This is the continuation of my attempt to video blog, or vlogging!  In my previous life, or should I say my life before kids, I did a lot of T.V. and video work.  So, I’m trying to dig up those skills and the hope is to share a little bit of Asian culture. not only to the next generation of Asians in the States, but to anyone who has interest!  This is Part III on our four part video series on Japanese rice:  What to Put Inside an Onigiri- Rice Ball.

A rice ball can be just plain rice.  Traditionally, it had a bit of salt and an umeboshi in the middle.  The umeboshi is a salted plum, and back when we were kids they were very salty!  Today, they have evolved with the Japanese palate, and new umeboshi recipes include honey and sugar, while decreasing the salt content.  This creates a more savory umeboshi rather than the traditional salty plum. Regardless, it still makes a great compliment to rice. 

 The fillings in the video include dried fish shavings called katsuobushi, which is really the stock base for many traditional Japanese dishes.  If you live near a Japanese supermarket, the photo above is what it looks like.  Katsuobushi also comes loose in larger bags, but I find the little individual packets convenient and it stays fresh.  Usually you may find that one package contains about ten small packets. 

We also include ingredients that are readily available in the U.S.  such as, cocktail sausages, shiitake mushrooms, and chicken tenders.  It’s not too clear in the video so here is the recipe for the soy sauce chicken tenders and they can be used for the shiitake mushrooms as well. 

What to Put Inside an Onigiri - Rice Ball
Recipe type: Onigiri filling
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Typical soy sauce Japanese flavoring
  • 3 chicken tenders chopped into bite size pieces or 6 - 10 dried reconstituted shiitake mushrooms chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sake, Japanese rice wine
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin, Sweet Japanese rice wine
  1. Heat frying pan, then all oil
  2. cook with the chicken or mushrooms, which ever you are using
  3. add the soy sauce, sake and mirin
  4. cook until all liquid has evaporated
If you like your filling sweet, you may add sugar.

There are really no rules on what you can put in a rice ball, so go ahead and try something original!  And do please share with the rest of us here on the comments!

For those who want to view the other videos here are Part I:  How to Cook Rice in a Frying Pan and Part II:  How to Make an Onigiri – Japanese Rice Ball


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