Rice Balls


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes:


    Rice Balls

Appears in

Japanese Food Made Easy

Japanese Food Made Easy

By Aya Nishimura

Published 2020

  • About
Preparation: 20 Minutes, Plus 5–8 Hours Standing
Cooking: 30 Minutes

This is ideal for a work lunch or for a picnic – the ultimate bento box food! You can try this with different fillings and toppings. Use Pork Miso, left-over Smoked Mackerel & Ginger Japanese Pilaf, umeboshi, Furikake or tuna mayonnaise.



  • 160 g ( oz) salmon fillet, skinned and pin-boned
  • 5 g ( oz) shiso (perilla) leaves or 10 g (¼ oz) chives, finely chopped


  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • ½ tablespoon sake
  • 300 g (10½ oz) Japanese rice
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 10 nori sheets


Sprinkle a large pinch of sea salt on each side of the salmon. Drizzle the sake over the salmon and spread it over each side. Sprinkle salt over each side and massage it into the salmon. Leave the salmon for 5 hours or ideally overnight.

Cook the rice following the instructions.

Preheat the grill to medium–high. Pat the salmon dry (it will have released some liquid) and grill for 5 minutes on each side. Flake the cooked salmon.

When the rice is ready, add the flaked salmon, toasted sesame seeds and chopped shiso or chives to the pan. Mix with a moistened rice paddle so that the rice doesn’t stick to it.

Sprinkle a small pinch of salt into your hand. Place about 80 g ( oz) of the rice in your left hand and use your right hand to shape the rice into a pyramid. Wrap each onigiri in a nori sheet as you eat it. They’re good eaten warm or cold.