Food You Can Eat : Onigiri

The retrospective of FYCE offerings continues. This post is from April, 2020:

This is one of my favorite foods to make and eat. There are so many variations, they freeze well, and can be eaten warm or cold.

  • 2 cups sushi rice*
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar **

Rinse and cook rice using your preferred method. * It has to be short grain sushi rice, long grain will not hold together. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and Mirin, mix into the rice. ** I don’t add the sugar, Mirin is sweet enough for me but most recipes call for it . While the rice is still warm shape into triangles or balls. I use an onigiri mold. You can find them at most Asian markets or online. The traditional shape is triangular, but they also come in cute animal shapes. Or you can form it with your hands. The rice is very starchy so you may need to rinse your molds or hands occasionally.

I use the small size.

You can stuff them with cooked or raw vegetables, pickles, canned tuna, seaweed, chopped chicken, salmon or shrimp, anything you like. Create a divot in the rice, fill and cover with more rice. Or mix the rice with furikake, a mixture of seasonings including bonito flakes, also available at Asian markets. If you like roll in sesame seeds while still wet.

Grill or fry them in a pan to make Yaki Onigiri. Once each side is lightly browned brush with miso or a blend of soy sauce and butter, and continue to grill unto crispy and brown.

Plain, stuffed, or grilled, they can be made in advance, frozen, thawed and eaten with or without dipping sauces.

Yaki onigiri and plain.



  1. You can go even simpler and also use the same rice base for chirashizushi, which is just served in a bowl with whatever toppings you like. Like you say, sushi doesn’t need fish, and it can even have spam or sliced up hot dogs.

    • I started making them for my daughter because she’s a vegetarian and needed food she could eat at school. She had a bento box. An onigiri, hard boiled egg, and some edamame. A healthy, tasty lunch.

    • Sushi rice is very starchy, that’s why it sticks together. If Arborio is starchy it might work. Don’t rinse it before cooking. That should help. And if it wont stay together you can eat it as a bowl like blue dogcollar suggested.

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