Onigiri is a rice ball made with bare hands, and the shape can be round or triangular. The size is usually about palm size, but it can be made smaller or bigger depending on your preference. It is a preservable and portable food, so people often take onigiri to picnic, field trip, and sports day.
The origin of onigiri goes back to the 3rd century BC, when people started to produce rice. At a ruin in Ishikawa prefecture, a carbonised chunk of rice was found. The carbonised rice had a trace which was held with hands, and is believed to be the oldest onigiri in history.
In 1582, when warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi traveled from Western Japan to Eastern Japan, he ordered to prepare onigiri at each station he passed through. The foot soldiers were delighted because they were able to eat fresh onigiri at each spots.
Onigiri is usually rapped around with dried seaweed sheet. This makes easier to eat because the rice does not stick on your hands. At convenient stores, the rice and dried seaweed is often separated with thin film. This is because to not get the seaweed soggy, since most people prefer crispy seaweed.
There are different kinds of ingredients that can be used for onigiri. The basics are pickled plum, grilled salmon, and tuna with mayonnaise. Onigiri is also called omusubi, and there are local omusubi with special ingredients. Ten-musubi is from Nagoya prefecture, which uses shrimp tempura on the outside of the rice rapped with dried seaweed.
You can also be creative and put whatever ingredients inside the rice ball. So, why don’t you try to make a special onigiri of your own?