35 Onigiri (Rice Balls)


  • 3 cups U.S.A short grain white sushi rice
  • 4.5 cups cold water (if using rice cooker)
  • 5 cups cold water (if using stove top)

Ingredients for Fillings

  • 48 g canned tuna (drained)
  • 1.5 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 0.5 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 cups button and white mushrooms (can substitute with any mushroom)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp bonito flakes
  • 1/4 sheet of nori (finely cut like confetti)

Ingredients for Onigiri Coating

  • 2 large savoy cabbage leaves (135 g)
  • 5 radicchio leaves
  • 30 g toasted sesame seeds
  • 30 g toasted black sesame seeds + 4 g to use in homemade furikake mix
  • 30 g toasted perilla seeds
  • 5 coriander leaves
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp of light oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp bonito flakes
  • 1/4 sheet of nori (cut in thin strips)

Ingredients for Assembly of Onigiri

  • bowl of cold water (for dipping hands when handling rice balls)
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt


  1. For best results, use U.S.A short grained sushi white rice. Wash rice gently in circular motions (to prevent breakage) under cold running water. Rice is clean when water runs clear. Drain excess water.
  2. For stove top: Bring pot filled with 5 cups of water to a boil, add wet/washed rice and bring back to a boil then simmer for 15-17 minutes. Turn off heat. Let rest without removing lid for 2 minutes.
  3. If using a Rice cooker, follow the manufacturer instructions. Lightly fold cooked rice to cool and set aside (avoid handling too much to keep grain shape intact).

Directions for Fillings

Get creative with the fillings – you can use umeboshi (salted preserved Japanese plum) or seasonal vegetables. Any filling that packs a flavourful punch and is a bit on the saltier side works well to balance out the rice. Here are some Japanese-inspired fillings that are popular.

  1. Spicy Tuna
    Combine drained canned tuna with mayonnaise and Sriracha and mix well. Ensure mixture is not too wet to prevent rice from getting soggy.
  2. Mushroom Mix
    Place savoy cabbage and mushrooms in steamer (removing mushrooms after 1.5 minutes and cabbage after 3 minutes) and set aside to cool. Put cabbage away until ready to assemble rice balls. Push steamed mushrooms through a sieve until all excess water is drained. Mince mushrooms. Mix mushrooms with the soy sauce and bonito flakes.

Directions for Preparing Onigiri Coatings

  1. Homemade Furikake (Savoury Confetti)
    Beat egg until colour is uniformly golden yellow, adding a pinch of salt. Turn stove on low heat and place nonstick skillet (oiled lightly using a paper towel to spread evenly). Pour beaten egg onto pan and swirl pan to keep consistency even. Remove after 1.5 minutes and let cool. Mince egg into confetti-sized pieces. Mix minced egg, 4 grams (half tsp) of black sesame seeds and 1 tbsp of bonito flakes.
  2. Savoy cabbage
    Retrieve cooled cabbage leaves (see Mushroom Mix instructions for steaming details). Remove the hard part (veins) of each leaf with a sharp paring knife. Cut leaf into sheets approximately 4×4 inches (will be covering rice balls entirely).
  3. Radicchio
    Wash, pat dry and remove the hard part (veins) of each leaf with a sharp paring knife. Cut into sheets approximately 4×4 inches (will be covering rice balls entirely).
  4. Toasted Black Sesame Seeds, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Toasted Perilla Seeds
    Place each type of seed in separate small condiment bowls with enough space to roll rice balls around in.
  5. Coriander Leaf
    Select individual leaves with nice silhouettes. Remove stem, wash and pat dry.

Directions for Filling and Shaping Onigiri (Rice Balls)

  1. Wet hands slightly then rub coarse salt between hands, then shake off excess.
  2. Gently spread 45-50 g of cooked rice in palm of hand.
  3. Add dollop of filling and close palm, gently shaping into a ball (similar to making a stuffed meatball). Avoid over-handling in order to maintain integrity of rice texture.
  4. If covering with savoy cabbage or radicchio, gently wrap around entirety of ball slightly folding at base to keep spherical shape.
  5. For toasted seeds, roll around in bowl containing seed of choice and remove with spoon.
  6. For rice balls being decorated with coriander leaf, place leaf in middle pressing gently until it adheres.