Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Onigiri 101

Food is one thing we all have in common, we all need to eat, and it brings us together in lots of different ways.

I think one of the best ways is sharing--sharing our food and sharing what we know about it.

It's one of the things I really enjoy doing.

Two of my friend Gail's grandchildren love rice.

So does her daughter.

Whenever I make onigiri or spam musubi and take them to Gail's house, they are devoured by the kids.

The way I know the meaning of onigiri and musubi, they are interchangeable, they both mean 'pressed rice' or rice ball in Japanese.

I wrote a little about them when I made Onigiri with Salmon and Edamame.

I asked Gail if the kids might like to learn how to make onigiri and have a little lesson, Onigiri 101.

She said, "Yes!"

This is Gail's granddaughter, Sophia.

Sophia loves rice.

She likes nori and furikake too.

She also loves watching cooking shows on television, so it was only natural that we have a little cooking lesson on how to make onigiri--AND turn it into an opportunity for Sophia to be the star of her own cooking video!

This is Madison.

Her mother Christine and Sophia's mother Ceci are friends.

Madison and Christine joined us for the cooking lesson.

Both girls have beautiful smiles, don't they!

To make onigiri, you'll need short or medium grain rice, water and salt.

Instructions for cooking rice are at the end of the post.

Here's Sophia, future cooking show star, showing us how to make onigiri.

And here's Madi showing off the onigiri she made with a little bit of furikake nori on top.

Start with making round onigiri, they're the easiest and sure-fire success!


Sophia made a spam musubi and started eating it right away!

She used the half-sized musubi-maker, perfect for 1 piece of sliced, fried Spam, wrapped in half a piece of sushi nori.

This is Christine using a large musubi maker.

You can get them at Nijiya or Marukai markets, Amazon has them too.

Here's Ceci working on her first Spam musubi.

Ceci graciously consented to demonstrate the making of spam musubi on video.

It's her first time making them and she did a great job!

Ceci has a big personality.


She's bold, energetic and animated.

On video, she's almost...shy.

I loved seeing this other side of her!

After the cooking lesson was over, the kids headed for the pool.

This is Colin, Madi's brother.

And this is Dean, Sophia's brother.

He loves rice too.

Today, Dean loved the water more.

He'd rather swim than make onigiri.

Can't say that I blame him.

I'll bet that water feels so good!

He's going to show us a cannonball.

What a splash!

Grandpa Ramiro was outside watching the swimmers with Tacho.

Tacho is a chihuahua mix Gail rescued.


You can't see Abby.

Abby is a pomeranian mix that Gail also rescued.

Lucky Dogs!


To make plain rice onigiri you'll need:

2 cups of short or medium grain rice
2 1/2 cups of water

The first thing you do is wash the rice by putting it in a bowl or sieve and rinsing it under running water, using your hand to mix the rice around while rinsing.

When the water runs clear, empty all the water from the bowl and let the rice sit for a few minutes.

If you like drier, firmer rice, measure 2 cups of water to 2 cups of rice, a 1 to 1 ratio.

I like the rice a little softer, so I use 1 1/4 cups of water per cup of rice, so 2 1/2 cups of water for onigiri.

If you're using a rice cooker, put the rice and water into the pan and cook, making sure the outside of the pan is not wet before you put it into the rice cooker.

If you're cooking rice on top of the stove, put the rice and water in a large pot, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to lowest setting and cook for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Let the rice steam for 10 - 15 more minutes without lifting up the lid on the pot.

After the rice has steamed, remove the lid and mix the rice by using a folding motion rather than a stirring motion so the grains of rice don't get smashed.

Let the rice cool before making onigiri.

Note: 2 cups of rice makes enough for about 6 people--if you're making onigiri, be sure to have plenty of rice to practice with. I made 4 cups of rice for our cooking lesson for 4 people--making onigiri and spam musubi.

To start making the onigiri, have a small bowl of water nearby to wet your hands so the rice doesn't stick to them.

Wet your hands and sprinkle a little bit of salt on one of them, then rub your hands together.

Kids will use about a 1/4 cup rice for an onigiri or less. I put some rice on a plastic placemat, had them cup their hand over a bit of rice and had them use that amount, and press the rice together using both hands, cupping them over each other.

Sprinkle a little furikake nori over the top or serve with a 1/4 sheet of nori (toasted seaweed sheets) wrapped around the onigiri.


  1. Yay!!!! I love it. But now I want some! Lol! Thank you so much for this.

  2. Great job, girls! Looks like you all fun. : )

  3. My neices are amazing. Sophia..what a personality, not to mention gorgeous and sweet too! Bobby loves Spam Musubi too, Karolyn used to make it for him every year on New Year's Eve.