If you can cook rice in a rice cooker, you can make onigiri. Using a plastic mold speeds things up, but forming them into rice balls by hand is just as easy. Once you’ve mastered the basics of shaping the rice, you can begin to fill them with your favorite flavors, like mayo-spiked canned tuna, salted cooked salmon, or mentaiko—or eat them with whole shiso leaves instead of strips of dried seaweed. But even when they’re left plain, you won’t be disappointed.
- Add the furikake to the cooked rice and mix until evenly distributed.
- Allow the steaming rice to cool to a temperature that’s safe to touch.
- With wet hands, portion out a ½- or ⅓-cup-size portion of rice. (Keep a small bowl of water to re-wet your hands.) Form into a disc shape by rolling the scoop of rice between both hands into a packed sphere, then flatten slightly. You don’t want to squish the rice together too much, but you also don’t want it to be so loosely packed that the grains won’t stick together. Even out the sides with your thumb and pointer finger, making a C shape to create a round, uniform edge if needed. Repeat until rice is finished.
- Serve warm.
- Optional: For more flavorful onigiri, brush a mixture of 1 tablespoon miso, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon mirin onto each side of the rice ball. Grill in a pan for about 10 seconds on each side over medium-high heat, making sure the miso does not burn. It will form a darker brown crust, but avoid a burnt, blackened color.
Tatiana Bautista is an assistant editor at TASTE.