Mar 3

Today is Hinamatsuri (雛祭り) in Japan, the Japanese Doll Festival , or Girls’ Day, held every year on March 3, the third day of the third month. I love this holiday because it is a day when families pray for and celebrate the happiness and prosperity of their girls. Being the mom of two little girls of my own, this holiday seems to have captured an even bigger place in my heart this year!
In honor of my girls, I’d like to share Squirrel’s favorite oyatsu with you. An “oyatsu” is what snacks or light meals are called in Japan. Squirrel’s favorite afternoon oyatsu to keep her fueled and on the move is an onigiri—an easy to make Japanese rice ball.
One of the things I love about onigiri is that there are countless combinations that you can come up with when making them. Whenever I make Japanese-style rice (a medium grain rice) for anything I always make extra so that I can make some onigiri for Squirrel the next day.
These are dead easy and quick to make!

Squirrel’s Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
Makes 4-8 rice balls (depending on the size you make them)

about 4 cups warm cooked short/medium grain rice
2 sheets dried nori seaweed, or pretoasted nori sheets

1 can white albacore tuna, drained
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
a little lite soy sauce (or Ponzu)

1. Toast the nori sheets over a high gas flame, and cut crosswise into 1 or 2-inch wide strips, or use pretoasted nori.

2. Make the filling: Place tuna in a bowl. Mix in the mayonnaise and light soy sauce to taste.

3. To form the rice balls, follow the steps in this fabulous tutorial provided by Just Hungry.

* Sometimes I sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on the onigiri.

See, I told you–easy peasy Japanesey!

More about Onigiri and Hinamatsuri:
-This video is a song about making onigiri, and about different places you can go to enjoy your onigiri. It comes from a popular children’s television show that airs on NHK, Japan’s state-run television station (like PBS or BBC). This song is called おにぎりぽん!(“onigiri pon!”) and it makes me smile every time I watch it!

-For more info on Japanese rice, see this article from JustHungry.

This post on Our Adventures in Japan has some great information about the meaning of the word onigiri, about different onigiri shapes, etc.

-We’ve talked about onigiri before here on LFM.

-To read more about Hinamatsuri, click here.

-To read about our Hinamatsuri last year, read these posts.

-Kawaii Crafter has posted 2 wonderful Hinamatsuri crafts on her blog, Zakka Life:

Wishing you and your girls happiness and prosperity!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn March 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm

I have been craving the onigiri from 7-Eleven for months now. The tuna was my favorite, followed closely by the umeboshi. They were the best thing to snack on when I went to the hotel room in the middle of the day for a change of shoes/outfit or to drop off purchases. An onigiri and a yuzu drink and I was ready for the next adventure! I’ve tried making them here but they’re just not the same. :(


K and S March 3, 2009 at 5:51 pm

my favorite fillings are umeboshi and konbu, thanks for the mention! Happy Girl’s Day!


Judy March 3, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Wow, that is SOME video! I must say I would never have thought to make a video about onigiri, but I sure would like to eat some right now.


kawaii crafter March 4, 2009 at 12:07 am

the video had me smiling the whole time, thanks for sharing it.


Bob March 4, 2009 at 12:38 am

That sounds wicked good! I’ve never had it, but I’d like to try it.


LollyChops March 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm

I have never had one either but it sure does sound tasty! I love anything with rice and tuna is one of my favs too! Happy Belated Girls Day!


laline March 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm

happy girl day !!!
i hope you tidied your dolls before the end of the day
i love Onigiri when we were in Japan we liked to buy the for snacks

i’ll try the receipe
by the way thank you for your letter i like it very much and little Fuji is very cute


mamakd March 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm

mmmm, sounds good and a perfect rookie recipe for someone who knows little about Japanese cooking! I hope I can find the nori…I am on a quest!


The Food Librarian March 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Happy Girls Day to your girls! (And this year it was also Square Root Day 3/3/09!)

When I got sick, my mom would always make me an onigiri with umeboshi inside!


diva March 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm

i love onigiri filled with salted salmon or lots of mentaiko. mmmm!! squirrel is adorable!! :) happy hinamatsuri, well belated. i nearly forgot about it and ended up celebrating with the girls with wine. x


Elaine March 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm

What rice brand would you recommend to make onigiris or other Japanese dishes with rice here in California ? I think that depending on the rice used, the taste and texture affect a lot the food you make.

Thanks !

Squirrel and Bug are beeeeeautiful !


Bokehmon April 6, 2010 at 11:20 am

Mmmm… I’m going to have to try these, and pack them for lunch. Too bad there isn’t an easier way to get Miso Soup to school, and have it stay hot for hours!


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