How to make Chashu Onigiri – Pork Belly Rice Ball

Hello everyone, my name is James Anderson and I’m excited to share a new japanese recipes with you all today on the Food And Meal. As someone who loves cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, I’m always looking for fun new dishes to try. Recently, I came across a recipe for chashu onigiri that really caught my attention.

For those who may not know, onigiri are Japanese rice balls, often wrapped in nori seaweed and stuffed with delicious fillings. Chashu refers to braised pork belly, which is a common ramen topping but also pairs wonderfully with rice. As soon as I heard about chashu onigiri, I knew I had to try making them!

Pork belly is one of my absolute favorite ingredients to cook with. I love how flavorful and rich it is after being slowly braised in a sweet soy sauce mixture. The tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture of chashu is so satisfying. I also enjoy playing around with different fillings for onigiri, but pork belly was one I hadn’t attempted yet.

Additionally, in my family, we have always loved Japanese cuisine. My wife makes excellent homemade ramen, full of delicious slices of chashu pork. Our two daughters also adore colorful, fun foods like onigiri. I thought combining these two beloved dishes into one would make for a wonderful new family recipe.

When I tested out this chashu onigiri recipe this past weekend, it exceeded all my expectations! The savory pork belly paired flawlessly with the seasoned sushi rice, while the crispy nori sheets added a lovely textural contrast. My wife said they reminded her of gourmet ramen in handheld form. Even our little girls enjoyed helping me shape the rice balls and wrap them.

What is Chashu Onigiri

Final Masterpiece: The Complete Chashu Onigiri Experience On A Plate.
Final masterpiece: the complete chashu onigiri experience on a plate.

If you are unfamiliar with ramen, you might be wondering what is Chashu Onigiri. The rice balls are filled with a tasty, moist pork dish. This is the ideal way to use leftover ramen. In addition to ramen, chashu onigiri can be served with various condiments. You can make them by mixing shredded pork, mayonnaise, and spring onion.

The name ‘chashu’ comes from a Cantonese dish, “char-siu.” It is roasted with a fork after marinating in a sweet sauce. The color is usually created with red food dye. When made in Japan, chashu is braised in a sweet and salty mixture. It is not braised with five spice powder, though. It is then sliced thinly and fried with cabbage, onion, and garlic.

While chashu is known for its iconic ramen dish, it is also popular in many ramen restaurants. It is easy to prepare but requires more time than unrolled chashu. However, it can be used in a number of dishes. Unlike unrolled ham, chashu onigiri is traditionally served with braised vegetables and Soy Sauce Eggs. You can make your own delicious noodle soups with a variety of noodle combinations, but it is not limited to this method.

If you want to enjoy a ramen dish in a Japanese restaurant, chashu is an excellent choice. It is a popular ingredient in Japanese fried rice and can be served as a main course. The chashu itself is a savory treat, but you can also make a delicious and nutritious ramen-onii. In addition to ramen, chashu is a delicious way to eat meat.

Most of the time, chashu is made with pork belly, but sometimes, it is made with chicken breast. The name ‘chashu’ comes from a dish in Cantonese, called char-siu, which is prepared by simmering pork in a sweet sauce. The flavorful mixture is added to the pork before it is grilled, and the pork is finished in the oven. The dish is usually served with ramen, but it can also be served on a rice bowl. In addition to ramen, chashu is also served at some izakayas as a beer snack.

Chashu Onigiri Recipes

The instructions are easy to follow even for beginners. While it does require some advanced prep for the pork belly, the results are incredibly worth it. Let me know if you try making chashu onigiri at home! I’d love to see your creations.

How To Make Chashu Onigiri - Pork Belly Rice Ball
How to make chashu onigiri – pork belly rice ball
How To Make Chashu Onigiri - Pork Belly Rice Ball 1

Pork Belly Rice Ball

This simple yet flavorful onigiri recipe offers a delightful twist to traditional rice balls, making it a perfect choice for a quick snack or a charming addition to your bento box. Learn how to create these delectable treats and elevate your culinary skills with the fusion of rich pork flavors and the satisfying texture of seasoned rice, bringing a taste of Japan to your kitchen.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Rice, Side Dishes
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: chashu, onigiri, rice balls
CookingStyle: Handcrafted Cooking
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 rice balls
Calories: 125kcal
Author: James Anderson
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  • Put the chopped chashu, chashu seasoning, and rice in a large mixing bowl. Mix well, making sure the seasoning is evenly incorporated.
    How To Make Chashu Onigiri - Pork Belly Rice Ball 4
  • Take a handful of the rice mix and form it into a small triangle. Place the chashu slice on top of the triangle.
    How To Make Chashu Onigiri - Pork Belly Rice Ball 5
  • Wrap the rice triangle with a sheet of nori before serving. Don’t wrap it too tightly; the nori is meant to just cradle the rice.
    How To Make Chashu Onigiri - Pork Belly Rice Ball 6



Rice balls can be triangular or round, but a triangle-shape onigiri looks great with a big piece of chashu sticking out of the top. It should look like the onigiri is overflowing. Expensive onigiri shops will go out of their way to show that they aren’t skimping on the filling.
The secret to an impeccable Chashu Onigiri is the tenderness of the pork belly. Slow cooking is the key! Don’t rush it, savor the process. 
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Serving: 1rice ball | Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g
© Food And Meal

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the Spoonacular Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

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Chashu Onigiri using Pressure Cooker

Tapas Style: Mini Chashu Onigiri Skewers Ready To Delight.
Tapas style: mini chashu onigiri skewers ready to delight.

Ah, the pressure cooker! A magnificent culinary device that blends both time efficiency and flavor infusion effortlessly. When we talk about the rich and tender goodness of pork belly in our Chashu Onigiri, the pressure cooker emerges as the unsung hero. Let’s embark on this savory alternative method:


  • Pork Belly, cut into manageable strips
  • Short-grain rice
  • Soy Sauce
  • Mirin
  • Brown Sugar
  • Ginger, finely chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Nori (seaweed) sheets for wrapping


  1. Pork Belly Preparation:
    • In your pressure cooker, combine the pork belly strips, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. This mixture will serve as a marvelous marinade and cooking liquid, promising a deep flavor.
    • Secure the lid of the pressure cooker and set it to high pressure. Cook the pork belly for 45 minutes. This duration ensures the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  2. Rice Cooking:
    • While the pork is cooking, rinse the short-grain rice until the water runs clear. This ensures removal of excess starch which can otherwise make your onigiri too sticky.
    • Add the rinsed rice to a pot with water in a 1:1 ratio. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
  3. Combining:
    • Once the pork belly is done, release the pressure from your cooker and open the lid. Take out the pork belly and let it cool slightly. Slice it into thin, bite-sized pieces.
    • Wet your hands slightly (this prevents the rice from sticking). Grab a handful of rice, place a slice of pork belly in the middle, and mold the rice around the meat, forming a ball or triangle shape.
  4. Final Touch:
    • Wrap your delicious Chashu Onigiri with a strip or sheet of nori. This not only gives an added flavor but also ensures a non-sticky eating experience.

Serve immediately, and let the blend of textures and flavors transport you to a world of culinary delight. Enjoy your Chashu Onigiri, now made effortlessly using a pressure cooker!

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Tip and Tricks

Serving Elegance: Onigiri Presented On A Bamboo Leaf.
Serving elegance: onigiri presented on a bamboo leaf.

Serving Suggestions

The chashu onigiri would pair wonderfully with some classic Japanese dishes like miso soup, edamame, gyoza dumplings, or a refreshing seaweed salad. For a more filling meal, serve it alongside rice bowls like oyakodon or katsudon. The savory pork and seasoned rice balls would also work nicely in a bento box lunch along with tamagoyaki rolled omelette, pickled vegetables, and fresh fruit.

Additionally, the onigiri could be served as an appetizer at your next Asian-fusion dinner party or potluck. The handheld size makes them perfect for passing around. I suggest providing soy sauce, spicy mayo, and tonkatsu dipping sauces on the side for guests to customize their onigiri eating experience. A chilled glass of Japanese beer like Sapporo or sake would be a tasty pairing too.

For picnics and beach trips, chashu onigiri travel well to eat on-the-go. Pack them in a bento box with other ready-to-eat sides like edamame, Korean potato salad, fresh berries and melon. The seaweed wrapping helps the rice hold its shape so it’s easy to pick up and pop in your mouth between activities.

I hope these serving suggestions have sparked some ideas for you on different ways to enjoy onigiri! Their versatility allows them to work as an appetizer, main course, picnic food and more. Let me know if you try any of these pairing ideas.

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Cooking Tips

Miso Beef Onigiri - The Missing Lokness

A masterful dish is the sum of its parts and the secrets behind them. Allow me to whisper some of those secrets to you:

  1. Perfecting Pork Belly: Avoid the urge to hasten the cooking of the pork. Whether in a pressure cooker or slow-cooked, the pork belly needs its time to reach its tender potential.
  2. Rice Rinsing Ritual: Always remember to rinse your rice multiple times. This simple step ensures that your onigiri won’t become a gooey mess.
  3. Avoid Overfilling: Be cautious about not stuffing too much pork into your rice ball. Overfilling can cause the rice to break apart, spoiling the aesthetic and texture.
  4. Nori Knowledge: Keep your nori sheets in an airtight container until you’re ready to wrap your onigiri. This ensures they remain crisp and fresh.

List of 5 FAQs

Pork Belly Slices: A Showcase Of Tenderness And Rich Flavors.
Pork belly slices: a showcase of tenderness and rich flavors.

1. Can I use a different type of rice for Chashu Onigiri? While short-grain rice is the traditional choice due to its stickiness, medium-grain rice can also be an option. However, long-grain varieties might not hold together as well.

2. How can I store leftover Onigiri? Wrap each rice ball in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container. Store them in the refrigerator for up to two days. Before eating, you can warm them in a microwave for a few seconds.

3. Is there a vegetarian alternative to pork belly? Absolutely! You can use marinated tofu or tempeh as a substitute for pork belly. The key lies in the marinating process to infuse flavors.

4. What if I don’t have mirin for the recipe? You can replace mirin with a mix of white wine and a bit of sugar as a substitute. It gives a similar sweet undertone to the dish.

5. My rice balls are falling apart. What did I do wrong? There might be a few reasons: perhaps the rice was undercooked, or you didn’t rinse the excess starch from the rice. It’s also essential to wet your hands when shaping to prevent sticking and help in binding the rice.


In conclusion, I hope you’ll give this chashu onigiri recipe a try soon. The sweet and savory pork belly filling pairs so nicely with the seasoned sushi rice and crisp nori wrappers. While it does take some time to braise the pork belly, the hands-on assembly is quick and easy. These make for a fun new spin on traditional Japanese onigiri that I think would make an excellent addition to any bento box lunch.

Additionally, onigiri could be a wonderful dish to serve at your next Asian-inspired dinner party or potluck. They travel well for picnics too! I love finding new ways to transform some of my favorite Asian ingredients like chashu pork into handheld, bite-sized treats.

Let me know if you give chashu onigiri a try! I’d be thrilled to hear your feedback, see photos of your homemade rice balls, or have you share any variations you come up with. Cooking is always more fun when you can swap recipes and ideas with fellow food lovers. Thanks so much for reading today’s post and happy onigiri making!

I'm James F Anderson, a noted sous chef from London and a Le Cordon Bleu alumnus. My career began in a Michelin-starred Parisian eatery, where my blend of classic and contemporary cooking, using seasonal ingredients, earned accolades. Recognized in culinary publications and on cooking shows, I’m committed to mentoring aspiring chefs and delivering memorable dining experiences, marking me as a standout talent in the culinary world.

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