In this recipe, you'll learn how to make Tuna Mayo Onigiri, which are the perfect portable snacks. These Japanese rice balls have so many different fillings and flavors variations, but we are sharing our favorite one.
These remind us of our University days as we would often eat them, courtesy to Alvin's mom! We also ate them a ton when we went to Japan back in 2015. We loved to discover all the different flavors they had in their combini!
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What is Onigiri (おにぎり)
Also known as nigirimeshi (握り飯) and omusubi (お結び), these Japanese rice balls are usually triangle-shaped and wrapped in nori, an edible seaweed. It can be topped with seasonings, such as Furikake, or stuffed with fillings, or both.
Onigiris are the perfect to-go snacks as they are so easy to pack and are meant to be eaten at room temperature. You don't need to heat it up, you don't even need to put it in a container! You just have to cover tightly in a plastic wrap.
Looking for more Japanese-inspired snacks?
How to make Onigiris
We provided below a step-by-step on how to make the rice balls with tuna mayo filling inside. It's a pretty straightforward and easy process. You just have to ensure that you press the rice into a ball very firmly but gently, since you don't want the filling to come out.
- Place rice on plastic wrap.
- Place filling in the middle.
- Cover with more rice.
- Close the wrap and shape into a ball.
- Gently shape into a triangle.
Tips for Success
- Use fresh warm rice. This will ensure that the rice sticks together and it will be easier to shape it into a triangle.
- Wet your hands. By making your hands wet, it will prevent the rice to stick to your hands.
- Use a mold. To make them perfect every time, use a mold. This will also make it easier to compact the rice together, but don't press it too tight! We didn't use one, but it would've definitely helped!
- Wrap your onigiri with seaweed only when you are ready to eat it. That way, your nori will stay fresh and crispy!
Tuna Mayo Filling
There are many ways you can make your filling, but our favorite is tuna mayonnaise! This recipe might not be authentic but it is pretty close to the real thing and it's our interpretation of the dish.
We also put in some wasabi in the recipe for some kick to it. The amount of wasabi we added is according to our preferences. You can definitely adjust it to your own liking and level of spiciness that you are comfortable with. Or you can just omit it, it's up to you!
We used Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise in our recipe, but you substitute by regular mayonnaise for this dish. However, it should be quite easy to find it in your local Asian grocery store. You can also find it here.
Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi (dried bonito), kombu (dried kelp), tarako (sald cod roe), mentaiko (seasoned cod roe), takanazuke (pickled leaf mustard) or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative.
In modern days, people have become more creative with the type of fillings. I've seen kimchi, shrimp tempura, chicken karaage and so on! They are also the perfect opportunity to hide your leftovers in the rice balls.
Onigiri uses plain rice, whereas Sushi uses rice mixed with vinegar, sugar and salt.
While it is better to use Japanese rice, it is still possible to make it with your regular long-grained white rice. Note that it will might changed the texture.
Yes! Ensure to tightly cover them in plastic wrap and that there is no air bubbles. To eat them the next day, allow them to warm up to room temperature and add your seaweed when you're ready to eat them.
For this recipe, you will need Japanese white rice, canned tuna, Japanese mayonnaise, wasabi, nori, and your favourite Japanese rice seasoning, or Furikake
Make your filling
In a mixing bowl, mash the canned tuna into small pieces. Mix in the Japanese mayonnaise and wasabi. Combine well and set aside.
Assemble and Shape
Place a plastic wrap on a table and place about 2/3 cup of rice on the wrap, spread in the middle forming a rice bed.
Add 1 to 1/2 tbsp of the filling into the middle of the rice bed and add another 1/3 cup of rice on top, completely covering the mixture.
Lift the edges of the plastic wrap towards the middle while gently forming a rice ball and closing the plastic wrap. Gently form rice ball into a triangle. Take off the plastic and set onigiri balls aside.
Cut nori sheets into 2 x 7 inch strips. Wrap each tuna mayo onigiri with a nori strip and sprinkle with some Furikake or Japanese seasoning.
- 3 cups steamed white rice
- 1/2 can of tuna about 70g of canned tuna
- 5-7 tsp japanese mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp wasabi
- 3 strips nori seaweed cut into 2 x 7 inch
- 2 tsp furikake or japanese seasoning optional
- In a mixing bowl, mash the canned tuna into small pieces. Mix in the Japanese mayonnaise and wasabi. Combine well and set aside.
- Place a plastic wrap on a table and place about 2/3 cup of rice on the wrap, spread in the middle forming a rice bed.
- Add 1 to 1/2 tbsp of the tuna mayo mixture into the middle of the rice bed and add another 1/3 cup of rice on top, completely covering the tuna mayo mixture.
- Lift the edges of the plastic wrap towards the middle while gently forming a rice ball and closing the plastic wrap. Gently form rice ball into a triangle. Take off the plastic wrap and set onigiri balls aside.
- Cut nori sheets into 2 x 7 in strips. Wrap each onigiri with a nori strip and sprinkle with some Furikake or Japanese seasoning.