Learn to make this Yaki Onigiri (Japanese Grilled Rice Balls) with flavorful plant-based fillings and a crispy exterior. These crispy fried rice balls are perfect for a quick bite or as a party snack.
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What is Yaki Onigiri?
Yaki Onigiri is a popular Japanese dish that is loved for its crispiness on the outside, soft and fluffy rice, and flavorful filling on the inside. Yaki Onigiri (or Japanese Grilled Rice Balls) is classic Japanese comfort food made from steamed rice with different fillings, shaped into a triangle, ball, or cylinder shape and wrapped with a nori sheet. These rice balls are then fried until crispy and golden.
These crispy fried rice balls are perfect for a quick bite or as a party snack. In this blog post, we will be sharing a recipe for making Yaki Onigiri at home using vegan ingredients. We will also be covering the 2 methods to roll the rice balls.
It's the perfect option for going on a picnic, for lunch at school, or for traveling.
For other Japanese rice ball recipes, check out my Vegan Onigiri recipe!
To make this Yaki Onigiri, you'll need:
- Sushi rice
- Cooked chickpeas
- Vegan mayonnaise
- Nori sheet
- Sauce: soy sauce, mirin, and sugar
What are the fillings?
This is a plant-based version of Onigiri, with two filling suggestions:
- Chickpea 'Tuna': this is a plant-based version of tuna salad - a common filling option for Onigiri.
- Avocados: using avocados makes the Yaki Onigiri fun to look at and a easy-to-make filling.
Step-by-step instructions of how to make Vegan Yaki Onigiri
There are three ways of wrapping Onigiri: by hand, with plastic wrap or with an Onigiri mold. In this recipe, I show you how to make it by hand in the following steps. Watch the videos below the recipe to see the visual instructions for making these Japanese rice balls.
- Assemble your rolling station with a bowl of water, some salt, the cooked rice, the fillings and the cut nori sheet.
- First, wet your hand. This step prevents the rice from sticking to your hand. Then salt your hand, this will season the rice.
- Add 2 tablespoon of rice, then followed by 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle and 1 tablespoon of rice. Wrap it to ensure that the rice fully covers the filling.
- Press firmly to hold the shape that you want, it can be a triangle shape like in this recipe or a round shape.
Fry the Onigiri in oil until golden on both sides (about 2-3 minutes on each side). Brush each side with the sauce mixture before flipping.
If you are not confident with rolling the rice balls, you can use plastic wrap or a plastic Onigiri mold.
After shaping the rice balls, fry until golden brown in a pan and brush each side with the sauce. Alternatively, you can also air fry the rice balls.
A: It is recommended to use Japanese rice for this recipe as it has a sticky texture that holds the rice balls together.
A: Yes, you can use any vegan filling of your choice, such as mushrooms, tofu, or vegetables.
A: While baking the rice balls is an option, it will not give the same crispy texture as frying. I also recommend air frying at 180 degrees Celcius for 5 minutes, flipping halfway, brushing with the Yaki Onigiri sauce.
How to serve these rice balls
You can serve these crispy Japanese rice balls in a lunch box or Japanese bento box alongside some veggies or snacks.
Yaki Onigiri is a delicious and easy-to-make snack that can be enjoyed any time of the day. This vegan recipe is perfect for those who want to enjoy the traditional Japanese snack without using any animal products. This recipe is sure to impress your family and friends. Try this crispy rice balls recipe and enjoy the satisfying crunch of the crispy exterior and the soft, fluffy rice inside.
If you have tried my recipe, please let me know what you think by leaving me a review on this page or tagging me on Instagram @veggieanh. I would love to see your creations!Print