounds theonigiri is not mandatory but it brings a very pleasant iodized taste. Personally, we prefer the nori when it is crispy, that’s why you should put it just before serving! Otherwise, it may be soft and elastic.
You will find later in the article how to keep them crispy like in the combini.
There are several ways to wrap the onigiri with nori:
1- Wrap the onigiri with a strip of nori
Cut your nori sheet into strips. Then wrap your onigiri around the height:
For the round shape, the nori is placed on top
Otherwise you can completely surround it, especially for the elongated round shape.
For the flat wafer shape, in Japan you can find it surrounded on the width.
2- Wrap the triangular onigiri with nori
Cut your nori sheet in half. For the first method, cut the nori sheet in the middle to obtain a triangular shape.
Place theonigiri in the center, then foldit to the right and left.
Glue the nori underneath. If it doesn’t stick, place a grain of rice on the nori.
2nd method: Cut your nori sheet in 2 widthwise
How to pack the onigiri like in combini?
As we said before,onigiri is best with crispy nori. In Japan, in combini, you will notice that you have to remove a plastic sheet that surrounds the nori. This process can be done at home, but if you want to take them away, here is how to do it:
You will need, aluminum foil and tape.
- Cut a strip of nori wider than your onigiri.
On a piece of aluminum foil, place the nori in the center.
2. Fold the aluminum foil over the nori.
3. Turn your foil over and place tape in the center.
3- Turn your foil over again (the tape is on the back). Place your onigiri in the center and slightly offset towards the top of the foil.
4- Fold from the bottom.
When ready to eat, peel off the tape and remove the sides of the foil.
We hope you will make very good onigiri! Feel free to comment this article if you have any questions or feedback.
And if you want other Japanese snacks, we recommend our onigirazu recipe or our Japanese egg sandwich recipe called tamago sando.