Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Ball)

Transform plain onigiri into a tantalizing lunchtime treat with these Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri, topped with a runny fried egg for extra decadence! Made using a common kitchen tool found in every household, these onigiri don’t require ANY special tools or molds to get their perfect circular shape!

 

Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri with Fried Egg - The ultimate in lunchtime decadence! Toasty golden rice, sweet roasted tomatoes, and a runny fried egg transform your average rice ball into an irresistibly mouth-watering treat! Find out the one common kitchen tool used to make these circular onigiri - I guarantee it's in your kitchen drawers right now! Get this delicious & easy recipe at loveatfirstbento.com | bento box, Japanese food, vegetarian

Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri with Fried Egg - The ultimate in lunchtime decadence! Toasty golden rice, sweet roasted tomatoes, and a runny fried egg transform your average rice ball into an irresistibly mouth-watering treat! Find out the one common kitchen tool used to make these circular onigiri - I guarantee it's in your kitchen drawers right now! Get this delicious & easy recipe at loveatfirstbento.com | bento box, Japanese food, vegetarian

Crispy rice is the best kind of rice, in my opinion. Whenever we order bibimbap, I am that person inconspicuously stealing all of the crispy rice pieces (and then vehemently denying my crime). I am also that weird person you’ll find chiseling away at the crusty bits of rice plastered to the bottom of the rice cooker, unapologetically shoveling the pieces into my mouth. So really, it goes without saying that yaki onigiri is my destined rice soulmate. The gentle crunch of the toasty rice, still slightly warm from the pan, is enough to send your mouth into a permanent state of comatose. Combine that with savory-sweet cherry tomatoes, roasted until they’ve become fragrant, golden little rubies of perfection, and you’ve got yourself a taste explosion that will detonate your very soul into blissfully crying smithereens. Mouths of the world, meet the flavor bomb that will lead to your inevitable demise: Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri. Oh, and did I mention there’s a fried egg on top? Because fried egg + crispy rice = tastiest BFFs in the world.

Yaki onigiri simply means “grilled rice ball”, and it is indeed exactly as it sounds: rice crisped up in a frying pan until delectably golden and toasty. And, aside from being sinfully delicious, they boast 2 kick-butt qualities that set them a step above regular onigiri:

1: They transform hard, leftover rice into a delectable taste sensation.

If you ever have a bowl of unwanted, leftover rice slowly dying in your fridge (AKA story of my life), then give it a second chance at life by turning it into yaki onigiri! Just reheat the leftover rice in the microwave with a damp paper towel spread over top – this will soften the rice up enough for you to mold it into an onigiri shape. Once that rice ball is transformed into golden crispy bliss, no one will be able to tell it was old, leftover rice!

2: They last longer than regular onigiri.

Regular onigiri are always best when eaten fresh, as the rice will begin to harden once placed in the fridge or left at room temperature for a while. With yaki onigiri, you completely avoid this problem; in fact, if you ever find yourself with a bunch of fridge-hardened onigiri, one way to revitalize them is by turning them into yaki onigiri. Consequently, this also means that yaki onigiri make for a better bento box addition, as they won’t turn hard by the time lunch rolls around.

Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri with Fried Egg - The ultimate in lunchtime decadence! Toasty golden rice, sweet roasted tomatoes, and a runny fried egg transform your average rice ball into an irresistibly mouth-watering treat! Find out the one common kitchen tool used to make these circular onigiri - I guarantee it's in your kitchen drawers right now! Get this delicious & easy recipe at loveatfirstbento.com | bento box, Japanese food, vegetarian

For these roasted tomato yaki onigiri, I decided to shape them into a flat disc shape, since I figured this would make them both easier to eat and to grill. But the best part about this shape is that you don’t need any fancy tools or rice molds to make it: all you need is a measuring cup! I used a circular 1 cup measuring cup to make my onigiri, but feel free to use a ramekin or even a small circular tupperware container instead. The trick for successfully turning these items into rice molds is to ensure that the surface is slippery, which can be done by wiping the inside with a damp paper towel (which is what I did), or by using a little bit of non-stick spray. Of course, you could also shape these into the classic triangle shape using a rice mold (instructions on how to do that here) – ultimately, the shape is up to you!

Another epic thing about these roasted tomato yaki onigiri: they can accommodate a slew of mouth-watering toppings. I already mentioned the fried egg, which, although optional, is ever so highly recommended. There’s something about the combination of runny egg yolk and crispy rice that just screams edible heaven; you truly have not experienced life until you taste this dream-team flavor combination. The way that liquid gold yolk so silkily encases each toasty grain of rice  – you know as well as I do that resistance is futile. Please add the fried egg – the extra effort is sooooo worth it.

Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri with Fried Egg - The ultimate in lunchtime decadence! Toasty golden rice, sweet roasted tomatoes, and a runny fried egg transform your average rice ball into an irresistibly mouth-watering treat! Find out the one common kitchen tool used to make these circular onigiri - I guarantee it's in your kitchen drawers right now! Get this delicious & easy recipe at loveatfirstbento.com | bento box, Japanese food, vegetarian

Some other topping ideas for you to drool over (and which would be great alone or in varying combinations):

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Gomashio (sesame salt) – here’s a fantastic homemade recipe, or you can buy ready-made sesame salt
  • Minced fresh basil or shiso leaves
  • Fried shiso leaves (fried in a little oil, just like how you’d make crispy sage leaves)
  • Extra roasted tomato filling, slathered generously on top
  • A healthy drizzle of sriracha

 

So, once you return to the land of the living, give these tantalizing roasted tomato yaki onigiri a try; they will unquestionably add a serious flavor boost to any bento box, and are sure to be enjoyed and devoured by people of all ages. And, seeing as they’re made using a measuring cup, anyone can make these delicious rice treats with ease. Honestly, the hardest part about making them: waiting for them to get out of the pan and into your stomach!

 

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Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri with Fried Egg - The ultimate in lunchtime decadence! Toasty golden rice, sweet roasted tomatoes, and a runny fried egg transform your average rice ball into an irresistibly mouth-watering treat! Find out the one common kitchen tool used to make these circular onigiri - I guarantee it's in your kitchen drawers right now! Get this delicious & easy recipe at loveatfirstbento.com | bento box, Japanese food, grill

Roasted Tomato Yaki Onigiri with Fried Egg


  • Author:
  • Yield: 4 - 5 Onigiri
  • Category: Onigiri

Description

Toasty golden rice, sweet roasted tomatoes, and a perfectly runny fried egg make this grilled rice ball 100% irresistible! Made using a circular measuring cup, anyone can easily recreate this indulgent lunchtime treat – no fancy tools or molds required! {Vegetarian}


Ingredients

Food Items:

  • 2 cups cooked Japanese short-grain rice
  • Neutral flavored cooking oil
  • Nori seaweed (optional)
  • 4 – 5 fried eggs (optional)

Roasted Tomato Filling:

  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Recommended Tools:

  • Circular measuring cup or ramekin (I used a 1 cup measuring cup)
  • Plastic wrap

Instructions

Roasted Tomato Filling:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a bowl, mix sliced cherry tomatoes with the garlic and enough olive oil to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper, and give another mix until all tomatoes are evenly coated in oil and seasoning.
  3. Spread tomatoes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. You’ll know they’re done once the tomatoes become very fragrant and golden around the edges.
  4. Optional: Once cool, roughly chop the roasted cherry tomatoes.

Assembly:

  1. With a damp paper towel, wipe the inside of your measuring cup until it’s completely damp (alternatively, you could spray it with a little non-stick spray). Fill the measuring cup with warm rice, until you can no longer see the bottom. Use the back of a rice paddle or spoon to flatten the rice, making sure to press the rice into all the crevices.
  2. Take a generous spoonful of roasted cherry tomatoes and spread them on top of the flattened rice in the measuring cup, leaving a little bit of space around the edges.
  3. Add more warm rice on top of the cherry tomato filling, and spread and flatten it out with the back of a rice paddle or spoon, until the filling is no longer visible and the rice is perfectly flat on top. If you are using a 1 cup measuring cup, the entire onigiri should not exceed the 1/2 cup point.
  4. Flip the measuring cup over, making sure to do this over top a sheet of plastic wrap. Gently tap the bottom and sides of the measuring cup until the onigiri slides out. Optional: Add a strip of nori seaweed to the base of your onigiri. Wrap fully in plastic wrap.
  5. Repeat Steps 1 – 4 to make remaining onigiri.

Grilling the Onigiri:

  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Coat the pan well with neutral flavored cooking oil.
  2. Add onigiri to the pan and cook on both sides until the rice becomes a nice, crispy golden brown color.
  3. Optional: For extra decadence, top each onigiri with a fried egg (ideally with a runny yolk).

Notes

  • I recommend allowing your freshly formed onigiri to sit in the fridge for at least a few hours, if not overnight, before grilling – the hardened rice makes for a better grilling surface. In fact, yaki onigiri is a great way to use up leftover rice, or to revive onigiri that’s become too hard from sitting in the fridge!
  • You can also lightly coat each onigiri in soy sauce before removing them from the pan; just grill for an additional few minutes on each side, being careful that the soy sauce doesn’t burn.
  • Additional toppings that would also be mouthwatering on these onigiri: toasted sesame seeds, gomashio (sesame salt), fried shiso leaves, minced fresh basil or shiso, extra roasted tomato filling slathered on top, or a drizzle of sriracha.
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Comments (6)

  • Look delicious! Cant wait to try this.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much! Let me know how it goes if you do end up giving it a try 🙂

      Reply
  • tbh i’m not a huge fan of regular onigiri. but yaki onigiri?! i’m all over that! for some reason i don’t usually pair tomatoes and rice, but i’m not sure why, because it sounds so tasty here (:

    Reply
    • Thanks Heather! Yaki onigiri is truly hard to resist 😛 The filling idea was inspired by the Chinese dish “stir-fried egg & tomato”, which my bf always makes for breakfast and just loves, so I thought why not add it all together in rice form? Turned out to be irresistible! 😀

      Reply
  • Hi Shannon, This looks AMAZING! Great tip for stopping them getting too hard. My onigiri are like bricks by the time lunch rolls around. I’ll be making them like this from now on. Love your blog. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hey Hyeon, thanks so much for stopping by! Your comment totally made my day 😀 Yes, yaki onigiri is the perfect way to revitalize hardened onigiri; I hope you’ll give it a try!

      Reply

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