Country of origin: Japan

Onigiri are little balls of rice, stuffed with some kind of filling, for example, umeboshi, the tasty salty/sour plums, pickled with shiso leaf. They are portable, pretty virtuous in the health department and easy to eat, so are ideal for a packed lunch or picnic. They have been recorded as far back as the 11th century, when rolling the rice into balls made it easy to handle and eat.

They are a real doddle to make, you cook the rice, preparing the filling(s) in the meanwhile and then form into shape and wrap in nori seaweed.

¬†You can mix half white rice and half brown, but be warned that it won’t be as beautifully sticky as pure white grains.

Once the rice is done, while it’s still hot, put some on a piece of cling film, and pop your filling(s) of choice in the middle.

Grilled teriyaki salmon below, and then avocado:

Put a tad more rice on top and then wrap with the cling film to form a rice sphere, rolling around and squeezing a little,to pack it tightly.

Unwrap and then on another plate, roll in your coating of choice (I used sesame seeds and a little salt, but you could buy or make your own furikake* as well).


-For a delicious nutty-taste, use half white sushi rice and half brown

-Black and white sesame seeds will give a lovely contrast as a coating, as in Heidi Swanson’s Sesame Almond Brown Rice Balls

*To make your own furikake, take some nori seaweed and shred up into tiny pieces, add shredded or ground bonito flakes and sesame seeds, voila. This can be stored and is delicious sprinkled on some plain steaming sushi rice.