Karl’s Onigiri (Rice Balls)

Onigiri are the Japanese equivalent of a PB&J sandwich, something to take for a school lunch or on a picnic. One of Eilene’s Japanese class friends taught her how to make these a couple of years ago. While they are commonly formed into triangles and may have savory or salty filling, they may also be formed into simple round balls.

Karl’s Onigiri (Rice Balls)

Karl’s Onigiri (Rice Balls)

I am making a Japanese dinner for Sunday and I wanted something more than just a pile of steamed rice to go with it. This is not so much a recipe as a presentation. How to make something plain into something aesthetically pleasing.

Frequently, strips of nori are used to keep the rice from sticking to your hands. I decided to use Whole Spice’s Japanese Seaweed Rice Seasoning. You may substitute the more readily available Nori Komi Furikake.

Karl’s Onigiri (Rice Balls)


4 cups of cooled steamed rice

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. Japanese Seaweed Rice Seasoning


1. Steam 1½ – 2 cups of raw rice and then let it cool enough that you may easily handle it.

2. Put the seasoning in a shaker bottle with large holes.

Tip: You want the seasoning to come out easily, but not to pour out all at once.

3. Set a large bowl of water next to where you are making the rice balls and wet your hands well, so that the rice will not stick to them.

4. Sprinkle a bit of salt on your palms.

Tip: This seasons the rice as you form the balls.

5. Take about third of a cup of rice and press it between your palms to make a rice ball.

Note: Pack the rice just enough to make it stick together, but do not mash the grains of rice into a paste.

6. Put the rice ball on a small plate and sprinkle the seasoning over all sides of the rice, until it is well coated.

Tip: Roll the ball over the plate to pick up any seasoning that did not stick the first time.

7. Put the first ball on a serving plate.

8. Repeat wetting and salting your hands and repeat until you run out of rice.

1 Comment

Filed under Rice, Sauces and Spices, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian

One response to “Karl’s Onigiri (Rice Balls)

  1. Pingback: Karl’s Barbecued Chicken Teriyaki Skewers | Jabberwocky Stew

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