Bite into Something New with “Onigirazu” Rice Sandwiches

What is Onigirazu?

Just as “onigiri” takes its name from the Japanese verb for squeezing the rice ball into its iconic triangular shape –”nigiru” – the suffix “-razu” means “without” doing so. All kinds of fillings can be embedded in rice to create this deliciously compact meal.

What makes onigirazu such a snap? You don’t end up with clammy, often scalded hands from handling freshly boiled rice. And unlike a rice ball, you can load up on your favorite fillings. Make it even easier by picking up a handy plastic rice shaper at any one of Japan’s department stores or supermarkets. You’re ready to pack your own lunch!

How to Make Rice Sandwiches

Steps to making Onigirazu

All you need to make onigirazu is some cling wrap, sheets of nori (dried seaweed), rice, and your sandwich fillings of choice. Here’s how to do it:

1. Lay out your sheet of nori on a square of cling wrap and place one large spoonful of rice on top.
2. Pile your ingredients of choice on top of the rice and sandwich it with another portion of rice.
3. Fold the nori around the rice and ingredients as if you were wrapping a present.
4. Secure the whole package in cling wrap.
5. Slice it down the center with a large knife.
6. Spread it apart to see a cross section of your creation. It’s ready to eat!

If you buy one of the handy plastic cases at a supermarket or department store, you can save time forming your rice halves and use it as a carrying case! (See diagram below)

Various Kinds of Rice Sandwiches

“Onigirazu” was first introduced in a foodie manga back in 1991. It quickly took off in popularity in recent years, becoming a buzzword on recipe websites. Now more people than ever are making onigirazu as their “bento” of choice.

Onigirazu with fried egg & yakisoba / hamburger & lettuce fillings
Onigirazu with fried egg & yakisoba / hamburger & lettuce fillings
Salmon & cucumber / frankfurter & fried egg combo
Salmon & cucumber / frankfurter & fried egg combo
Minced chicken, cheese & lettuce
Minced chicken, cheese & lettuce
Tuna & shiso
Tuna & shiso
Fried egg & pork
Fried egg & pork
Karaage chicken & avocado
Karaage chicken & avocado
Fried chicken
Fried chicken

There are no limits to the type of onigirazu you can whip up!