food 4 tots

Onigiri (rice ball) with salmon and cucumber

Onigiri, rice ball, recipe for toddlers, food for toddlers


My son doesn’t like rice so much. What upsets me is that he always quick to finish eating his dishes but takes his time to labour over his rice even though I only gave him six to seven spoonfuls.  His usual excuse is he is already full. To circumvent such an unhealthy habit, I only allow him to have two third of his allocated dishes to be finished with the rice. If he finishes, he gets the rest. He usually abides. However, this tactic of mine still doesn’t improve his appetite for rice. The ONLY exception is SUSHI!


He is absolutely fond of sushi and usually ends up eating more rice than usual. You can see the twinkle in his eyes which gave me the idea of making onigiri (rice ball) for him.



Onigiri (also known as rice ball, 饭团) is made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). There is a slight distinction between onigiri and sushi. Onigiri is made with plain rice (perhaps lightly salted), while sushi is rice with vinegar, sugar and salt.


Onigiri comes in difference shapes and forms. Unlike sushi, it is pretty easy to make and required less skill. Making onigiri at home is a breeze if you can get hold of some simple gadgets so as to save time and ensure uniformed end products. I used a triangle shape rice mould and two seaweed punchers that I bought from Daiso to make these onigiris. You can find many choices of onigiri gadgets at Daiso. Do pay a visit to your nearest Daiso outlet to check it out.


There are two common methods for making onigiri. You can either mix the ingredients with the rice before putting into a mould, or stuff the ingredients inside the rice.  As for the selection and combination of ingredients, I prefer to use my own creativity to mix and match them. You can refer to those suggested ingredients in my tips at PAGE 2 BELOW. Let’s have some fun and make some onigiri today. It’s ideal for your kid’s school lunch boxes and picnic outings.


rice mould, seaweed puncher


Oh yeah! I almost forget to mention about my son’s first reaction about onigiri. When I awarded him two “6-star” rated onigiris, he was overjoyed and very proud of himself ,  so much so that he couldn’t wait to eat up his “prize”.  Well, he finished all of them in no time, and then requested for more “prizes”!  This marks another success story in my diary!


Other reading references:

>>>> Click on PAGE 2 BELOW for Onigiri (rice balls) with salmon and cucumber recipe……………..



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  1. Kids will love them, even the grownups like me would love to grab this rice just for the presentation.

  2. I am not a fan of sushi. But these look just so cute!

  3. noobcook says:

    You put the punchers to good use! Such cute onigiris =)

  4. lingzie says:

    oh my gosh!! i LOVE onigiri!!! i like the ones with bonito flakes inside 🙂
    your onigiri is so pretty la! no wonder your son was so thrilled! i honestly wouldn’t mind these inside my lunch box….. 😛

    oh and another place you can find really nice moulds and cutters to make cute lunch box foods is –
    they have the cutest things!!

    • food-4tots says:

      Lingzie: Didn’t know you are also a great fan for onigiri. Tks for your sweet comments and the link. You’re right, their bento stuff is really cute (but also pricey too)!! 😉

  5. Criz Lai says:

    This is interesting. I like the way how you use the puncher to get so many stars. 🙂 Now I know how to make the best out of my cartoon punchers.. 😛

  6. mycookinghut says:

    Ohhhh.. how lovely looking! I like the stars that you put on the rice balls.. really cute.
    Could it be the texture of the sushi rice that makes your little cute one favours it over the long grain rice?

    • food-4tots says:

      Lee Mei (MCH): Tks! I think star is a powerful symbol for kids in general. That’s why I chose it as compared to love shape. Initially I also thought the same but he still didn’t change his eating behaviour if it is served as normal. I think it is the shape that he likes. 😉

  7. Anh says:

    A really neat idea! 🙂 I have the triangle mould, too. But have not been able to source the nori cutter.Did you get it from Singapore? And which shop? I may ask my aunt ot buy it for me.

    • food-4tots says:

      Anh: Tks! Yes, I bought mine from Daiso Singapore. There are many Daiso outlets in Spore (eg Vivocity, Plaza Singapura, IMM etc). You can ask your aunt to contact me if she has problem getting them. 😉

  8. peachkins says:

    The Onigiris are cute!

  9. Little Inbox says:

    You make the rice ball looks so tempting, how could he resist? Hahaha…

  10. foodbin says:

    even an old man like me love it-so much love and effort-well done!

  11. tigerfish says:

    I am not a huge fan of sushi.

    But I thought it is good not to eat too much rice…dishes are better right? Again, he is still a growing boy, so need more rice ya! ;p

    • food-4tots says:

      Tigerfish: Yeah, u’re right. We should limit our rice intake as it is a form of carbo. Currently we eat very little rice and most of the time is brown rice. Making this onigiri is to make sure my son eats a reasonable amount of rice but not becoming a 饭桶 later. LOL!

  12. This is beautiful and I believe my girl will want to have this in her snack box everyday. May be I will need to alter the ingredient from salmon to tuna, she doesn’t like the smell of salmon, too bad! Just have to kick my butt and go the kitchen every early morning and make it a point to prepare something healthy delicious food instead of letting her eat those fast food serve in the canteen.

    • food-4tots says:

      Joanne: You’re free to mix and match any ingredients your girl likes when making onigiri. Just make sure they are cooked properly. Yeah, you should put in more efforts to promote a healthy diet to your kids. 😉

  13. btw, can I use the ordinary paper puncher instead of the seaweed puncher? It doesn’t come across my mind that I saw it selling here.

  14. Alice says:

    Hey friend, another success story! Bravo! A convenient and healthy snack for kids, I believe my boy will like it too…. 🙂

  15. suzanne says:

    thank you so much for this idea!
    my son is allergic to so many things (milk,eggs,soy,wheat) plus he’s a picky eater, but he loves rice!
    what a great idea. thanks again

    • food-4tots says:

      Suzanne: You’re always welcome! Sorry to know that you have more headaches and challenges than when preparing meals for your son. Really hope that he will love this onigiri. 😉

  16. I gotta say I always eat all the rice first and then slowly savour the dishes! I’m sure your son will adore these. They’re really pretty. The little onigiri moulds are adorable too. I make mine with my hands but those moulds sure could come in handy when i’m lazy.

  17. peanutts says:

    Oh thats a very pretty looking sushi,

  18. Jason Wong says:

    We are not good with Japanese cuisine. May be will some from the Japanese chefs that we know, then try our hand in it then we can share here.

  19. They look gorgeous and what a great idea to feed something different to your children! Thanks!

  20. lisa says:

    Nice! what a great idea. I love the seaweed stars. I can have that everyday. I think my niece would like it too. 🙂
    CookNg Sisters

  21. felicia says:

    ive never seen onigiri so pretty!
    its the prettiest i’ve soon.
    i used to go crazy over these in school.
    those punchers/moulds are too cute! 🙂

  22. this is so cute and so beautifully, an edible art! 🙂

  23. LCOM says:

    Cute, cute, cute! Not to say healthy and yummy too.

  24. NKOTB says:

    what a creative mommy! 🙂

  25. Yeah, some kids just don’t like rice. Like my daughter loves pasta and potatoes, but when it comes to rice, she needs some soup or gravy to help her finish it up. You’re such a wonderful mother!

  26. Aiyo so pretty! You really are creative. Great stuff =) Your lucky family!

  27. They are so cute and beautiful. It’s absolutely an enjoyment of eating rice like this.

  28. I really LOVE your blog! Cooking with heart and being creative at the same time is art and your creations do appeal to kids. Doing a search on google now to get my own onigiri gadgets.

  29. kat says:

    Great timing. Just bought salmon and was wondering how to make it for a picnic dinner. 🙂

    BTW, why do you rub salt on the cucumber before cutting it?

    • food-4tots says:

      Kat: Yeah, it’s great to make for picnic. This recipe is adapted from a cookbook. I guess the author wanted to add some flavour to the cucumber. Hence she “marinated” it with salt. 😉

  30. evelyn says:

    I juz made the onigiri today but w/o moulds. My 2yr old son tot it is sushi and ‘burp’ after finished. Honetly, for adult consumption it would be quite bland. I dipped it with soya sauce for taste.

    • food-4tots says:

      Evelyn: Thanks a lot for your kind feedback. Glad to know that your son likes it. If you want to enhance the taste, try the following suggestions:
      a) dip it with either mayonaise or wasabi.
      b) sprinkle some salt onto the rice
      c) cook your rice with dashi (stock) and salt
      d) add more ingredients in the rice balls such as sweetcorns, green peas, seaweed powder, sesame seeds. Lately I added some preserved Japanese sardines (which I bought in the Japanese food fair) to the rice ball, it tasted great.
      Hope it helps. 😉

  31. fridA says:

    WOW!stars! i love stars!
    really…i want one of those…is it only in japan you can buy that?

  32. Kelly says:

    my 2 and a half yr old son has recently began to reject eating his usual porridge and so I made him onigiri with salmon, spinach and egg and he wolfed down 2 in 1 go. =) thanks for sharing =D

  33. rach says:

    hihi, can i use normal rice for the onigiri?

    • food-4tots says:

      Rach: Normal rice is not as stick as Japanese short grain rice. So you may have problem to hold all the ingredients together. Well, no harm to give it a try. 😉

  34. ying says:

    Hi shi fu,

    I bought fairprice japonica rice n cooked twice. 1st time: follow 1cup rice:1cup water, the grains were abit hard because i find not enough water. 2nd time: i added more water like how i cook normal thai rice, but it turned out sticky. I follow your steps like soaking rice for half hr before cooking. Will you tell me how to cook it right?

    Qns 2 is relating to your power homemade bars, can i find golden syrup at phoon huat? Cant find at ntuc. I cant replace with manuka honey?

    Thank you very much 🙂

    • food-4tots says:

      Ying: Japanese short grain rice should be sticky. I would recommend you to learn it from youtube. Just do a google search to find one that suits you most. As for the golden syrup, I think PH should have. Yes, you can replace with honey (clear and runny type). 🙂

  35. ying says:

    Ms Low: Yes i browsed youtube videos prior to cooking for first attempt, watched how the rice is washed n cooked but didnt teach how much water to cook :p but anyway i cook for the 3rd time n it is much better than being sticky wet for 2nd time. The water must be lesser compare to cooking thai rice.

    For your baked homemade bars, you mean it is fine not to use golden syrup? Clear runny honey like those few dollars type from supermarket?

    Thank you for your advice.

    • food-4tots says:

      Ying: Yes, Japanese rice (short grain rice) requires less water than Thai fragrant rice. That’s because after soaking, the rice has absorbed quite an amount of water. Another point to note is to flake the rice once it is cooked and let them stay in the rice cooker for a while before serving. Yes, you may use runny honey. But bear in mind that honey is sweeter than golden syrup. Golden syrup can sometimes be found at the baking section in NTUC. You can also try local baking supply shops like Phoon Huat. Hope it helps! 😉

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