bento for the little one (onigiri rice balls & rolled cabbage 8/feb/16)

menu: onigiri (rice balls) with shirasu (baby sardines) & spinach, rolled cabbage, carrots, green beans and cherry tomato

raspberries with yogurt & honey for dessert

onigiri is one of the most typical recipes for bento box. it is rice ball with some seasoning/garnish with nori seaweed, and its name comes from a verb “nigiru“, which means “to grasp” or “to hold”. most people must know what onigiri is, but to clarify it is a bit different from sushi from various aspects – sushi rice is prepared with rice vinegar, sugar & salt, whereas onigiri rice is with just a pinch of salt. sushi usually comes with THE most fresh ingredients, such as raw fish or shellfish, but onigiri is prepared with cooked or preserved ingredients such as grilled salmon flakes or umeboshi, pickled sour plums (by the way, i cannot eat umeboshi because of its sourness – oh dear so unjapanese of me, my mum must be so cross with me for this). shape wise, sushi has this small boat-like shape, while onigiri usually has either round or triangle form. sushi is usually bite size, while onigiri is much bigger and fills you up quite quickly (usually an onigiri is made with the portion of a small bowl of rice). we eat sushi more on special occasions, whereas onigiri is rather everyday food. sushi is luxurious and elegant, while onigiri is rustic and homey. sushi, expensive, onigiri, cheep! ….maybe that’s enough explanation 😉

for LO’s bento today, i prepared nori seaweed separately from rice ball, so that it will remain dry & crisp. but you can also put it on rice ball beforehand if you prefer nori being rather soggy. it’s totally up to you.

today’s side dish, rolled cabbage, is just some leftover from the evening before. it is pork mince pâté wrapped & rolled in a cabbage leaf, and cooked in chicken bouillon. i used sliced pancetta and thyme to give extra flavour.

i hope LO liked my another effortless bento today.


  1. […] for a sakura picnic (2 adults + 1 little one + 1 littler one who does not eat yet – the mini onigiri and assorted deli lunch on the right are for my LO). what i made is nothing special, but i […]

  2. […] on a regular basis. Its saltiness goes very well with rice, and is a popular ingredient for onigiri. For the bento I sneaked tarako in between two layers of rice, thinking it’d be too fishy if […]

  3. […] Shiokoji (salted & fermented ricemalt) salmon onigiri, Diced sweet potato with tori-soboro, Boiled egg, and Cucumber […]

  4. […] Onigiri with grilled salmon, Spinach omelet, Colourful cherry tomatoes, Steamed […]

  5. […] kindergarten, because they are celebrating the graduation of the oldest kids with the onigiri & soup lunch to be prepared by the younger kids. How lovely is […]

  6. […] box in the kitchen, and asked me why I only cook rice or pasta for her bento box but never any onigiri (rice balls). She sounded quite desperate on the verge of bursting into tears. She said one of her […]

  7. […] today. This means I need to prepare another field trip bento, and this time, our daughter requested onigiri […]

  8. […] daughter asked for onigiri (rice ball) for her special day, so here they […]

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