Kyoto’s Onigiri (Rice Ball) Recipe

From Kyoto Japanese Restaurant in Salt Lake City.

Restaurant: Kyoto Japanese Restaurant

Artisan: Addison Mitchell, Kyoto’s sushi chef

About: Kyoto, a little piece of Japan in Salt Lake City, specializes in authentic Japanese cuisine and sushi. They commissioned their sushi chef as the creator and mastermind behind these rice balls. If tuna isn’t your thing, you can substitute with grilled salmon from yesterday's dinner, chopped veggies, or even leftover burgers. This should be an easy, cheap and leftover meal. The seaweed can also be cut into fun shapes to stick on the outside for kids!

Kyoto Japanese Restaurant Salt Lake City


Someone stuffing a rice ball with salmon.


A half-eaten rice ball on a plate with sauce.


*Yields about 8 rice balls

  • 4 cups short grain rice
  • 5 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cans tuna
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce OR mayo
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion
  • Dried salted seaweed - available at most grocery stores in the snack section 
  • Optional: Furikake (seaweed seasoning)


  • Wash rice in cold water, rinsing then dumping water three to four times. Then, leave rice to soak for 15-30 minutes, just covered by fresh water. 
  • Dump out water and place rice in a heavy saucepan, then add the 5 3/4 cups new water. Cover and bring to a vigorous boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until all water is absorbed, approx., 12-13 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes in the pan to cool.
  • Cut seaweed into two inch strips. 
  • Open a can of tuna and drain, then place in a mixing bowl. Add soy sauce or mayo, and chopped green onion. 
  • Prepare a small bowl with lukewarm water and a teaspoon of salt. 
  • Fluff rice with a spoon or spatula. 
  • Wet hands with salted water to prevent rice from sticking. Pick up about 1/2 cup rice in your palm and make an indentation. Place about a teaspoon of tuna mix in the center and fold rice around it, molding to triangle shape. 
  • Place strip of seaweed around one side of the triangle, with ends sticking up toward the center. (see photo)
  • Place on plate and enjoy! 
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