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Onigiri (御 握 り), otherwise known as omusubi (御 結 び), is a typical Japanese snack classifiable as street food. It consists of a rice ball seasoned with ingredients of your choice (usually salmon, tuna or umeboshi) enclosed in a strip of nori seaweed so that it can be easily handled while walking or standing.

The origin of the onigiri dates back to the 11th century, when they were called tojiki and eaten outdoors during picnics. Initially they were prepared in a spherical shape, while in the Heian period the first rectangular onigiri appeared. Finally, in the Edo period, onigiri were prepared by putting salt on the outside of the rice - a procedure that very often is carried out even today in the preparation of salmon onigiri.

I offer you some classic variations of onigiri, perfect for a day outdoors or as a snack or quick packed lunch. It is possible to store the onigiri in transparent film, so you can transport them more comfortably.

To create a rectangular shape, I recommend using the onigiri mold (you can find it online on Amazon or Ebay, or in any Asian grocery store equipped with kitchen tools). The important thing is to always have your hands wet with water when handling the onigiri, which must be compact. If you use the mold, be sure to also wet it with cold water before pouring rice and seasonings.


  • 1 bowl steamed sushi rice

  • 1 large intake of salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar

  • strips of nori seaweed to enclose the onigiri


  • Pour all the ingredients on the freshly prepared and therefore very hot rice.

  • Mix carefully and use immediately.


  • Mix the quantity of a can of tuna with a generous spoonful of mayonnaise.

  • Prepare the onigiri by placing the dressing in the center and compact the onigiri as much as possible.


  • Cook a slice of fresh salmon in a pan or on a grill, salt to taste.

  • Chop the cooked salmon and use it as an onigiri filling.


  • For this onigiri I wanted to mix the rice with the remaining cooked salmon. In reality, it can be prepared with simple white rice.

  • Form the onigiri, which must be as compact as possible otherwise it will break in cooking.

  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and toast the onigiri on both sides, brushing them lightly with soy sauce.


  • Place the umboshi in the center of the rice ball and compact the onigiri well.

  • Garnish with some umboshi on the top of the onigiri.


  • For this onigiri, I used reamained tuna with mayonnaise as a filling, but it can be prepared simply with rice mixed with furikake.

  • Furikake is a typically Japanese preparation based on chopped and dried fish, seaweed, sesame, sugar and salt. It is found in almost all Asian grocery stores in convenient sachets.

Onigiri ricetta recipe Cookingwiththehamster
Onigiri | © Cookingwiththehamster

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