Let me introduce you to the 15-minute recipe to make when you're crazy spicy food ASAP! This filling seaweed sandwich is spicy, crunchy, and filling. It’s an EXPLOSION of textures and flavors in every bite!
What is Onigirazu?
Onigirazu is a Japanese “rice ball” that’s in the shape of a square, instead of the traditional triangle or round shape. This makes it SUPER easy to put together compared to other Onigiris that may take more practice (aka it’s beginner-friendly!).
You can also pack in much more filling compared to other rice balls since you have much more surface area. This is the perfect meal to make when you’re tight on time or don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen!
What You Need
This seaweed sandwich is simple, but don’t worry, flavor and texture are not sacrificed!
Even my husband who’s a hardcore carnivore preferred this spicy veggie-packed Onigirazu over other protein dishes I served for dinner that night. He LOVED it and I was shocked!
The secret is in the sauce! You only need 5 simple ingredients to create a bold and zesty sauce that brings this Onigirazu to life!
To build your Spicy Veggie Onigirazu, you’ll need:
- Nori sheets
- Cooked Japanese short-grain rice
- Veggies: Cucumbers, baby spinach, carrots, & avocado
- Gochujang Sauce: Gochujang, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, water
Tips for Building This Ongirazu Recipe
- Getting a Beautiful Ongiriazu Every Time: If you want to see the beautiful layers once you cut your Onigirazu open, lay our veggie pointing in the same direction. Make note of which direction they’re pointing and once the rice ball is sealed, cut the seaweed sandwich in the opposite direction.
- The Best Tool for this Recipe: Don’t underestimate the importance of plastic wrap for this recipe. It keeps the Ongirazu tightly bound, making it easier to cut and eat.
- Key Shape for Easy Folding: As you layer on your rice and fillings, try to keep everything in the shape of a square. This will make it easier to fold later!
- Avoid Sticky Fingers: It’s no secret that rice is sticky. You can avoid the rice sticking to your fingers by wetting them with a little water. Voila!
Customize Your Onigirazu
You’re the master chef at home, so don’t be afraid to customize this Onigirazu recipe to your tastebuds!
Add in your favorite veggies or repurpose leftovers in the fridge for a deliciously filling lunch! Need protein in your seaweed sandwich? Don’t be shy to add it in!
Here are a few variation ideas:
- Veggies: Kimchi, purple cabbage, pickled onions, lettuce, red bell peppers
- Protein: Canned tuna, salmon roe, bulgogi, grilled meat, eggs, Spam
- Condiments: Japanese mayo, Goma (sesame) dressing, Tonkatsu sauce
If you love this, make sure to check out the Creamy Sesame Tuna Onigirazu recipe too!
Let's Get Cooking!
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Spicy Veggie Onigirazu
- 2 Nori sheet
- 1 cup cooked Japanese short-grain rice
- ½ cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- ½ carrot thinly julienned
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Bring a small saucepot with water to a boil. Blanch baby spinach by cooking the spinach in boiling water, then once they’re soft, remove them and run under cold water. Squeeze as much excess water from the spinach, then set aside.
- Assemble the Onigirazu by laying a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean dry surface. The plastic wrap will help make the Onigirazu easier to cut and eat by holding everything together. Then, lay a nori sheet on top of the plastic wrap shiny side down, with one cover facing you.
- Wet your hands with water to prevent sticking then gently lay ¼ cup of cooked rice in the center of the nori sheet in the shape of a square. Pour about 1 ½ tablespoons of gochujang sauce on top of the rice, being careful not to spill on the nori. I find pouring it directly in my Onigirazu easier to eat on the go, but you can also serve it on the side and pour it onto your seaweed sandwich as you eat.
- Then layer on some of the cucumber, baby spinach, carrot, sliced avocado, and finally another ¼ cup of cooked rice. The top layer of rice is the glue to keep the Onigirazu sealed. Keep all layers in a square shape.
- Seal the Onigirazu by gently folding each corner of the nori sheet to the center. Make sure the nori and fillings are tightly snug (without ripping the nori). This will make it easier to eat. Wrap the Onigirazu with plastic wrap. Again, you want to make sure the Onigirazu is tightly wrapped to keep its square shape. Repeat the process for the remaining Onigirazu.
- Once you’re ready to eat, you can cut it in half and enjoy!
- Rice: Japanese short-grain rice is stickier than long-grain rice and is typically labeled sushi or sweet rice. It can be easily found at local Asian and Japanese markets or online.
- Vegetables: Feel free to swap out or add in any of your favorite veggies! It's a great way to clear your fridge with any vegetables hanging out in the back.
Exact calculations may vary. 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.