Panda Onigiri

Panda Onigiri

  • Servings: 5 rice balls
  • Total Time:

Onigiri rice balls are a staple of a bento lunch box, so why not try making a few with Royal Basmati Rice? These cute panda shaped onigiri are filled with salmon, but sour plums, tuna salad or pickled vegetables make equally delicious stuffings.


  • ¼ pound wild salmon
  • 1 teaspoon preferred vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1½ cups Royal Basmati Rice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 sheet toasted nori


  1. Preheat oven to 375℉ and oil a baking sheet.
  2. Place salmon on baking sheet and brush with oil. Bake until cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, then flake into a bowl. Stir in soy sauce and vinegar.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine rice, 2 cups water, and salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer 1 cup cooked rice to food processor and pulse until ground to a sticky paste. In a medium bowl combine paste and remaining cooked rice. Mix with hands to combine.
  5. Use a ½ cup measure to portion rice. Press a divot in the center of each rice ball place 1 tablespoon salmon in it. Form rice around salmon and place on a square of plastic wrap. Wrap plastic around rice and use it to shape rice into a flattened circle, pinching rice into 2 ear shapes on a round head. Unwrap.
  6. Cut nori into shapes for decorating. You will need 2 oval eyes, 2 half-moon ears, and a nose and mouth shape for each onigiri. Decorate rice balls with nori pieces, using tweezers to help place nori if needed. Wrap tightly and eat within 1 day.