10 March 2015


What is Onigiri? It's delicious. Stop asking questions.

Onigiri (oh-knee-gah-ree) is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes, and often wrapped in Nori (seaweed). Traditionally the Onigiri is stuffed with Salmon, seaweed, fish flakes, pickled fruits, etc. I chose to fill it with Salmon. I also free styled with the recipe. Mostly because 1) didn't have the right ingredients 2) didn't want to run to the store 3) was tragically hungry (story of my life).

In my defense though, I feel like it was a fair adaptation for most (non Asian) at home cooks. I don't believe that most cooks will have Sushi Rice or Rice vinegar just hanging around. My insatiable Asian tummy says you're welcome for the modern adaptation. 

Yields: 5-6 Onigiri

  • 1 C White Rice (I used Jasmine Rice)
  • 1 1/2 T Vinegar (I used distilled)
  • 2 Filet Salmon
  • 1 T Grated Ginger
  • 1 T Minced Garlic
  • 1 T Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Onion (radial cuts)
  • Nori 
  • Salted Water

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare your rice in the rice cooker normally.

Cut your onions, and place them in the bottom. These will act as aromatics, but also prevent sticking on the bottom so clean up will be a breeze. Place your fillet on top of the onions and season with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 20-25 min (or until the salmon is cooked).

When the rice is done cooking  remove from heat,
 and add the vinegar. Let it cool. When the salmon is done cooking, chip up and allow to cool also.

Have a small bowl with salted water standing by to help loosen the rice from your hands. When ready wet your hands with your salt water, and grab a 1/2 C size of white rice and place in hands. Flatten it out, and fill with about 1 T of the Salmon. Carefully enclose the rice around the Salmon. To form the triangles keep one hand flat, and "tee-pee" the other. Making the angle of a triangle. Constantly rotate to get even angels, or until the desired shape is formed.  Form all the Onigiri PRIOR to placing the Nori on. Otherwise the Nori will become soggy, and you'll miss the textural contrast.

Here's what I would do differently:
  • I would chip up seaweed, and fish flakes into the rice to help flavor it. You could even have these chipped up and served on the side for people to dip into as they'd like. Also salt your rice.
  • I would also UNDER water the rice when cooking. You'll want it a little dry, because it will soak up moisture from the vinegar, and salted water from your hands. I measure the water with my hands and can't give you accurate details. Just your judgement though to make the rice dry.
  • On that note: I would use Sushi rice. The grains will hold their structure better as the Jasmine became a mushed. Just bite the bullet on this one, but again this was adapted to use your pantry.
  • Tempura Shrimp would be a great substitution to the salmon. Or Avocado would work nicely too. It's similar to Sushi, so you can truly be creative however you'd like.
  • Serve with a spicy mayo dip (mayo and Sirracha would work well).
  • I would season the Salmon with Sesame Oil (very lightly).