Struggle with meal planning?

Subscribe to download the guide to learn how to more effectively meal plan!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Struggling with meal planning?

    Subscribe to download the guide and learn how to more effectively meal plan to reduce food waste and save money!

      We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Kimchi and Spicy Tuna Onigiri (Rice Triangles)

      If you love tuna and kimchi, you need to try this spicy tuna and kimchi onigiri. It’s so easy to make and is a perfect lunch or snack idea. I love these Japanese rice balls because they use a mixture of shelf stable ingredients as well as ingredients that last for a long time in the refrigerator like kimchi and kewpie mayo. Because of this, I always have the needed ingredients on hand!

      kimchi onigiri

      What is kimchi?

      Kimchi is a Korean spicy fermented cabbage. It is made using napa cabbage, radish, onion, garlic, ginger, gochugaru, fermented shrimp, rice flour and sugar. The mixture is left to ferment for several days to weeks. During this time, the cabbage softens and forms a distinct flavor. 

      Origins

      Kimchi has been a part of traditional Korean cuisine for thousands of years. The dish was originally created to preserve vegetables throughout the winter. The unique fermentation process kept the vegetables safe to eat and prevented spoilage.

      Since its inception, kimchi has remained a vital part of Korean culture. The average Korean consumes almost 30 grams of kimchi daily, which is about a quarter cup. It is typically served as a side dish alongside rice, soup, protein and other vegetable side dishes. 

      Where to buy

      You can purchase pre-made kimchi at an Asian grocery store. As the popularity of kimchi increases in the United States, you may also be able to find kimchi at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.

      kimchi onigiri

      Ingredients for Kimchi and Tuna Onigiri

      To make this recipe, make sure you have all the ingredients listed below. I also included a few substitutions or alternatives for the ingredients. For the best results, I recommend sticking to the original ingredients.

      IngredientsAlternatives
      Short grain white rice (sushi rice)Medium grain white rice
      Light tuna, canned, packed in water or oilYellowfin tuna, albacore tuna, salmon
      Kewpie mayoRegular mayonnaise
      GochujangSriracha, chili garlic sauce, gochugaru
      Kimchi
      Nori sheets

      How to make Kimchi and Tuna Onigiri

      First, prepare your short grain rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop using the directions on the package or the rice cooker. Before cooking your rice, wash it until the water runs clear. 

      As an alternative, you can also use leftover rice for this recipe. To reheat, add to a microwave safe bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Reheat for 1-2 minutes or until steaming.

      Once the rice is done, transfer to a large bowl and let sit until you can manipulate it with your hands comfortably. Do not leave your rice out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 

      While the rice cools, prepare the tuna mixture. Add the drained tuna, kewpie mayo, gochujang and chopped kimchi to a small bowl and mix until well combined.

      On a flat plate or cutting board, lay out a piece of plastic wrap. Using a rice paddle, transfer a scoop of warm rice onto the plastic wrap and gently press flat. You can also use an onigiri mold for this step.

      Add a small amount of the tuna mixture (about 1-2 tablespoons) to the middle of the rice. Place a small amount of rice on top of the tuna mixture and use the plastic wrap to mold the rice into a ball. Then, form into a triangular shape. 

      Place the rice triangle on a piece of nori and fold both sides in, tucking in the bottom. Set aside and repeat until you run out of plain rice and the tuna mixture. Then enjoy!

      To upgrade this recipe, you can fry the rice triangles in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides. This adds a satisfying crunch to your onigiri.

      kimchi onigiri

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What’s the difference between rice balls and onigiri?

      Onigiri are Japanese rice balls. The Korean version of rice balls are called jumeokbap. The biggest difference is that there is a filling for Japanese onigiri while the rice in Korean jumeokbap is typically mixed with the filling, rolled into a ball and coated in seaweed flakes. Both rice balls are delicious!

      Is kimchi good or bad for your stomach?

      Kimchi is a fermented food, meaning it contains beneficial bacteria called probiotics. There is some evidence to suggest that consuming fermented foods is good for your gut health. But, just like anything, consuming too much can cause stomach pain, nausea, gas, constipation or diarrhea. 

      Is store bought kimchi healthy?

      Yes! Store bought kimchi can be just as healthy as consuming homemade kimchi. Both store bought kimchi and homemade will contain similar ingredients. Store bought kimchi often contains some preservatives to extend shelf life, but these aren’t in high enough amounts to be a concern.

      Here are a few of my favorite store-bought kimchi brands:

      kimchi onigiri
      kimchi onigiri
      kimchi onigiri

      Who should not eat fermented foods?

      Anyone with a compromised immune system should avoid fermented foods due to food safety concerns. This includes pregnant women and young children. If you have a digestive disorder, speak to your doctor before adding fermented foods to your diet.

      This recipe is also available on the Samsung Food App on my profile and in my community. Be sure to follow me for more nutritious, easy and tasty recipes. 

      kimchi onigiri

      Kimchi and Spicy Tuna Onigiri

      These Japanese rice balls are delicious and super easy to make
      Prep Time 15 minutes
      Cook Time 30 minutes
      Total Time 43 minutes
      Course Main Course
      Cuisine Japanese, korean
      Servings 6 pieces

      Ingredients
        

      • 3 cups cooked short-grain white rice
      • 1/2 can light tuna, drained
      • 1 tbsp kewpie mayo
      • 1/2 tsp gochujang
      • 2 tbsp chopped kimchi
      • 6 half-sheets of nori

      Instructions
       

      • First, prepare your short grain rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop using the directions on the package or the rice cooker. Before cooking your rice, wash it until the water runs clear.
      • Once the rice is done, transfer to a large bowl and let sit until you can manipulate it with your hands comfortably. Do not leave your rice out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
      • While the rice cools, prepare the tuna mixture. Add the drained tuna, kewpie mayo, gochujang and chopped kimchi to a small bowl and mix until well combined.
      • On a flat plate or cutting board, lay out a piece of plastic wrap. Using a rice paddle, transfer a scoop of warm rice onto the plastic wrap and gently press flat. You can also use an onigiri mold for this step.
      • Add a small amount of the tuna mixture (about 1-2 tablespoons) to the middle of the rice. Place a small amount of rice on top of the tuna mixture and use the plastic wrap to mold the rice into a ball. Then, form into a triangular shape.
      • Place the rice triangle on a piece of nori and fold both sides in, tucking in the bottom. Set aside and repeat until you run out of plain rice and the tuna mixture. Then enjoy!

      Share this article on your social media:

      RECENT BLOG POSTS

      How helpful was this article? Leave a comment down below to let me know! I appreciate good feedback so I can improve my content in the future.

      Leave a Comment

      Recipe Rating




      Search

      ABOUT ME

      tia glover rd

      My name is Tia and I am a registered dietitian and content creator.

      My goal is to help young people learn how to eat a nutritious, balanced diet without restriction or giving up cultural foods. 💛

      Hapa/Japanese American 🇺🇸🇯🇵

      Get notified 📧 when I post a new article/recipe:

      RECENT RECIPES

      BLOG POSTS