First, you should make sure that you have prepared all the ingredients you need and have them at hand. The onigiri are formed once the rice is ready cooked, so at that point all preparations should be completed.
The rice for the rice balls is cooked like a normal rice but unlike rice for sushi it is not acidified after the cooking. However take care to use round grain rice and avoid cooking bags. Long-grain rice and rice in cooking bags is extra loose after the cooking and thus it is not usable for onigiri. For onigiri, you need a rice, which is tacky by nature.
We recomend Hakuju round grain rice:
1kg round grain rice for Onigiri
At first the water will be a little white from the bran. Wash the rice until the water remains clear.
We recomend to cook the rice in a rice cooker.
This is very much carefree and the cooked rice is perfect for making onigiri.
Rice cooker with a capacity for 1l rice
Rice for onigiri is not acidified with sushi vinegar like sushi rice, but is processed unseasoned or salted. If you have enough practise, you know how much salt you must spread on the palms, before you roll the onigiri. But as salt is a rather disagreeable condiments (to "desalinate" is not possible) we recomend to fill a small bowl with water and then add ca.10% salt. Stir briefly and you can use the water to moisten your hands, before you start to roll the onigiri.
Onigiri should be eaten within one day after preparation. Try to avoid storing onigiri in a refrigerator for too long, as this will turn the rice hard and bad-tasting. Wrap to the onigiri therefore firmly with cling film, before you put them in the fridge. It will delay the curing.
Should you make onigiri with Nori (seaweed flakes), wrap the seaweed around the onigiri shortly before eating,
as the Nori, as soon as it comes in contact with the moisture of the rice, begins to get rubbery.
Best you take the onigiri with you in a Bento box, where you have multiple partitions, to separate the different components.
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