Apologies to all my Japanese friends - please do not read this post. My Japanese friends make perfectly beautiful onigiri (rice ball) with all the extra traditional ingredients. Nothing beats a truly Japanese onigiri. The ones I make have three ingredients and are never quite perfectly shaped, most importantly my kids love them!
The basic concept is rice and something else smooshed together in a triangle or small shape. Then wrap in plain nori seaweed to keep it all together.
There are lots of other details if you want to get complicated - feel free to google things you can add to the rice, or how you can make a 'surprise' in the middle of the rice ball - but I like to keep it simple!
Next time you have rice for dinner, make a bit extra.
After dinner, put the extra rice in a bowl, and mix in whatever you have - I like using salmon, but you can use shredded chicken or bits of sesame and seaweed or anything you think will taste good.
Mix with a fork
Mash into molds
Take out of molds and store in a covered container in the fridge overnight
Another way of doing it is put the rice in the triangle molds, then use your finger and dig a hole in the middle, then add the salmon, then cover with more rice, then smoosh down - this makes for a 'surprise' in the middle. My friend did this with feta cheese and her kids loved it, so really be experimental and try it with whatever you have!
They are great for breakfast, lunch boxes, school snacks, plane trips, picnics, and more.
Normally, you would keep the seaweed separate until right before eating. But my kids prefer me to wrap it for them - it then gets 'soggy' but they say they like it as it holds everything together better.
Look at the photos for different mold shapes and how I make them.
- Cooked rice (Japanese, white, brown, jasmine, basmati, all work, a bit wet helps)
- Cooked salmon (see my recipes here) or other filling (can be vegan!)
- Plain nori seaweed wrappers
- Mix the still slightly warm rice in a bowl with your filling - we like salmon
- Slightly overfill the mold
- Press down really really hard! You want to mash it all together so it keeps the right shape
- Take the top off and use the little flap at the bottom to help push the onigiri out
- Once you have a plate full, either put in fridge, or wrap in seaweed and eat right away
All of the materials shown in the photos below are easily found at Japan Home Store or the Jusco 12 HKD Living Plaza shops located around Hong Kong.
If you can't get the molds, you can use a cup or mug line with plastic wrap it will work the same way.
Happy onigiri making - do share below how you get on and what interesting filings you try!