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りじらいれき の おにぎり
History of the rice ball


Onigiri: おにぎり
The word onigiri, meaning rice ball, comes from  にぎる (nigiru), a verb meaning to grasp or grip. In the Heian Period ( 794 - 1192 ), onigiri were known as とんじき (tonjiki), or soldier's meal, because they were eaten on the go by members of the military. They are also called おむすび (omusubi -  from むすぶ (musubu), a verb meaning to tie ) and にぎりめし (nigirimeshi  - めし (meshi) means food ).

To make onigiri, rice is shaped by hand into round, triangle or cylindrical shapes; in the center of each is うめぼし (umeboshi - pickled plum ), つくだに (tsukudani - food stewed in soy sauce ), salmon, かつおぶし (katsuobushi - dried bonito ) or some other filling. The ball of rice is lightly salted; usually it is wrapped in のり (nori - dried seaweed ), but it can also be sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Rice (gohan):  ごはん
Rice is so important in Japan that the word for it, gohan, also means "meal." Rice is more than the staple food of Japan... it's cultural identity, mythology, and history rolled into one. Not only is rice served at virtually every meal but it's also the basis for many other foods, miso and sake to name but a few. It isn't surprising that there are hundreds of recipes dedicated to
the making of rice, click here to check some out!