May 03, 2019

These simple-looking shaped balls of rice gave rise to the modern-day sushi culture. Rice farmers' wives would prepare these for their lunch in the rice paddies as they're compact and tidy to eat. Farmers were too poor to afford meat or fish to make fillings so a little salt and vinegar in the rice with nori (seaweed) went a long way. The principles of onigiri are still very practical today - these little rice balls are great for picnics and lunch boxes. 

If you make extra, they can be packed in a container and frozen for another emergency lunch. 

Ingredients - White rice balls

Rice vinegar mixture:

  • ½ cup sushi vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt

Cooking instructions - White rice balls

  1. Mix the ingredients together and dribble the mixture over the hot rice and fan furiously whilst gently folding the rice over with a silicone spatula or rice paddle.
  2. Fan until the rice has stopped steaming after each fold and is glossy.
  3. Once the rice is at room temperature, cover with a wet dishcloth or muslin cloth. This will be ready to shape and mould in 15-20 minutes.
  4. Wet your hands and shape into rectangular-base triangle prisms.

Ingredients - Black rice balls

  • 250g cooked black rice

Cooking instructions - Black rice balls

  1. Make sure the black rice is soaked overnight.
  2. Add a pinch of salt into the water before cooking.
  3. Cook the black rice according to its instructions
  4. Fan until the rice has stopped steaming after each fold and is glossy.
  5. Once the rice is at room temperature, cover with a wet dishcloth or muslin cloth. This will be ready to shape and mould in 15-20 minutes.
  6. Wet your hands and shape into rectangular-base triangle prisms.

Wrap options

You can wrap onigiri in just about anything you want - here are a few examples for you to try:

  • Japanese Toasted seaweed
  • Korean Baked seaweed
  • Butter lettuce
  • Cooked ham

How did it go? Tag us @grainguru.uk and use the hashtags #onigiri and #grainguru 

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