Ongiri is simple to make and tastes great. The Onigiri dish is made from rice, umboshi (or other filling), and seaweed.


The word onigiri means "made by gripping with the hands." It started out as food for soldiers. Onigiri is easy to make, it tastes good and it is small and lightweight, which makes it the perfect food to carry around. Others historians think that some Japanese nobles distributed it to peasants that would gather at their gates. The original onigiri came about in the year 1885. The ingredients were simple: rice, umboshi (which is a pickled plum) and seaweed. However the variety of different ingredients has been added to throughout the years. It was and still is a snack that mothers put in the lunch boxes of their children and their husbands. In Japan onigiri can be found in most stores and train stations. The way that the Japanese think of Onigiri is like how Americans thinks of sandwiches or granola bars. You can eat it on the run!


Medium grain rice

1 inch by 5 inch strips (Seaweed) (optional)
Umeboshi (Japanese Pickled Plums) (optional)
Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional)
Canned Tuna or Smoked Salmon (optional)

Heres how you do it!!

1-Rice should be cool enough that you can grip it with your hands without burning your hands.

2-Rinse hands and leave wet, and rub palms with salt. (Wet hands do not stick to the rice making it easier to form. The salt adds flavor and helps to sterilize any bacteria.)

3-Take a handful of rice and form it into a ball with your hands, using the palm of left hand to form the base, and the palm and fingers of your right hand to form the two sides of a triangle.

4-Rotate it so that the side that was on your left palm is now rotated to one of the sides on your right hand.

5-Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have a nice triangle shape.

6- Depending on the amount of Onigiri you want, you will repeat the steps rinsing and salting hands until you have the number of triangle shaped rice balls that you want.

7- Now that you have a basic rice ball, you can flavor it with any of the optional ingredients.

8- After you have seasoned it or added the flavor that you want, you can rape seaweed around it. this is optional, but it helps to hold the rice together so that it can be taken and eaten on the go!

Although the umeboshi is traditional in making Onigiri, you can also use things like tuna, mayonnaise, mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and even kimchi!

STEP 1 and STEP 3&4

History and recipes are adapted from: