This year’s Summer Matsuri hosted a panel on making onigiri, typically known as rice balls. Rice balls are a food that is commonly associated with Japanese cooking in anime and manga, and are a typical convenience store food in Japan.
Onigiri are very easy to make, and are often made with all kinds of different fillings. The more basic ingredients can be found at your local grocery store such as Hannafords or Market Basket, but some fillings can only be found online or at an Asian market such as Nois Asian Market in Laconia, Lanna Asian Market in Nashua, Uhen Heh Grocery (also known as Korean Japanese Grocery) in Salem, and Saigon Asian Market in Manchester.
Short grain rice cooked in a rice cooker
Nori (sheets of seaweed)
Your choice of fillings and coatings
Plastic wrap or onigiri molds
1) Cook the rice according to the directions. Let the rice cool.
2) There are three ways you can mold the rice into the desired shape. One way is to wet your hands with salted water and mold with your hands (the salted water not only puts flavor on the rice ball, but also keeps rice from sticking to hands). You can also spoon some rice onto a sheet of plastic wrap, then mold with your hands. Alternately, you can use an onigiri mold which can be found online or at any location that sells bento box items. You can mold the rice balls into either a typical ball shape or into the traditional triangle shape using the space between your thumb and pointer finger to make the triangle.
3) If you’re going to put filling in, put in half the rice, then make an indentation to place the filling. Put more rice on top of that, then mold.
4) Use nori to wrap the rice ball. Not only can you eat it, but it makes it easier to hold the rice ball.