Tuna Onigiri with Quick Cucumber Pickle

Tuna Onigiri with Quick Cucumber Pickle

one portion10 min Total TimeLight washing up

My first memory of Onigiri is–please don’t laugh–from a video game. Yes, I admit it, I’m a bit of a gamer. When I was younger, I used to play this farmer’s game on the Nintendo, it was all about growing crops and caring after livestock. Anyway, in that game, you couldn’t start controlling your character before he woke up in the morning and had his breakfast. I loved discovering the different kind of meal the game had planned for him every day–seems Iike I was already food-obsessed then. Although shown for only a split second, one particularly struck me, what was this little white and black triangle? It definitely was not something I’d ever seen or would have for breakfast.

It’s only when I first saw a real Onigiri, a few years later, that I put the two together. No surprise the creators used this widely popular and simple meal in their game. You see, Onigiri are in Japan what the sandwich is in the West: a packed lunch. Made from simple leftover rice, they’re filled with a wide variety of flavours before being wrapped in nori. They are easy, fun and delicious. Just cook a bit more rice next time you prepare a Japanese meal and use cupboard ingredients for the stuffing, like the tuna filling I’m sharing here. You’ll have a small lunch ready in no time.

Trying to keep up with the constantly evolving world of food blogging, I’ve decided to give the whole video thing a go. Now, you’ll have to bear with me, I’m alone working on this and, although I think it’s pretty good effort for my first time, there’s definitely a lot to learn and so much to improve on. Let’s see if this becomes the standard for future recipes. :)

tuna onigiri bite

Tuna Onigiri and Quick Cucumber Pickle
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  1. 240g cooked Japanese Rice
  2. Sea salt
  3. 1/2 tin of Tuna
  4. 1 1/2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  5. 1/2 Spring Onion, chopped (about 1tbsp)
  6. 1/2 tsp Soy Sauce
  7. a good pinch Shichimi
  8. 1 Nori sheet
  9. Sesame Seeds
  1. 70g Cucumber, very thinly sliced
  2. 2 tsp Soy Sauce
  3. 2 tsp Sake
  4. 1/2 tsp Ginger, grated
  1. Put all the pickle ingredients in a bowl and massage with your fingertips. Leave to marinate for 5-10 minutes or until the Onigiri are done.
  2. Reheat the cooked rice in the microwave for 30 seconds. You just want to bring it back to room temperature so the grains a loose and pliable.
  3. Prepare the filling by mixing the tuna, mayonnaise, spring onion, soy sauce and shichimi in a bowl.
  4. Cut three, 5x8cm, rectangle out of the nori sheet. Toast the pieces of nori in a hot, dried pan for 5-10 seconds each side and keep aside.
  5. Wet your hands with cold water and season your palms with sea salt.
  6. Scoop a third of the warm rice into the palm of your hand and make an indentation in the rice. Place a third of the tuna preparation in the hole and gently push the rice around the filling to enclose it. Shape into a triangle by pressing your palm gently, yet firmly, together.
  7. Wrap the Onigiri in the toasted nori, sprinkle some sesame seeds an repeat with remaining rice and filling.
  8. Squeeze out the excess pickling juices from the cucumber and serve alongside the Onigiri.
Singly Scrumptious http://singlyscrumptious.com/

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  1. As I was reading, I was trying to remember what video game on Nintendo it was! Although I’m not a gamer, I spent my fair share of time with that little rectangle controller in my hands. I have to admit, this sounds really tasty.

  2. I’m sure my son or daughter will know of the game…sounds like something they played. What a fun memory…these onigiri look delightful and delicious!

  3. I love tuna and sushi and rice and have been known to eat all of that for breakfast! I’m not a gamer so didn’t know about the Nintendo options … but considering their origin is Japanese, it makes sense they would include this for their character’s breakfast. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  4. What a great way to use leftover rice. No matter if I make a little or a lot – there is always rice leftover and making it into a light lunch would be great for us. I’m not familiar with Nintendo although my kids are – I’m sure they’d recognize the game. I’ve been wanting to try the sushi rice I bought – I’ll be sure I have extra for this recipe.

    • Andree-Anne

      You should definitely give it a try next time you cook Japanese rice (it will only work with it). I hope you’ll like it.

  5. I am not a gamer at all. Never was! Not even as a kid. But my kids are crazy about them and I’m always lost when they talk about it lol. I love tuna onigiri. Often I don’t know the names of some of the classic dishes I ate every time I visited Japan. Huge fan of Japanese food but only ever make sushi and terriyaki at home. Must try this soon. Thanks

    • Andree-Anne

      It is a bit hard to remember things that aren’t in your first language isn’t it. I usually need to cook the recipe in order to remember the name. I hope you’ll give this one a go :)

  6. I think it is a great idea to use rice and tuna in this dish) perfect for lunch and dinner!

  7. I am so glad you used canned tuna in this. I have yet to eat it raw….but this I would devour. I love tasting the flavours of the world without leaving my home. These would be party perfect!!

    • Andree-Anne

      Oh you have the give raw fish a try! it is much better than it sounds, although I agree can take some getting use to. Tuna is definitely my favorite raw fish, its a good one to start with.

  8. Love this! Great video…you make this look so easy.

  9. I love onigiri has been years since I had it in a Japanese restaurant. Now I have the scoop on how to make it at home. Yours looks very tasty =)

    • Andree-Anne

      Wow, quite cool you’ve had the chance to have it at a restaurant. Most don’t offer it, maybe because it’s considered such a simple meal. But they are so good and so foreign to us westerners.

  10. This is a really nice looking presentation and sounds flavorful. I am not a fan of raw fish so I like that you used canned tuna.

  11. Onigiri is my favorite, first food I liked during my stay in Tokyo, Japan. Missing those taste here. your recipe sounds perfect and love the tuna filling. I also like the one with Japanese sour plum version.

    • Andree-Anne

      I miss Japan’s food so much as well, nothing like it! Umeboshi is a great version as well, shame it can be hard to source

  12. I am all about quick and easy lunches! I love the idea of using leftovers. I get so sick of sandwiches, soups, and salads. It’s great to have another recipe in the books!

  13. This looks delicious! I love the way sushi and onigiri look when they are done – almost always look so delicious and appetizing. I have never thought of using canned tuna in recipes like this before, it sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  14. Onigiri is such a great way to use up leftover rice! And I just LOVE your little quick pickles on the side – pickles + onigiri sounds like the perfect quick, easy, and delicious lunch combo. Loving the video you did too, I really like the setup you created!

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