Onigiri are triangular rice balls, surrounded by an algae leaf and filled with various ingredients. A bit of etymology: the word お握り (onigiri) includes the character 握り (nigiri), which means to grasp, to squeeze in one’s hand.
Rice appeared in Japan in the 6th millennium BC, and rice cultivation spread rapidly throughout the archipelago until the 1st century. It was at this time that the first steamed rice balls were made. History reports that during the time of Nara (8th century), rice was often rolled into small balls so that it could be transported and eaten more easily. During the wars of the 17th century, samurai ate them wrapped in bamboo leaves, as a quick meal.
In fact, this small rice ball has been present in the Japanese culture for centuries.
Contrary to what one might think, onigiri are not sushis since the rice used
is different. Sushi rice is sweet and vinegar, while onigiri rice is plain and slightly salty.
Did you know ?
One of the main ingredients is the famous Japanese plum, called umeboshi. Its appetizing red color offers a striking visual contrast with the white of the rice…and reminds of the Japanese flag!
At Le French Riz, onigiri are all gluten-free and homemade!