Dec 9, 2023

Tuna and Sesame Oil Rice Balls (Onigiri)

Do you carefully read the labels when doing grocery shopping? I do, and sometimes when not in a hurry, I tend to ready all the available products' labels before making a decision. You'll be surprised to see how many chemicals and additives are out there, even in a simple jar of jam or canned food.

And it is especially hard to find canned tuna without all the extras. That's why when I saw this Japanese brand canned tuna HAGOROMO with no weird ingredients listed, I quickly grabbed a set to test it out. And that's how this recipe was born. 

Tuna and sesame oil rice balls (onigiri) - 

Tuna and Sesame Oil Rice Balls

Ingredients (about 3 medium or 2 big servings)?

  • 1 rice measuring cup white rice or quinoa rice
  • 1 small can/70 grams tuna
  • 3 strings scallion
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil


Cook the rice like usual, but with a bit less water. Once ready, fluff the grains and let some steam escape first. When the temperature drops a little, scoop the rice to a big bowl that has been wiped with some sesame oil first to prevent sticking.

Quinoa rice

I actually added some quinoa to the rice. Not just for the color pop, but also for the extra nutrition.

Into the bowl, add in chopped scallion. You can simply use a scissor to cut the scallion, that way you don't have to wash any knives or cutting board for making this recipe. 

Ingredients for tuna and sesame oil rice balls

Add in drained tuna and toasted white sesame seeds. Also add some salt and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil. Gently mix these ingredients with the rice till evenly dispersed. Taste and see if more salt is needed. The saltiness varies depending on the canned tuna you're using. I used a total of 1/2 teaspoon of salt here.

Sprinkle a few drops of drinkable water to your palms, rub your hands then start shaping the rice mixture to individual onigiri. The water here also help in preventing the ingredients stick onto your hands. But not too much, just a bit moisture goes a long way.

Tuna and sesame oil rice balls / onigiri

So how's the version of HAGOROMO canned tuna I got here? It even says on the can with big letter 純, meaning pure. Not bad actually, especially if you're looking for really fine and flaky texture with minimum flavoring. The taste is quite bland, but that's how I want it to me because I would like to be the one controlling the seasonings. 

However, if you're looking for something saltier or with bigger chunks, other varieties might be a better option. I believe HAGOROMO also offers mild, flake, and oiled kinds. But down the road, despite the purity of ingredients used, I think all canned tuna tastes pretty good, especially when mixed with other ingredients like the onigiri here, or salad and sandwich. 

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