4 cups of cooked white or brown rice Nori


Grilled and salted salmon

Onigiri (rice balls)

While it is hard to get the hang of at first, you will find that the traditional triangular shape is a natural fit for your hands. Alternately, you can buy an onigiri press at your local Asian grocery store, which makes perfectly formed onigiri.

Ideally, this is to be made with fresh, hot rice. However, I find that just-cooked rice is too hot to handle. I like to stand by the sink and wet my hands with cool running water, then dipping my hands in a dish of kosher salt. This keeps the rice from sticking to my hands, and lends a nice flavor to the rice. Ladle a scoop of the hot rice onto one cupped hand, and gently press to form a ball. To fill the onigiri, press a thumb into the ball, and fill with your choice of filling. Add a little rice to fill the hole, or, simply form the onigiri around the filling. Press the onigiri into a 3” x 3” triangle. The texture should be firm, but not hard. With your very first onigiri, you’ll get accustomed to the amount of pressure needed.

Place the completed onigiri into a lunch box or on a serving plate. Rinse your hands, and then repeat. To serve, cut nori into convenient sized rectangles, and have each diner wrap his/her own onigiri with one or two pieces of nori. This nori not only adds a nice flavor and texture, it keeps the diner’s hands clean and un-sticky. You’ll find it better to place the nori on the onigiri immediately before eating, as I prefer the almost crispy texture to the soggy kind.

In the sidebar, you’ll find the most common fillings, but feel free to improvise. If it tastes good with rice and is salty, it would make a good filling for onigiri.

Makes about 4 onigiri