Onigiri -おにぎり‐ The perfect snack for a perfect evening



Onigiri ―おにぎり— 

 The perfect snack for a perfect evening

I remember the time when I felt really ill, I was about 6 years old. My mother fed me a rice ball wrapped in seaweed and I thought it was one of the strangest foods I ever ate considering I hadn’t eaten seaweed (nori) in my life. Little did I know I would land up in a country where Onigiri is eaten as an appetizer or as an evening snack.

Onigiri was first invented as an alternative to foods that can’t be stored in the fridge as refrigerators didn’t come into existence up until 1913, until the advent of electricity. Therefore, an alternative way of preserving rice had to be sourced out and thus salt was added.

Onigiri a.k.an Omusubi/Nigirimeshi is a rice ball formed into either a cylindrical shape or a triangular shape wrapped in nori (seaweed). It is sometimes eaten alone but oftentimes, they have a rich filling of tuna-mayo, tarako, okaka, kombu, etc. So, one has the notion of getting creative, i.e anything can be used as a filling inside the rice ball or as a topping.

Onigiri is found in all convenient stores all over Japan and most times you will see it inside bento boxes as it is considered to be a healthy snack not only for young people but also by older people. So next time you throw a tea party or want to have a picnic at the beach, make sure you take onigiri with you. Why eat sandwiches when you can substitute it for something healthier and do it the Japanese way!

How to make Onigiri:

  • Rice needs to be freshly cooked and cooled down just enough for it to be warm in your hands so that the shape can be molded.
  • Keep a bowl of water beside you, as water is needed to prevent the rice from clumping and sticking together.
  • Ensure that your hands are salted enough to transfer the salt onto the rice ball.
  • Mold it into the shape you like either a cylinder shape, round shape or a triangular shape.
  • Use Mayo, okaka (bonito flakes/katsuobushi), etc. for an extended flavor.
  • Wrap the onigiri with seaweed.