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Posted on Feb 15, 2007 in Bento, Fish or Seafood, For Kids, Freezing, Lactose Free, Onigiri or Sushi, Parent Hacks, Recipe, Rice, Tips, Tofu, Tutorial or How-to | 90 comments

Speed bento technique: making & freezing yaki onigiri, onigiri

Speed bento technique: making & freezing yaki onigiri, onigiri

This is another speed bento made with previously frozen yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls) that I defrosted/warmed in the microwave for good texture). The yaki onigiri worked out surprisingly well — I don’t usually have fresh rice hanging around the house, so this’ll be another time saver on mornings when I suddenly feel like rice. The homemade ma po tofu, store-bought Korean octopus panchan, steamed kabocha and juice jello cup were all leftovers, so it only took about 5 minutes to assemble this bento in the morning.

 

Speedy yaki onigiri lunch お弁当

Yaki onigiri freeze extremely well, retaining their shape and flavor when packed in bento lunches and eaten at room temperature (important: reheat in the microwave before packing). Yaki onigiri are classic izakaya (pub) or bento food — very nostalgic for us. I’m lucky my husband didn’t eat all of them when I was making them!

First I made rice balls with triangular onigiri molds, then lightly firmed them up with my salted, wet hands for a flavor boost. Using molds is optional, of course — you could form them freehand if you like. In Japan, I usually saw yaki onigiri without stuffing or nori wrapping, but make them however you like best. You can grill them on an indoor fish grill (shown here), a grilling rack placed directly on a gas burner, an outside gas or charcoal grill, inside grill pan, etc. (EDIT: you can also make them over low heat in a nonstick frying pan lightly oiled with vegetable oil.) First heat the grill to medium heat, place the onigiri on the grill, and don’t move them at all for several minutes. Gently turn it over once the bottom is lightly browned as shown here. Grill the bottom half until browned, then turn down the heat to low.

 

Making yaki onigiri #1 (grilled rice balls)

With the heat now reduced to low, lightly brush the browned top with soy sauce and turn it over so that it heats through. Brush the other browned side with soy sauce, and turn it over again so that both sides have been grilled twice: once plain, and once with soy sauce. If you like, you can also brush the sides with soy sauce and grill those as well. The onigiri should now have a crisp outside crust.

 

Making yaki onigiri #2 (grilled rice balls)

It’s now ready to eat, pack in your lunch, or freeze. To freeze, first wrap each individual onigiri in plastic wrap, freeze, then put them all in a freezer bag for longer-term storage (sucking the air out of the bag with a straw — think of do-it-yourself FoodSaver vacuum-packing). To use a frozen yaki onigiri, it’s important to reheat it first in the microwave before packing (on Cook until it’s warm), otherwise the texture of the soft rice inside will be nasty. The crunchy exterior softens in the freezing/reheating, but otherwise tastes the same as when it’s fresh.

 

Frozen yaki onigiri for bento lunches

My son had a similar bento today, but with pre-frozen onigiri rolled in sakura denbu (sweet, colored fish flakes) and red hana ebi (savory, colored fish powder).

 

Speedy onigiri lunch for toddler お弁当

Surprisingly, you can actually prepare onigiri in advance and stash them in the freezer. No, seriously, you can — it’s in Japanese-language bento books and I saw people do it when I lived in Japan. The trick is to use very fresh rice (that’s moist and hasn’t been sitting in the rice cooker for hours), wrap each onigiri individually before freezing, and after you take them out of the freezer be sure to heat them in the microwave until they’re warm and soft again. If you thaw them on the counter or in the refrigerator the texture will be hard and nasty, so the microwave step is very important. (EDIT: If you’re concerned about microwaving food wrapped with plastic wrap, unwrap the frozen rice, place it in a bowl, then cover the bowl with a lid, microwave-safe cover or plastic wrap that doesn’t touch the surface of the food. Then microwave until warm.)

In this photo I put all of the freshly wrapped, warm onigiri (shaped in molds) on a metal pie plate to speed freezing.

 

Freezing onigiri for bento lunches

After freezing, I put them in a labelled freezer bag and sucked all of the air out of the bag with a straw before sealing (like do-it-yourself FoodSaver vacuum packing). This helps ward off freezer burn.

 

Frozen onigiri for bento lunches

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  1. Will it be all right to freeze stuffed onigiri? I’m thinking tuna and kewpie, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and fake kani, mayo and mango. I’m stoked to get home and try it; one of the reasons why I can’t have onigiri as often as I like is because it takes too much time in the mornings…

  2. hello SUPER MOM!

  3. I’m totally wanting to make onigiri now! :O

  4. It’d be fine as long as the individual fillings are freezer-friendly. Don’t freeze cream cheese, though — it ruins the texture and makes it all weird. Yuck.

  5. Go for it!

  6. :-) Hee hee!

  7. It’s been ages since I’ve had yaki-onigiri – I really miss them and your post made me wanna make some myself! I’m getting better of cooking bento food for freezing, that’s so neat when I’m short of time.

    Is that real octopus by the way?

  8. Yes, I’ve been meaning to get more organized with bento prep as well — I’m totally inspired by my bento cookbooks.

    That is real octopus in the bento, BTW — this big Korean supermarket in South San Francisco has a big salad-bar setup of assorted panchan. They were out of my favorite this time, though (the little tiny sweet chili crabs).

  9. Good thing to know, I’ve never tried freezing cream cheese. Sucks for me onigiri-wise though, looks like I’ll have to stick with yaki onigiri and plain ones since I just realized it might not be a good idea to microwave mangoes. ^_^;;

  10. I’ve been reading back over your speed bento and you’ve really inspired me to pick it back up again! I love your tips but I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions, please? :)

    When you reheat your frozen onigiri I’m assuming you take the plastic wrap off so it doesn’t melt, but do you cover it with anything or just leave it on a plate?

    Also I’ve got some great jello molds I would love to use the knox juice jello recipe with but they’re all of the variety that you take them out of the mold to serve. Do you think the jello would be firm enough to hold its shape in a fairly cool office? I figure I’ll put them inside a muffin wrapper or something at first but I’m afraid they’ll melt all over the rest of my lunch.

    And finally how would you say frozen spaghetti holds up texture wise? I almost always have left over pasta when I cooke but I always throw it away because it just gets so soggy if you put it in the fridge over night.

    Thank you!!

  11. Hey, thanks for the nice words!

    1) I leave the plastic wrap on the frozen onigiri when microwaving to keep the moisture in the rice, then let it cool a little in the plastic wrap before unwrapping. The plastic wrap doesn’t melt in the microwave.

    2) The Knox juice jello recipe that I used (1 packet of Knox per total of 1 cup juice) produces a very firm gelatin that’s much more similar to Jello Jigglers than regular jello. It’d definitely hold its shape at room temperature all day without melting. You’ll want to dip the bottom of the mold in hot/warm water for 15 seconds before unmolding, but you probably know that already. Hope it works out for you!

    3) The frozen spaghetti itself wasn’t bad, but it did absorb some of the sauce in sitting/defrosting. Because my 2-year-old likes softer pasta, I’ve been making it that way more lately (when it’s mostly for us I take it out more al dente). So I didn’t notice a big texture difference. One nice thing to do with leftover refrigerated, sauced pasta is to turn it into a frittata (mix it in with beaten egg, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, pepper, maybe a little parsley or other fresh green — any cook). Maybe a change in texture might not bother you as much if the pasta is just an element in an overgrown omelette?

  12. is it ok to make yaki-onigiri in the oven? or maybe a frying pan? aww i don’t have a bbq grill ._.

  13. My tip for fridge-pasta usually works out really good.

    i put cold water, salt and vegetables-soup (those little cubes for extra-flavour, i don’t know if you use them or not :D). When water boils, add pasta. After it’s done (al dente, otherwise i don’t know), and you take off all the water, add olive oil (maybe any vegetal oil should work). It avoids the pasta from getting sticky. you can eat it right away (works great for salads!) or you can put it in the fridge. If you do (even if it has sauces), add more oil. As a result, the pasta won’t be so soggy and the sauce will have the extra boost of flavor of the oil :)

    spanish tip! ^^

  14. Thanks for the tip, _jzabelle! :-)

  15. Oooh! I wish I would have known about microwaving frozen onigiri. When I first started making bento, I made a huge batch and froze them. I let a group thaw in the fridge, and as I always eat my onigiri cold…didn’t microwave and YIKES! Disgusting. I threw out the whole batch. I’m going to have to give this all another shot. Also, I have to give the yaki onigiri a go. Looks yummy!

  16. I just tried making yaki onigiri in a frying pan on the stove and it worked perfectly! It’s important to keep the heat on low (in order to develop the crust on the onigiri) and lightly oil the nonstick pan (i.e. with vegetable oil spray like PAM), but the rest of the process is identical. I’ll edit my post to note this!

  17. Ooh, waste of rice! I feel your pain… Definitely try the yaki onigiri — I just tried making them in a nonstick frying pan on low heat and they came out great.

  18. great!! thank you!!

    next step: yaki onigiri!!!!!!!!

  19. Hi, I found your journal from googling “microwave yaki onigiri”. I was looking to buy those frozen yaki onigiri that they sell in Japan, but since I found your journal I’m inspired to make my own! Do you think I can make yaki onigiri in the toster oven? If so at what temperture? Will this give it the crispy crust? By the way, what type of soy sauce should be use?

    I love your beautiful creations and I’m going to start making bentos for my son too! I don’t have all the cute tools, but had already ask my cousin in Vancouver to help me get some bento supplies from the Daiso there.

    Thank you for keeping this journal, I look at it at least 8 times a day!

    end_in_tears

  20. This is a fantastic post — thank you so much. It’s never occured to me to freeze onigiri before, and I think that we’ll be having them a lot more frequently now!

    If you don’t mind my asking, how do you wrap the molded ones effectively? I made a batch of triangular ones today, and those went well, but I’m having a hard time picturing how to wrap molded ones without deforming them. Do you line the molds themselves with cling flim?

    Thank you so much!

  21. Ooooo, this was a fabulous post to find!

    This makes it MUCH more likely that I’ll start including onigri in my lunches!

  22. Help! Ok, so I followed your directions for freezing onigiri. I just took them out of the freezer, nuked them for a bit, let them cool, unwrapped them, and they completely fell apart! What did I do wrong? They were perfect onigiri when they were fresh!

  23. Interesting. If anything, my regular frozen onigiri tend to be a little more dense after I nuke them (but the more intricate molded kid shapes are a little delicate after nuking). Were they pretty firmly shaped before going into the freezer (or loose)? If you’re having problems with crumbling, I’d say give them a quick re-shaping (or re-molding) or mold after they come out of the microwave, before you pack it in your bento. You could do the reshaping either while it’s still wrapped in plastic wrap or after it’s unwrapped (in wet/salted hands or a mold). I hope this helps — freezing/nuking rice is a pretty common technique, and I’d hate for you not to be able to take advantage of the convenience factor if possible.

  24. I packed those babies tight before I froze them! So, I wonder what I did wrong. I made them about 2 weeks ago, is that too long to keep them?

    I ended up putting all the crumbles in a bowl, nuking them some more, and then reshaping them, they were ok after that. Thanks for your help. I’m going to have to try freezing again, I’m not giving up!

  25. Two weeks is just fine; I don’t think that’s it. Maybe just resign yourself to reshaping them after nuking — I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to advise. That, or try making yaki onigiri and freeezing those — those definitely keep their shape (they were touted in the Shufu no Tomo freezing book as being perfect for freezing because they do retain their shape so well).

  26. One other thought — was the rice moist, warm and fresh (like within 30 minutes of being done in the rice cooker) when you made onigiri out of it and froze it? That’s supposed to be a key point to ensure the rice stays nice after freezing.

  27. Unfortunately I don’t remember how fresh it was, I thought it was within an hour, but it could have been longer. I’ll definately try again, and I’ve been wanting to try the yaki onigiri too! Thanks again! I’ll be the first to buy your book (am I hinting too much?)!

  28. I’m going to feel stupid about this for awhile. Thanks for your help :D

  29. Adding olive oil to the noodles in the cooking stage only makes your sauce slide off of your noodles. :( If you cook the noodles correctly you won’t need the oil, and your sauce will stick!

    Now me personally, I don’t like a lot of sauce with my pasta, so I DO add olive oil — after cooking, because the husband likes TONS of sauce — with sea salt and pepper and sometimes cheese to my spaghetti. :)

  30. well i don’t know maybe it depends on the sauce recipe :)
    the tomato sauce i cook gets ok with my pasta and the oil o_o

    yumm, salt, pepper and cheeseee :)_

  31. Alright, may be a silly question, but is there another way to heat them up after freezing (before packing)? I don’t have a microwave :/

    Thanks for the article! Will definitely try it if I can find a way to de-frost them :D

  32. Since we are a vegetarian household, and we are just getting into making (and eating) bento luches, I make jello type desserts from agar-agar flakes. (FYI: Gelatin is made from animal bones, so it’s a no-no for us.)
    Two cups of juice (you can even use pineapple with agar agar) heated in a pan and simmered for 5 minutes with 2 to 3 Tablespoons of agar agar flakes (sugar optional) makes a firmish jelly. No quite as rubbery a texture as jello jigglers. Plus agar agar sets at room temperature, no need to set up in the fridge. The only caution is, do not stir or otherwise disturb the mixture once it had begun to cool, or it will be more like jam, and not hold it’s shape.

    I really love you blog! Super tips for the beginning bento box fan!

  33. Sorry for the delay in answering, julie. The microwave really is the best way, but if you have frozen yaki onigiri you could try pan-steam/frying it on low heat with a tablespoon of water and a tight-fitting lid. For regular frozen onigiri I’d venture the only way would be to re-steam the rice, but you’d also need to reform the onigiri afterwards.

  34. Hm, I’ll try frying it on low heat next time I’m making yakionigiri…

    As for regulars… If I wrap them individually in plastic foil, and then when I need to heat them up… I have this…(thing, sorry don’t know the name of it :P) where I can put a little bit of water at the bottom of the kettle (word?), but the water won’t touch whatever I put in the thing, which means I can slowly re-heat them by damping them.. Think that’ll work? :/ Hm…

  35. Thanks for the recipe! My friend yumimb made homemade jello with Japanese agar-agar for the kids the other week (with freshly squeezed orange juice and chopped strawberries, photo below) — it tasted great and didn’t have to be as rubbery as the gelatin-based jigglers to be stable at room temperature. She also used repurposed, washed applesauce cups to hold the jello — another good idea!

    Vegetarian juice jello cups with agar-agar

  36. I’ve been “toasting” my genmai onigiri on a nonstick frypan. However, in addition to brushing each side with temari soysauce, I brush the sides with toasted sesame oil. I tried using that oil instead of Pam for the toasting, but it didn’t really add enough flavor.

    I’ve also toasted onigiri (brushed with soysauce and sesame oil) in my toaster oven. I put the onigiri on a piece of aluminum foil, then turn it over to toast the 2nd side when the 1st side is toasted.

  37. Sounds delicious, and I love the toaster oven idea!

  38. Been reading your posts for a few weeks now (including a lot of back-entries) and as of today want to say THANK YOU for your “make ahead, then microwave in the AM” rice solution.

    I’m a busy medical student and new-ish diabetic who has recently realized she’s going to be packing lunches for the next 50 years and had better get out of the cheese sandwhich/hummus/PB sandwhich rut now before she gets heartily sick of all of those. My one prior attempt at rice for lunch was merely leftover refrigerated rice with rice vinegar, and then nori, tofu bites and veggies on the side, trying to delude myself it was a vegetarian sushi salad. The result was pitiful.

    Inspired by your instructions, I made rice with dinner last night, formed some of it into my very first onigiri, and shoved them into the refrigerator along with the rest of my lunch fixings. (I’ve never had onigiri before, let alone made them, although I have made vegetarian sushi of dubious authenticity.) Today I microwaved them before sticking them back into the lunchbox and heading out. They were wonderful! I had them with an omelet today and I can envision them with tofu in the future. Thank you for adding lusious new options to my lunch rota!

  39. Im wondering about the grill you are using, do you have more information about it?
    thanks for all your effort? I adore your site!

  40. Thank you so much for the feedback, nightengalesknd! So happy you’ve got more lunch options — I don’t want to compromise on what I eat just because I’m not in the house. That’s where the Japanese bento cookbooks come in, for their rocking packing tips!

  41. Hello, I am wondering if I freeze the onigiri in the freezer, how long can I keep it in there without the favor/texture turning bad on me?

  42. Ooh sorry hunting, your comment slipped by me for a while there! There’s more info on the grill at this entry. You can use it on the stovetop, just don’t put it in the dishwasher or the coating on the bottom part of the grill starts to flake off.

  43. The Shufu no Tomo book on freezing says one month for best flavor/texture. In theory, if the rice is wrapped properly and your freezer is 0 deg F or lower, you can keep them indefinitely — but I wouldn’t recommend that.

  44. I’m a newbie to your blog but I just think it’s absolutely great! My Mr. Bento JUST arrived today and I’m really excited to start using it. Thanks for all the tips.

    I do have a question regarding onigiri. I attempted to make some the other day using short grain brown rice (it’s a japanese brand but I can’t recall which one). Do you think that in terms of freezing/reheating it should be the same?

    Thank you!

    • Welcome zaub! Brown rice is not as sticky as white rice, so it won’t hold its shape in onigiri as well without some help. I’ve read of other people mixing glutinous (brown?) rice with the regular short-grain brown rice to help it keep the onigiri shape, but I haven’t tried it myself. Brown rice does freeze and reheat in the micro just fine, though — same method as white rice.

  45. Hi Biggie. I’m a new and addicted reader of your blog and have a few questions concerning onigiri… When you’re about to freeze the freshly made onigiri do you let them cool on the kitchen counter or do you stick them in the freezer while still warm? (that may sound like a really stupid question right?) And what would be the best rice to make them? I was thinking it might be sushi rice (not sure what round rice is?) I’m totally loving your blog and all the helpful tips in it as i’m a novice at bento-making!
    A warm hello from Luxembourg (europe)

  46. @51 from Nathalie: Welcome, and thanks for reading! I put them right in the freezer when they’re still warm so that as much of the moisture stays in the rice as possible. You’ll have the best results with short- or medium-grain white rice; just avoid long-grain rices as they won’t give you the stickiness you need.

  47. Biggie: You inspired me! For the first time in my life, I made the onigiri using the inexpensive molds from Ichiban Kan, plain plastic wrap, and just my little hands.

    I stuffed the onigiri w/ diced spam and alfalfa sprouts–I LIKE the combo. I even grilled the onigiri in my cast iron skillet. The rice browned and criped beautifully.

    Thank you for this site; I’m liking it more than I ever thought I would.

  48. @53 from Kate Schultz: I’m so glad that worked out for you! Diced spam and alfalfa sprouts isn’t a combo that would have occurred to me — I love that everyone puts their own unique spin on onigiri fillings (they’re a blank slate, waiting for a flavorful but dry filling).

  49. Dear Biggie –

    First, thanks a ton for your inspiring blog! Second, I have a question for you about how to use wiener cutters. I got some the other day (penguin, octopus, tulip, etc) and tried them on regular hot dogs. The result was not spectacular — the hot dog came out all mashed up, and the cutter did not do much in the way of cutting or shaping. These were natural beef hot dogs, and I did cut a smaller-length piece. Are regular hot dogs too big? Should they be hot when cut? Your advice would be much appreciated!

  50. @56 from Anya: I’ll experiment some more with the wiener cutters once I get back from vacation in a week, but I can tell you now that they recommend briefly freezing the hot dogs for 10 minutes before cutting them. This is supposed to firm them up enough to give you more distinct cuts on the surface of the wiener.

  51. I don’t own a microwave, is it possible to heat these up in the oven or will that ruin it?

  52. @58 from Fey: If you own a rice cooker, you can use the reheat function to bring frozen rice back to life. You could also use a steamer to revive regular frozen rice, or put frozen yaki onigiri in a covered frying pan. I haven’t tested out the oven yet, but I’d think it’d be ideal for yaki onigiri.

  53. Hi Biggie:

    Love your site…especially this entry on onigiri! I know all microwaves are different, but if you had to give a ballpark amount of time it takes for you to warm up a couple of onigiri, what would it be?

    Thanks!

  54. @60 from Christina: Hmm, maybe a minute on high? Depends on the size and number of the onigiri as well as the microwave power. If the onigiri aren’t warm when you take them out, then just put ‘em back in for a little longer until they are.

  55. @61 from Valene: I don’t add sushi vinegar to the rice for onigiri, just plain cooked rice. Thanks for reading!

  56. Found out how yakionigari(Any one besides me catch the onomatapeaic yucki!)probably got started. Making rice and toddler-of course and forget to turn down rice(STOVE TOP METHOD)while making teriyaki beef and zucchini/onion. Lets just say the “grill smell” was not the beef. Being on a tight budget I scooped out the “white” rice for dinner and just put the lid back on the pot. Clean up time and the (burned) grilled rice has loosened from the heavy bottom pot so well-YAKI ONIGIRI! Lets not go into the whole story, just tight budget, rice, steam power and frugal to the max. Yaki onigiri! YUM!

  57. I just stumbled over this blog, and already I’m an addict! The frozen onigri are fantastic, I live by myself and if I want to have a varied diet that isn’t expensive (ie, eating out all the time) I have have cook…and cooking just for your self is difficult. Ever try just cooking one serving of rice? Hah! Since the ‘lunch room’ at school is two massive walls of junk food I’ve started packing a snack, and bentos are wonderful for that.

  58. @66 from brook: The crispy browned rice at the bottom of the pot can be delicious — it’s called “okoge” in Japanese. Happy coincidence! (not yucky, but that is a funny coincidence) :-)

  59. @67 from platedlizard: Plus you get to make a stylish statement about bringing your own food — it doesn’t have to be a pile of plastic baggies, it can be much more appealing than the hot lunch at school.

  60. Hi!

    I just recently started experimenting with bento lunches. Living in Sweden the choices are anything but fantastic, but at least we can find edamame now!

    I’ve tried to look through the comments but I might have missed and answer to my question. When you’re done microwaving the ongiri, do you put it in the bento box warm, or do you wait for it to cool to room temperature? Just thinking it might ruin veggies or fruit with the heat.

  61. hi, if i don’t have a microwave, how will i still be able to defrost it well?

  62. @70 from Petra: There’s no rule that says that bento boxes have to be filled with Japanese food, though. Feel free to experiment with local foods that lend themselves to packed lunches; I’m sure you can find a fun fusion style that suits you if you’re unable to come up with Japanese stuff.

    On your other point, you do best to let the onigiri cool before closing it up in a box (from a food safety standpoint and also for keeping neighboring foods at their peak). Have a look at my post on hot vs. cold lunch packing considerations: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/08/06/box-lunches-hot-or-cold/

  63. @71 from Dianna: Refrigerated rice tends to get hard and unappetizing, so I’d say definitely give it a spin in the microwave (or steamer, or frying pan) to revive the texture before packing it up in a lunch to go.

    Good luck with your finicky eater, though! You might want to peek at my post on Bentos and the Picky Eater for the cool reader comments: http://lunchinabox.net/2007/11/14/bentos-and-the-picky-eater/

  64. @72 from cherz: You’ve got a couple of options sans microwave. If it’s yaki-onigiri, try gently pan-frying it with a cover to revive the texture. If it’s regular onigiri, I’d say to re-warm it in a steamer. Good luck!

  65. thanks, i shall give it a try!~ i hope the steam will not turn it too soggy~lol

  66. I can’t wait to try the onigiri and will be testing results on my own, but has anyone tried putting the frozen onigiri in their bento then microwaving at lunch time? (I dont have a microwave at home but I dont have a problem using the one at work.) Thanks for the tips and I love your site Biggie!

  67. Oh my! These are super good instructions! I am going to try this out since I am looking for something to put in my bento for tomorrow!

  68. Gosh, I was just going to post the question that Bentz asked – what happens if one brings frozen onigiri to work and microwaves it at lunchtime? Has anyone tried this, and does the texture remain ok? It just seems strange to me to microwave it once in the morning and later again at lunch (to make it warm).

    Biggie, I think this post and the comments have become THE internet source of info on all that you want to know about freezing onigiri :p.

  69. OK… Love the site. We moved to Abq. from six months in Nagoya and we are missing all of this fun stuff. So, I just had lunch at a Japese restaurant and got some rice to go (lazy, I know) to make the yaki onigiri… I pressed it into the ice cream sandwich molds. But when I was cooking, the shapes did not weather so well. The star kind of fell apart as did the heart.

    Que paso?

  70. Oooh. Solution. Crammed them right back into the molds while they were hot. Now they look perfect.

  71. Thank you for all the great information. I’m new to Bento, but I’m amazed at how much I enjoy making lunches (never thought I’d say that!). I just made yaki onigiri tonight and since we have such small Bento boxes, I used the box as a mold so I could fit as much rice in as possible. I didn’t have anything too inspiring for a filling so I used spring (green) onions chopped with a bit of parsley, rice vinegar and a few drops of soy sauce. They smell divine and hubby and I might end up eating the “extras” for dinner tonight.

    Thank you again for all your work and your awesome ideas.

  72. They have this thing in the Supermarkets now from Reynold’s that’s like a vacuum, and bags that go with it, and it’s a lot faster than sucking air through a straw! My mom got it for my family for christmas, but I don’t remember what it’s called…it’s a unitasker though, unless you like to annoy people, then it’s pretty useful for anything!

  73. what if I don’t own a microwave?? :(

  74. I know plum pickles are the traditional stuffing of onigiri but could you tell me exactly what a plum pickle is. Do you think shredded chicken is a good filling for onigiri?

  75. Amazing… I was looking online for grilled Japanese rice balls recipes, found your site, and realized that you go to the same coffee shop I do. You and I exchanged a few remarks about a little dog that comes in with a little old lady and barks nonstop. I just had to write :)

    I guess I’ll see you drinking coffee sometime!

    Elena

  76. @92 from Elena: Oh how funny! I know EXACTLY who you are! Well, now you know what I’m tapping out on my computer when I’m there. :-) Maybe see you around sometime this month — after that Bug starts kindergarten and schedules change up.

  77. Love your site! I’m inspired. This is my last year of packing school lunches — my daughter is a Senior in High School. She’s loved the grilled rice cakes at the local yakitori restaurant since she was in Kindergarten and you inspired me to try making them.

    I don’t have ongiri molds, so I used a 1/3 cup measure and made round cakes. I tried grilling them on a rack over a gas burner, but they started to char before the outside toasted. Searching my cabinets, I found a perforated metal flame tamer that worked perfectly! Six toasted beautifully over one burner.

    My daughter was surprised and delighted. It gets harder to delight them as they grow more sophisticated, so thank you!

  78. Thank you for this recipe.
    I always have onigiri at my favourite Japanese restaurant and have wanted to have a crack at making it for ages.
    Success first time!!!

  79. Do you think grilling it with teriyaki sauce would work and taste good? It sound good in my mind. I wonder..

  80. @96 from Emiko: Teriyaki sauce sounds good, but I’d beware of it burning if your teriyaki sauce has a lot of sugar in it. As long as you kept a close eye on it after brushing with teriyaki sauce it should be fine. Let us know if you try it!

  81. Hi! I love your website! there are some really great ideas here! i was wondering if there was any way that you could bake the rice after it’s cooked and formed? I don’t own a nonstick pan (i know…that’s weird) :) and I tried it in the pan i have and they fell apart way too easily…just wondering if there was a way to do it in the oven? Thanks a million!

  82. I was just wondering how many minutes should you microwave the yaki onigiri when your defrosting it?

  83. My daughter loves yaki onigiri and I had been buying them at TJ’s but they’ve discontinued them! Now I’m on to making them myself. My questions are 1) do you use sushi rice and 2) do you add anything to the rice before forming the shapes (ie make traditional sushi rice using vinegar, sugar, etc to help it keep its shape). I tried making some with fresh sushi rice from the rice cooker and the onigiri fell apart while frying it. Thank you!

  84. Ok had allways wanted to make yaki onigiri and this was very helpful thx

  85. I am beyond excited to have found this! My 5-year-old picky eater used to LOVE the yaki onigiri from the Trader Joe’s frozen section, but a little over a year ago they discontinued the product. (aaarrgghh!) I finally decided to figure out how to make them myself, and now–thanks to you–I can! So so so grateful.

  86. I just tried this for lunch. Super yummers!!!!! Now I can add it in my bento when school starts! :3

  87. I’m sorry to be asking here, but I can’t find a way to unsubscribe to the comments on this thread. I clicked the “manage subscriptions” link in the email but it only brought me to the homepage. Doing a search on your site for “unsubscribe” also turned up nothing.

    • Angela, I’ll try editing your email address out in the comments, hopefully that’ll work. I suspect that when I switched over to the new theme and changed the plugins, the “manage subscriptions” function went awry. Please accept my apologies.

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