Learn how to make your own homemade yaki onigiri, or grilled rice balls, with a delicious and creamy filling of surimi, avocado, carrot and green onions. Pan-seared and crispy on the outside with a flavorful stuffing on the inside.
In small bowl, combine surimi, avocado, carrot and green onions. Set aside.
Cook rice according to package directions. Stir 2 tbsp rice vinegar, sugar and salt into cooked rice. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Using wet hands, flatten 1/3 cup cooked rice slightly; place 1 tbsp filling in center. Shape rice into ball, enclosing filling. Repeat with remaining filling and rice.
Heat 2 tsp oil in skillet set over medium heat. Fry balls in batches for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Brush rice balls with 2 tbsp soy sauce; cook for 15 to 20 seconds per side.
In small bowl, combine remaining soy sauce and rice vinegar, honey, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Serve yaki onigiri with sauce for dipping.
Surimi is also known as crab sticks, seafood sticks or imitation crab, and is usually made of Alaskan pollock. Substitute drained, canned salmon or tuna if desired.
Yaki onigiri can be well wrapped, then frozen. Heat for 30 to 50 seconds in the microwave directly from the freezer (do not thaw first).
A Japanese cuisine delicacy, yaki onigiri, which translates to grilled rice balls, are wonderfully delicious morsels that can easily be made at home. While Japanese sushi is made with Short Grain Sushi Rice, onigiri is set apart and made with long grain Jasmine Rice, which is commonly used for Asian-inspired recipes. The grains cook up with an aromatic flavor and subtly sticky texture making them perfect for rolling into balls around a fresh filling.
While traditional yaki onigiri may be grilled, they can also be pan-seared, like in this recipe! The most important element is that they cook up with a flavorful crispy rice exterior.
There are many different ways to make rice balls, each originating from a different culture and cuisine containing different ingredients and ways of enjoying them. Two of the most common include Japanese Onigiri and Italian Arancini.
Arancini are a typical Roman street food served in Italy. The rice balls are typically made with creamy risotto rice such as Carolina® Arborio Medium Grain Rice. When rolled into a ball, they are filled with cheese and covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried or air-fried, creating a golden crunch on the outside. Try making your own with this recipe for Air Fryer Rice Balls with Arroz Rojo.
While there are many differences in cooking method and rice choice, there are two components that remain the same for these two rice balls: a crispy sticky rice outter texture and creamy inside.
In comparison, onigiri is typical in Japanese cuisine. Not to be confused with a type of sushi, these rice balls are made with steamed or cooked rice rather than seasoned sushi rice. It also may or may not include sushi-grade fish. They can be formed into many different shapes such as balls or triangles. To try a classic onigiri recipe, try these Shrimp Onigiri infused with Spanish-inspired flavors.
While there are many differences, both rice balls are excellent options to serve as a side dish, appetizer or on-the-go savory treat.