Japan Australia Pages

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Japanese Onigiri

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A popular way to eat rice in Japan is onigiri, which is basically a flavoured rice ball. Traditionally, an onigiri is rice encasing a filling, shaped into a triangle of oval. There are now many different types of onigiri, which we will explain a little later. Why are they popular? They are convenient, which makes them a great snack food, school lunch or takeaway option. They are very easy to make and carry, which makes them popular for picnics and day trips with the Japanese.

Onigiri is sold everywhere in Japan from conbini (convenience stores), and supermarkets to food halls. Onigiri has even become popular overseas in the last few years thanks to anime and manga.

What kind of rice to use for Onigiri

The japonica variety of rice grown in Japan is softer and stickier than other kinds of rice when cooked. Pressed by hand it retains its shape well making it ideal for onigiri. The onigiri rice is usually flavoured with just salt, but is moulded using your bare hands dipped in water. They are best eaten at room temperature.

Onigiri Fillings

Popular fillings include:

• umeboshi (pickled plum)
• shiozake (salted salmon)
• tarako (salty cod roe)
• okaka (bonito flakes with soy sauce)
• tuna with mayonnaise
• shrimp tempura (tenmusu)

Onigiri is usually wrapped in dried nori seaweed, which makes the onigiri easy to hold and keeps the rice soft and moist.

Onigiri Shapes

There are many different shapes of onigiri. Traditional shapes include triangle, oval and tawara (cylinder).

Different Types of Onigiri

• Traditional type, which is a filled onigiri wrapped in nori
• Sprinkled type, which is an onigiri covered in some kind of seasoning such as furikake (mixed seasoning) or gomashio (sesame seeds with salt)
• Mixed rice type, which is an onigiri where the rice has been mixed with something else such as a seasoning and then shaped

Another popular way to eat onigiri is yaki-onigiri. Coat the rice with miso or soy sauce then lightly grill the rice. These are best eaten hot.

Japanese Onigiri Recipe

What's your favourite Onigiri? Please leave a comment below.

15 comments:

  1. Onigiri! Perfect on the go food. I make them for my family if I have a night race for their dinner while they wait for me to arive to the finish line. :)

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    1. Thanks Lina, They are a great easy to prepare food that everyone loves. Are they popular in Malaysia, too?

      John

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    2. It is well-known but we prefer other snacks to eat. ^^

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  2. My first introduction to Onigiri was in Nagoya,I especially liked the Tenmusu (Tempura Shrimp) and another with Chicken Karaage, my all time favorite is plain with gomashio sprinkled on it (something to do with the days when I ate only zen macrobiotic foods) also found that some of the korean cafes/restaurants make so great onigiri.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Llewellyn, They have some good ones in Nagoya and I love both the tenmusu and chicken karaage onigiri. The plain simple ones are also good with just a seasoning sprinkled on them. :)

      John

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  3. Sekihan onigiri! ^^

    When I came to Japan, I thought onigiri were very bland. Now I think it's the perfect ... well ... almost the perfect snack. Chocolate is the number one perfect snack! :)

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    1. Thanks Rurousha, I should have know with your sweet tooth. Sekihan onigiri is a good one. I think onigiri are kind of like the Japaneses equivalent of a sandwich. The perfect snack or quick meal :)

      John

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  4. Ahh now I'm craving onigiri! I've never tried to make it myself, so I may just give it a go :D

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    1. Thanks Rabucon, Definitely give it a try as it is not too difficult. The hardest part is probably making the shape, but as long as it tastes good that is all that matters :)

      John

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  5. I miss onigiri now. Onigiri is perfect food for Japanese. :) It's healthy and conveinent.

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    1. Thanks Cocomino, I guess it would be very hard to find over in Europe. We make it quite a lot here in Australia and it is very popular :)

      John

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  6. I make these for my kid's school lunches. I bought a mould from Fuji Mart, so they always turn out perfectly.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa, Yeah, they are great for kids school lunches and that is a good idea with the mould. It makes it pretty easy to shape them, which I find the hardest part :)

      John

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  7. I haven't had any in a while. But now you made me hungry for some ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Thomas, Sorry mate, I tend to do that with my food posts :)

      John

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