Onigiri is a Japanese food made of rice balls formed into a triangular shape and wrapped in seaweed. I used to eat these all the time as a kid because I loved the fun packaging and how they were super convenient to pack for lunch. Onigiri comes with a variety of different fillings such as crab meat, miso paste, teriyaki chicken, tuna and much more. My favorite type of onigiri, however, is the type that’s filled with salmon, which is what I used in this recipe because it’s light, yet filling and also a great source of high-quality protein.

Winnie Lam / Daily Nexus

Ingredients (for 8 onigiri pieces):

  • 1/4 pound salmon
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce 
  • 2 cups of short-grain white rice (or sushi rice)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4-5 tablespoons furikake (dry Japanese rice seasoning)
  • 8 small strips of nori

Winnie Lam / Daily Nexus

Directions:

  1. Wash and cook 2 cups of rice. While the rice is cooking, bake or pan-fry your salmon until cooked. Blot any excess oil off with a paper towel and let it cool down. 
  2. Break the salmon into small pieces with a fork. Add the soy sauce and gently mix it into the pieces of salmon.
  3. When the rice is done cooking, transfer it into a large bowl, add the rice vinegar and gently mix the rice until well incorporated.
  4. Add the furikake to the bowl and mix until it is evenly distributed. You can add more or less depending on your preference.
  5. Using a piece of plastic wrap, shape a golf ball-sized sphere of rice into a triangle, but don’t press too hard. (Shaping the rice with plastic wrap prevents the rice from sticking to your hands and makes it easier to clean up.)
  6. Press the center of the rice triangle with your thumb and add half a spoonful of salmon into the indentation. Cover it up with a little more rice and mold the onigiri until you are satisfied with the shape.
  7. Use one strip of nori to wrap any flat side of the onigiri and enjoy!

Winnie Lam / Daily Nexus

This recipe is definitely time consuming with all the molding and shaping of the onigiris but after a bit of trial and error, it actually becomes a very relaxing task. You can experiment with different types of furikake and fillings for the onigiri. They make the perfect lunch or snack, and three of them are usually enough for a full meal.

A version of this article appeared on p.14 of the August 27, 2020 print edition of the Daily Nexus.

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Winnie Lam
Winnie Lam serves as the 2019-2020 On The Menu Editor. She has an unhealthy obsession with Trader Joe's and she loves all things matcha.