There has never been a better time to update my Japanese Rice Ball recipe. The 16th of October is World Food Day which was established by the United Nations. In commemoration of this day, I am joining a wonderful campaign to help deliver meals to children in need – with the help of some Japanese Rice Balls!
The campaign that I’m participating in is the “Change the World with Onigiri” campaign, which is run by Table For Two (TFT). Table for Two is a Japanese non-profit organization. TFT International promotes healthy eating internationally and provides healthy school meals to children in East Africa and Southeast Asia.
One wonderful and delicious way you can take action on this important issue, while also celebrating World Food Day is by making Japanese Rice Balls (Onigiri). Just imagine… You make your onigiri, take a photo, and somewhere in the world starving children receive a much needed and nutritious lunch! How wonderful! Even though it might be a small step, if we all work together we can help eradicate hunger and starvation in the world. The “Change the World with Onigiri” campaign is aiming to deliver 1 million meals to children in need every year.
For more information about this campaign, please visit here
I would love to encourage you to participate in this campaign by making Japanese Rice Balls. This is how this campaign works:
The Japanese Rice Ball is called “Onigiri” or “Omusubi” in Japanese and it is a very popular snack food found in almost every convenience stores, but you can also commonly find it in an Obento for lunches. They are so easy to make and are a convenient food to pack for lunch, perfect for a busy day at work or school because they can be eaten on the go.
There are so many different variations in terms of fillings that you can buy and make. I have shared Sake Onigiri, Yaki Onigiri and Mentaiko Onigiri before on the blog. Traditional and common fillings are Umeboshi (salted and pickled plum), Okaka (bonito flakes combined with soy sauce), Shiojyake (salted and grilled salmon), and Kombu (kelp).
There are various rice seasonings which are specifically made for seasoned rice balls that you can buy from Japanese grocery stores or online. My favourite is Tarako (cod roe), but you can be as creative as you like and find your favourite fillings. I hope you enjoy making Japanese rice ball (Onigiri) and please share the photos using the hashtag #OnigiriAction
My neighbourhood and I got together and decided to make some Japanese rice balls together!
Here is the video how to make Onigiri.
Make Iconic and traditional Japanese rice balls "Onigiri" at home. Super easy and fast to make.
- 2 cups rice (uncooked)
- 1 seeded umeboshi pickled plum
- 10 g of bonito flakes
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp mirin
- 1 nori sheets seaweed sheets
- 95 g tinned tuna
Cook 3 cups of rice according to your rice cooker or if you don’t have a rice cooker, follow the instructions here (link to my how to cook rice page).
Transfer the cooked rice in a separate bowl to cool it down. I used a Japanese wooden bowl*1 for sushi making.
Prepare all the fillings that you are going to use and set aside. *2 see some suggestions
I used Umeboshi (pickled plum), Okaka (bonito flakes), and Tuna. For Umeboshi, deseed the plums then divide the meat into three chunks. For Okaka, place bonito flakes into a small mixing bowl and combine with soy sauce and mirin. For Tuna, drain the brine or olive oil and mix with 1 tbs mayonnaise.
Prepare seaweed sheet (nori). ＊3
Place cling wrap over a rice bowl.
Place half a cup of cooked rice over the centre of the cling wrap.
Put about 1tsp of umeboshi (or any fillings of your choice) on the centre of the rice then top with another half cup of rice.
Wrap the cling wrap over the rice and squeeze and mould the rice into a triangle shape with your hands.
Remove the cling wrap and cover the bottom of the rice triangle with a nori sheet and set aside.
Repeat the same steps as above to make an onigiri with the bonito flake filling.
Cooking rice is not included in cooking time.
*1 There are special wooden containers called “ohitsu” to keep cooked rice in Japan. Once the rice is cooked, the rice need to be loosened with a wooden spatula then kept it in the wooden container. Because the wooden container will absorb the extra moisture and make the cooked rice plump but not soggy.
*2 Pickled plum, bonito flakes seasoned with soy sauce and mirin, tuna flavoured with mayonnaise, kelp simmered in soy sauce (tsukudani), teriyaki chicken, yakiniku (grilled beef) etc.
*3 In Japan or from Japanese grocery stores, you can find nori already cut to the size of a regular Onigiri. If you can only get nori sheets for making sushi, I usually briefly roast it under a low oven or grill setting, and then cut out into 8 strips.