How to make onigiri?


Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball filled with various fillings (from tuna to umeboshi) wrapped in dried seaweed leaves (nori). They are very suitable as a fresh, filling, and healthy snack on the go.

Not only the filling of the Japanese rice triangles can be selected according to individual taste, but also the shape can be decorated with beautiful motifs, crazy designs, and cute elements.

The five steps presented here will quickly help you cook the rice properly for the filled rice balls, choose the best filling, shape the triangles neatly and wrap in nori and finally pack them well for on the go!

With the basic recipe for onigiri with furikake at the end of the article, you can start preparing your onigiri right away and conjure up ready-to-go onigiri in just 10 minutes.

What is onigiri?

They’re triangular. They’re delicious. And They’re perfect for on the go! – Onigiri. The small Japanese rice balls are the hot dog for the New Yorker, the sandwich for the Englishman, or the sandwich for us Germans. The Japanese snack for a small snack is white Japanese rice and is often wrapped in a sheet of seaweed (nori).

Onigiri not only make rice transportable and easy to eat, but they also contain a delicious filling, for example, salmon in mayonnaise, umeboshi (pickled plums), or furikake (typical Japanese rice spice), which we will look at below.

This handy triangle symbolizes the moment of pause and pauses in the stressful (albeit very orderly) Japanese everyday life. Even if the snack is available in every possible variation in the convenience shop in Japan, they bring back memories of childhood, excursions, and enjoyable moments.

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Since the Japanese have organizing picnics – such as the meetings on the occasion of the annual cherry blossom-filled rice balls, have form and taken away. And that until today!

You will already notice that onigiri is not just in the form of pressed rice with a filling. The lovingly designed rice balls are also an expression of feelings! This gives the ball a smiling face when a student wishes success in an exam. Or a grim look if your partner comes home drunk for four nights in a row!

Make onigiri yourself in 5 steps.

Due to their vast popularity, the rice triangles in Japan are available in an infinite number of variations in all convenience stores across the country!

There is no such thing as this great luxury here in Germany, so the motto is: get creative yourself and prepare Japanese rice balls by hand at home!

 The following simple instructions show you how you can make your onigiri yourself in 5 quick steps!

  1. Prepare the rice – skip.
  2. Choose the best onigiri filling –
  3. Shape the rice balls correctly – skip 
  4. Wrap or fry the onigiri

Boil rice.


So let’s take a closer look at this vital element at the beginning!

Which rice should I use for onigiri?

To prepare Japanese rice balls, it is best to use short to medium-grain (also round-grain) white rice. 

Since authentic Japanese rice not exports, the best type of rice available in Germany calls ” Calrose ” and often refer to as ” sushi rice ” on the packaging. This variety has a soft consistency, is very mild in taste, and sticks together well when fully cooked.

How is rice properly cooked for onigiri?

The sticking together of the rice grains is typical and very important to make perfect onigiri!

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Determining the ideal amount of cooking water is also an important point – but always read the individual cooking instructions for the rice first! In general, however, the same amount of water use as rice: So for 100g of loose rice, there is 100ml of water!

To cook the Japanese rice for onigiri, it is best to follow our simple instructions here in the recipes:

Step 2 –

When you have prepared the rice, you should think about the correct filling of the Japanese rice balls.

Onigiri is usually filling with a very intense filling or mixed with a rice spice, as the rice “swallows” many aromas.

Step 3 –

Why are rice balls triangular?

We only get triangular onigiri today – round ones would be nice too, wouldn’t they? The explanation: In the 1980s, the demand for onigiri in Japan grew. And the technical possibilities got better so that the next step towards mechanization was quite logical. The hand-rolled (with the emphasis on ROLLING) rice balls. Which were often found up to then, could not be imitated by the developed machine.

Instead, three corners were much more convenient for production, packaging, and transportation. And the Japanese have stuck with it to this day, even if homemade onigiri is often spherical.

 Step 4 –

After you’ve carefully filled and shaped the rice triangles, all that’s missing is the finale. You have two options: Either wrap the rice ball with a cut seaweed sheet (nori)  or fry it in a pan until crispy on all sides.

Step 5 –

Do not put the finished rice balls in the refrigerator to store because the rice will harden there. If it should keep in the fridge, wrap it airtight in cling film or another suitable container. But it still applies: rice balls should eat as soon as possible after preparation!

Also Read: How to make distilled water


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