If you haven’t heard already, OJC is having a Cooking Day! We will be making Strawberry Daifuku and onigiri! Today, I will be talking a little about onigiri.
Onigiri, also commonly known as rice balls, was first seen in Lady Murasaki’s diary. It stated that people were eating rice balls. However, the origins of the onigiri occurred much earlier than Lady Murasaki’s diary.
Traditional onigiri is just rice shaped into cylindrical or triangular shapes and sprinkled salt. The use of nori, dried seaweed, was first used during the mid-Edo period. Below is a picture of the traditional onigiri during the mid-Edo period.
However as society progressed so did the onigiri. Onigiri begins to have different fillings. The most traditional one is the pickled ume (umeboshi) filling. Umeboshi is also known as pickled plums. However there are many different fillings: salmon, kombu, and etc.
Originally it was thought that the onigiri could not be massed produced because of the hand technique that was required to put the different fillings in. However in 1980s, a machine was created that was able to make the onigiri even with the feelings. Ever since then, onigiri has been mass produced to fit on the shelves of convenience stores.
Soon onigiri becomes so popular that it spreads to other countries: Korea, China, London, and etc. There are specialty shops and small restaurants that sell onigiri.
To learn how to make your own, check out OJC’s Cooking Day! All information is written in the flyer on our Facebook Page at Origami & Japanese Club at UIUC. If you have any questions, feel free to message us through our Facebook.