Onigiri (Japanese rice balls)

Difficulty:  Easy

Makes:  8 large or 12 small balls

Fresh from the garden: Asian greens, pumpkin


  • metric measuring scales,
  • cups and spoons
  • non-slip mat
  • cook’s knife
  • chopping board
  • scissors
  • medium bowls
  • large saucepan
  • large frying pan
  • wooden spoon
  • serving platters


  • 4 cups short-grain rice e.g. sushi rice
  • 4½ cup water
  • table salt
  • 2 nori sheets

Suggested fillings:

  • Asian greens sauteed with soy sauce
  • miso-roasted pumpkin

What to do

Cook the rice

  • Wash the rice in a sieve under running water until the water runs clear. Drain the rice for 5 minutes then place in a medium-large saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to the lowest setting, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. Do NOT lift the lid while the rice is cooking. Remove the rice from the heat, leave the lid on and let cool.

Prepare the fillings

  • Wash the Asian greens and dry in the salad spinner. Chop into 5 cm long pieces.
  • Heat the frying pan over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon oil. Add the greens and saute until the greens have wilted. Add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Remove the greens to a bowl to cool.

Make the rice balls

  • Divide the rice into 12 equal portions. Sprinkle a bit of salt on your hands and place one portion of rice into the palm of your hand and flatten it slightly.
  • Place a small teaspoon of the Asian green mixture in the centre of the rice and gently fold the rice around the filling.
  • Shape the rice into a ball or triangular shape using both hands.
  • Cut the nori sheets in 2 cm wide strips.
  • Wrap a piece of nori around the rice ball and place on a serving plate.
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