Yaki Onigiri

by Tokyo Terrace on October 19, 2009

There are some foods in Japan that are so humble that the idea alone is a comfort. Sometimes a person just needs something uncomplicated in the midst of all the craziness we are faced with. Sometimes something as little as a change of plans or a trip on the sidewalk can make you lose sight of what really matters. Suddenly you feel the ground shaking beneath you and what was certain is no longer that. These feelings can happen in a split second and last as little as that or as long as what feels like forever. In times like this, you realize your soul needs a break from the drama. You need something to pull you out of the darkness and into the light. A soul needs patience. A soul needs love. And sometimes, a soul needs grilled sticky rice with soy sauce.

Yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls) is the kind of food that embodies all things simple. The combination of flavors and textures in these little rice gems is perfect. The soft sticky rice and the crisp, sweet outer crust created from the hot soy sauce is the ideal combination of sweet and salty. I have become fond of sprinkling some chopped green onions of chives on top of my yaki onigiri to help add a little freshness. It’s like putting on a warm scarf on a cold day. A new favorite comfort food of mine.

Yaki onigiri does not have to be grilled. I found this out because I wanted to make my own but do not own a grill that can be conveniently used for this purpose. Instead, I placed the onigiri (rice ball) in a baking pan brushed with soy sauce on all sides and put them in the oven at 375 degrees F (190 C) for 10 minutes, flipping half way through.

This has become a new favorite food of mine since moving to Japan and I hope you will give it a try. After all, don’t we all need a little sticky rice and soy sauce for our souls?

Recipe

Leftover cold sticky rice (you will need at least 1/2 cup, but the number of onigiri you make will depend on how much rice you have on hand)

Light soy sauce for brushing

chopped green onions or chives (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 F or 190 C.

Shape the sticky rice into triangle or circle shaped balls using your hands. They should fit comfortably in the palm of you hand and be tightly packed. If the rice is a little crumbly in spots, do not fear. As long as you are gentle and able to at least maintain the shape through the baking process you will be fine!

Once you have shaped the onigiri, brush all sides with soy sauce. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Enjoy!

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  • http://onefoodguy.blogspot.com/ Scott

    This sounds like a delicious snack, I wish I had one right now, I’m starving! What kind of rice do you use for sticky rice? I love sticky rice but don’t know what rice to use to make it at home.

  • http://onefoodguy.blogspot.com Scott

    This sounds like a delicious snack, I wish I had one right now, I’m starving! What kind of rice do you use for sticky rice? I love sticky rice but don’t know what rice to use to make it at home.

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com/ white on rice couple

    You hit the nail on the head, so true about yaki onigiri embodying all things simple. These are so delicious and starting a stay as simple as these awesome rice balls is the best. Wonderful write up and thanks for sharing all your amazing eats in Japan!

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com white on rice couple

    You hit the nail on the head, so true about yaki onigiri embodying all things simple. These are so delicious and starting a stay as simple as these awesome rice balls is the best. Wonderful write up and thanks for sharing all your amazing eats in Japan!

  • jenjenkay

    This is one of my most favorite snacks that I used to have after school!! To this day, if I see it on a menu at a japanese restaurant I will ALWAYS order it.

  • jenjenkay

    This is one of my most favorite snacks that I used to have after school!! To this day, if I see it on a menu at a japanese restaurant I will ALWAYS order it.

  • http://topsy.com/tb/bit.ly/4edPZO Twitter Trackbacks for Yaki Onigiri « Tokyo Terrace [tokyoterrace.com] on Topsy.com

    [...] Yaki Onigiri « Tokyo Terrace tokyoterrace.com/2009/10/19/yaki-onigiri – view page – cached There are some foods in Japan that are so humble that the idea alone is a comfort. Sometimes a person just needs something uncomplicated in the midst of all the craziness we are faced with. Sometimes… (Read more)There are some foods in Japan that are so humble that the idea alone is a comfort. Sometimes a person just needs something uncomplicated in the midst of all the craziness we are faced with. Sometimes something as little as a change of plans or a trip on the sidewalk can make you lose sight of what really matters. Suddenly you feel the ground shaking beneath you and what was certain is no longer that. These feelings can happen in a split second and last as little as that or as long as what feels like forever. In times like this, you realize your soul needs a break from the drama. You need something to pull you out of the darkness and into the light. A soul needs patience. A soul needs love. And sometimes, a soul needs grilled sticky rice with soy sauce. (Read less) — From the page [...]

  • http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/ Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    What a great dish! Sometimes simple really is best!

  • http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    What a great dish! Sometimes simple really is best!

  • Jan

    This was a most refreshing post. Love the blue and white polka dots. Love the very thought provoking preamble. And, what a great idea for leftover sticky rice. This is something I can make without a shopping list. Excellent!

  • Jan

    This was a most refreshing post. Love the blue and white polka dots. Love the very thought provoking preamble. And, what a great idea for leftover sticky rice. This is something I can make without a shopping list. Excellent!

  • http://www.sense-serendipity.blogspot.com/ Divina

    This looks great. I love the simple and easy dishes you make but they have the wow factor when you present it. Waiting for the okonomiyaki soon.

  • http://www.sense-serendipity.blogspot.com Divina

    This looks great. I love the simple and easy dishes you make but they have the wow factor when you present it. Waiting for the okonomiyaki soon.

  • http://zwischengang.blogspot.com/ Anja

    I love this idea to work with leftover rice. It sounds really like a yummy snack, or also as a side dish… thanks for sharing.

  • http://zwischengang.blogspot.com/ Anja

    I love this idea to work with leftover rice. It sounds really like a yummy snack, or also as a side dish… thanks for sharing.

  • Mary Blanchard

    I just finished dinner, but I wish I had one of these right now. I’m going to try it.

  • Mary Blanchard

    I just finished dinner, but I wish I had one of these right now. I’m going to try it.

  • http://www.bouchonfor2.com/ Mel @ bouchonfor2.com

    That looks really satisfying :) Adorable photos!!

  • http://www.bouchonfor2.com Mel @ bouchonfor2.com

    That looks really satisfying :) Adorable photos!!

  • http://www.deishawcross.com/ Debi(TableTalk)

    A simple little snack, but just right when you are cravig a little umami bite. Your pictures are so well done. I love the glass in your last cocktail post.

  • http://www.deishawcross.com Debi(TableTalk)

    A simple little snack, but just right when you are cravig a little umami bite. Your pictures are so well done. I love the glass in your last cocktail post.

  • http://thescootabaker.blogspot.com/ The Scootabaker

    Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I forgot about these. I used to eat these ALL the time when I lived in New York. It seems the Japanese in LA is much different than the Japanese in NY. But I’m gonna guess the Japanese in Japan is just a bit better. Just guessing of course.

    luv
    heather

    PS Love is the ultimate stress reliever!

  • http://thescootabaker.blogspot.com The Scootabaker

    Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I forgot about these. I used to eat these ALL the time when I lived in New York. It seems the Japanese in LA is much different than the Japanese in NY. But I’m gonna guess the Japanese in Japan is just a bit better. Just guessing of course.

    luv
    heather

    PS Love is the ultimate stress reliever!

  • tokyoterrace

    Hi Scott: If you can find Japanese glutenous rice, which should be available at Asian markets I believe, you will be good to go!

  • tokyoterrace

    Hi Scott: If you can find Japanese glutenous rice, which should be available at Asian markets I believe, you will be good to go!

  • tokyoterrace

    whiteonricecouple: Thanks so much for your comment- glad someone else out there understands the magic of such simple foods!

  • tokyoterrace

    jenjenkay: I can imagine how wonderful it would be to come home to a snack like this!

  • tokyoterrace

    whiteonricecouple: Thanks so much for your comment- glad someone else out there understands the magic of such simple foods!

  • tokyoterrace

    jenjenkay: I can imagine how wonderful it would be to come home to a snack like this!

  • tokyoterrace

    eatlivetravelwrite: Simple can be so refreshing…sometimes it just helps you take a step back.

  • tokyoterrace

    Jan: Thanks! Glad you like the polka dots- I think they are cheery :)

  • tokyoterrace

    Divina: Okonomiyaki will come…don’t you worry!

  • tokyoterrace

    eatlivetravelwrite: Simple can be so refreshing…sometimes it just helps you take a step back.

  • tokyoterrace

    Jan: Thanks! Glad you like the polka dots- I think they are cheery :)

  • tokyoterrace

    Divina: Okonomiyaki will come…don’t you worry!

  • tokyoterrace

    Anja: Thank you for stopping by! It is a great way to use leftover rice- something I usually struggle with especially with sticky rice.

  • tokyoterrace

    Mary: I hope you like them!!

  • tokyoterrace

    Anja: Thank you for stopping by! It is a great way to use leftover rice- something I usually struggle with especially with sticky rice.

  • tokyoterrace

    Mary: I hope you like them!!

  • tokyoterrace

    bouchonfor2: Thank you!

  • tokyoterrace

    Debi: Thanks so much! These are the perfect packages of umami-excellent descriptor!

  • tokyoterrace

    bouchonfor2: Thank you!

  • tokyoterrace

    Debi: Thanks so much! These are the perfect packages of umami-excellent descriptor!

  • tokyoterrace

    Heather: Hopefully now you can make your own! They are so yummy… And yeah, the Japanese in Japan is pretty decent ;)

  • tokyoterrace

    Heather: Hopefully now you can make your own! They are so yummy… And yeah, the Japanese in Japan is pretty decent ;)

  • http://www.bellalimento.com/ Paula – bell’alimento

    Rachael YUM! I’m so going to give these a try. I’ve been getting back to the “basics” myself lately. Simple is oh so satisfying. Amazing fotos girl! Baci!

  • http://www.bellalimento.com Paula – bell’alimento

    Rachael YUM! I’m so going to give these a try. I’ve been getting back to the “basics” myself lately. Simple is oh so satisfying. Amazing fotos girl! Baci!

  • http://wasabiprime.blogspot.com/ wasabi prime

    Yum to the tenth power! Salty/sweet sticky rice — yes, I totally agree with finding the true meaning of comfort food. I just got back from spending time with family. It’s difficult to leave them and not take the loneliness back as an unwanted souvenir. My boyfriend and I live in Washington, and we have the luxury of so many options to choose from for food, but I always have to make a pot of miso soup after seeing family. So basic, but it’s the simple things that keep us anchored sometimes.

  • http://wasabiprime.blogspot.com wasabi prime

    Yum to the tenth power! Salty/sweet sticky rice — yes, I totally agree with finding the true meaning of comfort food. I just got back from spending time with family. It’s difficult to leave them and not take the loneliness back as an unwanted souvenir. My boyfriend and I live in Washington, and we have the luxury of so many options to choose from for food, but I always have to make a pot of miso soup after seeing family. So basic, but it’s the simple things that keep us anchored sometimes.

  • http://www.eleanorhoh.com/ Eleanor Hoh (Wokstar)

    Rachel, I want to try making this. My Movie Club buddy brought rice balls for an appetizer and we wolfed them down. I have a few in my freezer, seeing this makes me want to warm them up! Agree, simple is best.

  • http://www.eleanorhoh.com Eleanor Hoh (Wokstar)

    Rachel, I want to try making this. My Movie Club buddy brought rice balls for an appetizer and we wolfed them down. I have a few in my freezer, seeing this makes me want to warm them up! Agree, simple is best.

  • http://www.kawaiikakkoiisugoi.com/2012/09/12/rilakkuma-onigiri-yaki-onigiri/ Rilakkuma Onigiri. Yaki Onigiri. | Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi

    [...] a great recipe if you wanna try [...]

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