Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • salt
  • 1 sheet nori (dry seaweed), cut into 1-inch strips, or as desired(Optional)
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Combine 2 cups water, rice, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent rice from sticking, until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork; cool rice until easily handled, about 10 minutes.


  • Step 2

    Fill a small bowl with water. Place 2 tablespoons of salt in another small bowl.

  • Step 3

    Dip hands in water and rub salt over hands. Take a handful of warm rice and form it into a ball. Gently squish ball; with your hands in an “L” or “C” shape, apply gentle pressure to the sides to make a triangle shape.

  • Step 4

    Wrap a strip of nori around the triangle, using a bit of water to help it stick if necessary.

  • Cook's Notes:

    Sushi rice can be used instead of jasmine rice if desired. Salt can be replaced with garlic salt, seasoned salt or a mix of Chinese five-spice powder with salt.

    If adding a filling, gently push on the rice ball in step 3 to create a small pocket for the filling.

    It’s important to shape rice while still warm otherwise it won’t stick as well. This takes lots of practice and patience so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time.

    Nori is commonly used in sushi and can be found in most grocery stores or Asian markets. I usually cut into strips with scissors. Nori has a distinctly fishy smell and taste so if you don’t like fish or sushi I would recommend not adding it.

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