Onigiri, a.k.a. balls of seasoned rice with stuff inside, are really great to make when you desperately crave sushi and you a.) want to be cheap and make your own food and b.) are too lazy to make full blow sushi. Not that onigiri are that lazy, really, as there’s still preparation to them, but the process is shorter then sushi. Plus, you use less dishes, meaning less cleanup time.
So first you need to make your pot of rice, and season it appropriately with rice vinegar and sugar. You also need ingredients to go inside your onigiri. Well, it’s not technically *required*, but who doesn’t like exciting fillings? Pretty much anything that goes well in a sushi roll works inside onigiri as well. My preference is for squishier ingredients, as it makes it easier to form the ball. I made some tamago (japanese egg omelet), not having to worry about it being a pretty shape or anything as I was just going to hack it up to stuff inside some rice anyhow.
You form a little cup of rice in the palm of your hand, shove the filling into the hole, and then mold the rice over the whole and form with your hand so you have a nice compact rice ball. I’ve seen sphere shapes as well as more triangular shapes, pretty much anything that’s not gonna fall apart on you will work I’m sure.
You can take a small piece of nori, wet it, and form it around part of the onigiri ball. This gives you a means of holding it while eating it without getting your hands all sticky with rice. If you can get ahold of some furikake, or Japanese rice topping, it’s great both for flavor and aesthetics on onigiri. You can sprinkle it on top or roll it into the rice itself. Incidentally, if you ever have leftover rice you don’t know what to do with, just dump some furikake on it and it’s Instant Delicious.
If you have any spare nori, I recommend cutting out shapes and faces to make the onigiri as cute as possible. I appreciate the Japanese ideal of putting faces on everything that you eat, it makes life more exciting. The onigiri above are my pretty basic attempt at make cute food with faces (the exacto knife was being less cooperative then I would have liked on the nori). There, are, however, plenty who’ve succeeded in onigiri cuteness where I have only achieved cuteness mediocrity. Alas, it just means I’ll have to try making more!