Making Squirrel Onigiri has never been easier! Learn how to use a rice mold to make the perfect squirrel from rice in no time flat. They make the perfect addition to any fall themed bento or lunch box!
- ~ 1/2 cup cooked Japanese short-grain rice
- 1 + 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 slice pumpernickel bread (or any brown bread)
- Nori seaweed
- Ham or salami (optional)
- 2 whole almonds (optional)
- Cat rice mold
- Cat nori punch
- Circle cookie cutter (~ 5 cm)
- Tiny circle cutter
- Scissors (make sure they’re fully sanitized before using with food)
- Plastic wrap
- Using the cat nori punch, punch out the cat face design from the nori, reserving the eyes, nose/mouth, whisker, and ear pieces (the whiskers will become the squirrel’s forehead stripes – you’ll need 2 – 3 per squirrel). Punch out the design as many times as you need, until you have enough features for each squirrel.
- Optional: Using the tiny circle cutter or a drinking straw, cut out 2 circles from the ham or salami – these will become the squirrels’ rosy cheeks (2 per squirrel).
- Using the circle cookie cutter, cut out a circle from the pumpernickel bread (reserve the scrap pieces). Using (clean) scissors or a knife, cut out a fat “apostrophe” shape from the bread circle – this will become the squirrel’s bushy tail. Repeat for each squirrel you have.
- Using the tiny circle cutter, cut out 4 tiny circles from the scrap pumpernickel bread – these will become the paws. You will need 4 per squirrel.
- In a bowl, mix warm sushi rice with soy sauce until evenly colored. Feel free to add more soy sauce if you’d like a darker brown color.
- Wet your cat rice mold with a damp paper towel, and fill with the soy sauce rice. Place the push piece on top, press down, and remove. Flip the mold upside down over top a sheet of plastic wrap, and gently tap until the shaped rice slides out.
- Using tweezers, apply the nori facial features and rosy cheeks (if using) to the squirrel. For an extra cute look, try placing the eyes right beside the mouth. Place the cheeks right beside (and ever so slightly lower than) the eyes.
- Using tweezers or chopsticks, apply the tiny pumpernickel paws right on top of the upper and lower feet “bumps” in the rice. Optional: Add a whole almond right in between the two front paws, as if the squirrel is holding it, for an extra cute touch.
- Once your squirrels are packed in their bento box, add the pumpernickel tail (it will just rest on the bottom of the bento box), aligning the pointy end right beside the squirrel’s bottom foot.
- There were a few tools I used for making my rice squirrels that are different from the ones listed above (simply for the sake of precision): #1) I wanted the squirrel’s eyes to be bigger than it’s mouth, so I actually used the nori cutter that came with this rabbit rice mold kit. I used the nose portion of the mold. #2) I made the squirrels’ front paws slightly bigger than the back paws. My favorite circle cutter tool worked perfectly, since it has a small circle cutter on one end, and a slightly larger circle cutter on the other.