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Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to Make Onigiri by Hand (No Mold, No Mess)

Have you ever wanted to try the triangular riceballs your favorite anime/manga characters always seem to enjoy? Onigiri are Japanese riceballs that can be eaten plain or made with a tasty filling and/or mixed with furikake (Japanese rice seasoning). As a non-Japanese kid growing up in America, my first exposure to onigiri came from the dubbed anime shown on KidsWB (now known as CW4kids). Like me, you might know onigiri as the "donuts" Brock made for Ash and Misty back in the day when there were only 151 Pokemon, but trust me, there is nothing donut-like about onigiri... especially Brock's. Brock's onigiri were made with umeboshi, which is a sour, pickled plum - about as far away as you can get from a donut on the taste spectrum! >.< Nevertheless, onigiri are easy to make and taste great!


On today's adventure, I'll show a simple tutorial on how to make onigiri by hand without the use of a fancy mold. Better yet, I'll show you how to make them without getting your hands wet or dirty! I promise! ^_^


Although this isn't the traditional way of making onigiri, I love this method because the bowl helps you achieve onigiri that are the same size and the plastic wrap keeps your hands clean. Fresh cooked rice is also super hot and the bowl helps minimize the time you spend handling these toasty balls of yummy-ness.

Tohru used leeks when making onigiri in Fruits Basket
The thing I love most about onigiri is that the filling possibilities are virtually endless so you can customize everything to your own taste. I used tuna mayo and umeboshi (pickled plums), which are some of the most popular fillings, but you can use whatever you want. Have an adventure with it! ^_~ Just be sure the filling isn't oily or too watery because that could cause the riceball to fall apart. Raw filling like sashimi or spicy tuna should also be avoided if you are packing onigiri that will be eaten later since those fillings can spoil.

ONIGIRI FILLING SUGGESTIONS
Tuna Mayo
Umeboshi (picked plums)
Teriyaki Chicken
Grilled Salmon
Kombu (seaweed)
Spam
Kimchi
Bulgogi
Spicy Pork

What's your suggestion?

Onigiri are great for snacks or packed in a bento lunch. I often make them for my family and friends when we go to places like Anime Expo or an amusement park. Now that you, too, know how to make them, take them with you on your next big adventure! ^_^

P.S. Click the link to see my Anime Food Re-creation of Fruits Basket's platter of onigiri!

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