Quick and easy lunch idea that’s a great alternative to sandwiches. These rice balls could be stuffed with a variety of fillings. Today, we’ll be using salmon, which can either be from a can or seared in only a few minutes. Even with searing up salmon, you can have a delicious meal in less than 20 minutes!
What is Onigiri?
Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball, shaped in a triangle or cylinder and usually includes various fillings. It can also often be wrapped in roasted seaweed. Yaki onigiri is grilled so you have crisp and toasty rice, which adds another dimension of flavor!
One of the biggest differences between onigiri and sushi is that onigiri made is made with plain rice, while sushi rice is seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar.
Tips for Making the Best Yaki Onigiri Recipe
- Using a Mold:
- To save time and get perfectly shaped yaki onigiri EVERY TIME, you can use an onigiri mold. They also help make the rice and filling compact so they don’t fall apart while grilling. I got my onigiri mold from Amazon and it's SO worth it since it's only $6 - I highly recommend it! For best results, make sure your rice and filling are really packed in!
- By Hand:
- If you decide to put together your salmon onigiri by hand, first rub your hands in salt water before shaping them. Two things happen when you do this. First, the water prevents the rice from sticking. Secondly, the salt adds an additional layer of seasoning while also helping preserve the onigiri for even longer! This method definitely takes practice, so patience is key!
- Using a Mold:
- The difference between regular onigiri and yaki onigiri is the grilling. While both are delicious, I love the taste of toasted rice and think it’s worth the extra effort if you have a couple of minutes to spare! Brush on a light layer of soy sauce on the rice while cooking and you have an umami bomb! SO. GOOD. Since the grilled rice balls are delicate, remember to flip them over gently in the pan to prevent breakage.
- You can make this yaki onigiri recipe up to two days in advance. Simply wrap the onigiri individually in plastic wrap, then cover with a damp kitchen towel. This helps prevent the rice from getting too hard in the fridge. Enjoy!
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Salmon Yaki Onigiri Recipe
- In a medium-sized bowl, gently combine salmon flakes, Japanese mayo, and soy sauce. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the rice and furikake.
- In the onigiri mold, place 2 tablespoons of furikake rice on the bottom. Then, add in 1 ½ tablespoon of the creamy salmon filling, then top with 2 more tablespoons of furikake rice. (Note that the amount of rice and filling depends on the size of the mold. For best results, make sure your rice & filling are really packed in!) Put the top of the mold on top and press down for 3 - 5 seconds to make rice tightly packed. Press the back of the mold to release the onigiri.
- Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Place the onigiri onto the dry skillet, then brush little soy sauce on both side sides. Flip the onigiri slowly and gently so the rice doesn’t fall apart. You will know when the onigiri is ready to flip when the rice releases from the pan easily and is lightly toasted.
- Protein: This recipe uses cooked salmon, but you could swap it out with canned tuna too.
- Rice: The best type of rice to use is short or medium-grain white rice. Japanese short-grain rice (also called sushi rice) is traditionally used, but any short or medium-grain rice will do! Long-grain or brown rice tends not to be sticky enough.
- Furikake: Furikake typically has seaweed and sesame seeds, but there are various flavors you can try!
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and provided for informational purposes. Nutrition may vary based on product availability, methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients, etc. For the most accurate nutritional information, use your preferred nutrition calculator, actual ingredients, and quantities used for the recipe. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian if more precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.