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Onigiri at Home

Have you ever eaten onigiri? Onigiri are Japanese rice balls made of rice shaped into a triangle or some other shapes then wrapped in nori seaweed. The white rice is often filled with sour or salty ingredients such as ume pickled plums, kombu seaweed, or fish.

Because of its portability and the fact that it can be eaten with one's hands, it has been a popular portable food and lunch in Japan from ancient times to the present. Originally developed as a way to preserve leftover rice and as a portable food, onigiri later became mainstream as a regular food.

At Maido, we make them by hand every morning before our store opens. Our onigiri have so many fans of that some customers come back every single day to get them. There are many customers who have not been able to buy onigiri (almost daily) because they were sold out when they got to the store to buy them.

This week, we will show you how to make onigiri and onigiri wrapper. It is very easy to make them, and you will definitely want to try them at home. We will also introduce the items you can use to make onigiri, including the fillings and the onigiri molds that helps you to make them easier. Here we go!


Onigiri Fillings

Spicy Tuna

You can make spicy tuna with canned tuna, mayonnaise, and sriracha sauce. The canned tuna is a healthful food rich in protein and contains many vitamins and minerals such as B-Complex vitamins, Vitamins A and D as well as iron, selenium and phosphorus. Tuna also contains healthy omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA.

The tuna is soaked with water or oil inside the can, so you have to make sure to squeeze it as much as possible to get the liquid out. Then, you just put everything together and mix it. If you add more mayonnaise, it gets creamer. The more sriracha you put, the spicier it gets, so you have to be careful, unless you are really into spicy food. Spicy tuna can be eaten in sushi, over rice, salad, and more!

These are canned tuna, Japanese mayonnaise, and sriracha sauce sold at Maido.

If you do not put sriracha, it becomes tuna mayonnaise.

You can add masago smelt roe to add the unique texture to spicy tuna. At Maido, we use spicy masago for our spicy tuna, and we offer regular (non-spicy) masago at our store.



Do you like our grilled salmon or salmon mayonnaise onigiri? Grilling salmon can be a bit too much for you, so we have an amazing item for you - salmon in a jar.

It is sold frozen. It is cooked and flaked, so all you have to do is thaw them and scoop them out with chopsticks or a spoon and they are ready to use. For salmon mayonnaise, you simply need to add mayonnaise to grilled salmon.

Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish that offers several health benefits. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients, salmon is wonderful for hair and skin health.


Tarako and Karashi Mentaiko

Tarako cod roe mayonnaise has been one of the most popular onigiri flavors at Maido. Did you know we sell frozen tarako and karashi mentaiko, the spicy version of tarako?

Tarako and mentaiko are tasty food that can be eaten raw or grilled, or arranged in your own way. The small roe develops a rich, thick, almost paste-like texture. They are high in protein but low in carbohydrates, so you can eat without worrying about calories.

We offer tarako and karashi mentaiko from Yamaya from Fukuoka, Japan. Fukuoka is actually famous for them.

Tarako and karashi mentaiko have a thin skin. To cleanly remove the contents from the skin, place them horizontally and cut a horizontal slit with a knife to open them. Then, hold the end and scrape the contents off from the skin with a spoon.


Ume Pickled Plum

Ume pickled plums, also called umeboshi, are very traditional onigiri ingredients. They are a good source of polyphenols, which are thought to reduce the risk of diabetes, help lower blood pressure, prevent hardening of the arteries, and boost calcium absorption. They made their way to Japan via Central China about 1500 years ago. They were considered a health tonic. The warriors consumed them to revitalize their sore muscles and recover from battle fatigue.

There are people who remove the seeds of the ume (plums) and who do not when making onigiri with them. At Maido, we make sure to remove all the seeds, so it is easier for you to eat, plus they would take up much space if you do not remove them.

We have many types in stock. Introduced clockwise from top left are: low sodium shiso ume, king of ume, low sodium honey ume, Kishu's specially selected ume with 5% sodium, and Kishu's mellow honey ume with 8% sodium. Kishu is the region famous for ume.


Kombu Kelp Seaweed

Kombu kelp seaweed is a natural flavor enhancer with huge health benefits. It adds a savory umami taste to foods. Nutritionally, kombu contains iodine, which is important for thyroid function, iron, calcium, along with trace minerals. It also contains vitamins A & C. 3.5 oz./100 g of kombu contains fiber equivalent to two heads of lettuce.

Maruyanagi's maroyaka (mild) series sold at Maido is the best-selling kombu tsukudani in Japan, using the kombu from Hokkaido prefecture. Tsukudani is small seafood, meat or seaweed that has been simmered in soy sauce and mirin.

When making kombu rice balls, it would be better if you cut the kombu into smaller pieces. That way, you can scoop easier when putting in the onigiri, and eat easier later as well.

The shiso kombu on the left contains shiso seeds with a plump texture, the goma sesame kombu in the middle has the aroma of freshly roasted sesame seeds, and the komochi kombu (herring roe kombu) on the right is made with the herring that lay their eggs on the kombu. Maido's kombu rice balls are made with the sesame kombu type.


How to Make Onigiri

Here, we will simply show you how to make Maido's rice balls. We use molds and special nori seaweed for onigiri which is wrapped in plastic to keep the nori fresh and crispy until you eat it, but of course you can make them without those items as well. Please take a look at it as a reference and get some ideas. Ingredients (2 onigiri): 8 oz. of cooked rice (hot/very warm) 0.5 tsp of salt 2 tsp of filling Nori seaweed (1/3 of the full size) Onigiri molds (optional)

This is a set of onigiri molds we use at the restaurant and carry at the store.

We offer the onigiri sized nori seaweed. The product on the right is wrapped in plastic, just like the one we use at Maido.

Directions: 1. Mix cooked rice with salt. Mix the rice in a chopping motion so you do not mash the rice. Make sure to use the hot/very warm rice, otherwise the rice gets separated.

2. Put half of the rice in the bottom half in the bottom mold and make holes in the middle to put the filling. It is easier if you use a spoon to make holes.

3. Put the filling in the holes you made in step 2. If you spread it too much, the rice might not stick well, and the onigiri can be separated into two pieces.

4. Put the rest of the rice on top.

5. Press the rice with the top mold. You do not have to press very hard.

6. Flip the bottom mold and push down the rice balls on the edge of the nori seaweed.

7. Fold the nori seaweed into half to cover both sides of onigiri.

8. Fold the top side of nori seaweed along the sides of onigiri. Put it under the rice on the bottom side.

9. Flip the whole thing and fold the nori seaweed again, but put it on top this time.

10. Put a sticker or tape to hold the wrapper. Make another one and it's ready.


There is a lot of food items, housewares, stationery, and gifts available at the store and our online store, Maido! Kairashi Shop, where you can place your order for shipping or store pickup! Happy shopping. :)



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