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Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

I love these Japanese rice balls (known as “Onigiri” /お握り in Japan) which are short-grain rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and usually wrapped in nori.

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They are great as a quick and fuss-free meal, and for using up any leftover sushi rice. Try bringing onigiri to a picnic for a change over sandwiches! Here, I made three popular and easiest flavours of onigiri – namely (from front to back) salmon, umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) and okaka (dried bonito flakes).

Step-by-Step Photos
(click picture to see full view)

sushi rice
Cook 2 cups Japanese rice.

Onigiri fillings
Prepare the fillings.

  • Salmon. Pan-fry a small piece of salmon fillet and shred the salmon to flakes when cooled.
  • Bonito. In a small bowl, mix bonito flakes with light soy sauce (pictured left above).
  • Umeboshi. Finely chop a pitted umeboshi (pictured right above).

Making onigiri
Mould the onigiri by hand Wet hands, flatten one serving of rice, make an indentation in the center and place filling in the middle (pictured). Mould the rice ball with both palms to close up the filling and mould to desired shape.

Onigiri Mould
Mould the onigiri using a mould Salmon Onigiri: Wet inside of onigiri mould, fill mould halfway with rice, add filling in middle, then fill the mould with more rice. Push flap to release the onigiri from the mould. I use the onigiri mould (from Daiso) all the time, as I am not so good with shaping them by hand.

umeboshi onigiri
Umeboshi onigiri: mix diced umeboshi with rice before moulding the rice ball.

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
Wrap a piece of nori strip at the base of each onigiri. Decorate with toppings.

13 comments on “Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)”

  1. They look very pretty! 你很用心,也很细心 :)

    Reminded me of the “triangular rolls” in K-drama (Good Doctor). I know, those are not Japanese but same shape leh…hahahaha!

  2. Yum! I have not had onigiri for a while, looks delicious…and really cute with the triangle mold…
    Have a great week Wiffy :D

  3. It looks beautiful! I’m a fan of all your oddly shaped dishes. So unique – which fits in perfectly with your unique recipes. ^_^ Love it!

  4. Nice! I sometimes make onigiri for my girls lunch box too!

  5. I love onigiri. Learned a lot from http://www.justhungry.com/2007/01/onigiri_omusubi_revisited_an_e.html

    Spam musubi is another favourite. Can you get musubi moulds at Daiso in Singapore?

    Onigiri and musubi are great for road trips. (I live in the US.) Kids and adults love them.

    Love your blog!

    • Hi Vivien, thanks! I have not seen musubi moulds at the Daiso here, so far. Spam musubi sounds great, I just have some leftover spam in the fridge and would love to try it.

  6. Yummy and full of different flavours, delicious!

  7. Oh, they look super cute! I didn’t realised they have moulds for this. How nifty.

  8. Oh, they look super cute! I didn’t realised they have moulds for this. How nifty.

  9. Hi may I know the brand of the sushi rice n where did u buy it? Thanks

    • Hi, I got mine from Meidi Ya, can’t remember the brand but it was 1kg for $12.90 or $19.90 which is a tad expensive. Recently I saw sushi rice from NTUC (can’t remember the brand too, but it’s imported from Australia and just as good). Sorry about the lack of brand names, I’ll compile the information next time I buy.

  10. hi may i know where you bought umeboshi from? have been searching for it at ntuc but cant find it

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