California Onigirazu

From by Shihoko Ura
California Onigirazu

California Onigirazu Photo

Onigirazu are a perfect Japanese on-the-go lunch idea! They’re much easier to make than sushi and they’re just as delicious. You can choose whatever fillings you like, perhaps a BLT onigirazu, or you could make it vegetarian and fill with vegetables and egg; it’s completely up to you! This recipe makes California Onigirazu, similar to California Roll sushi! It’s filled with imitation crab sticks, cucumber, avocado, and mayonnaise!

There is a food in Japan called “Onigiri,” which is rice shaped into a triangle or ball shape and usually filled with some type of fish or other ingredient; however, with onigirazu you don’t need to squeeze the rice into a shape, hence the “razu,” meaning without or none. So “Onigirazu” means “no squeezing” or “no shaping” (there’s no real exact translation in English).

I love to make onigirazu because it’s so easy to make and you don’t need any special tools to make it. The fillings can also be anything, even leftovers, which makes it even easier to make because you don't have to cook any fillings. If you’ve got some leftover meat and rice then onigirazu can be made in about 5 minutes or less! If you don’t have any rice then you will need to cook some about 30 minutes beforehand (depending on your rice cooker). If you don't have a rice cooker then you can easily make it in a pot by following my instructions for how to cook rice.

California Onigirazu Picture

Depending on what fillings you use, this can be a very healthy dish. You could even use brown rice to make it even healthier. California onigirazu may not be the healthiest because of the imitation crab stick and mayonnaise, but at least the avocado and cucumber is healthy!

California Onigirazu Image

Enjoy making these California Onigirazu and choosing some different fillings too!

California Onigirazu Pic


California Onigirazu Recipe



  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 10 small crab sticks, or 5 long sticks, cut in half
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced into sticks
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon japanese mayonnaise, divided


  1. Place cling wrap on a chopping board or kitchen bench diagonally.
  2. Place 1 nori sheet over the cling wrap diagonally (as photo in post indicates).
  3. Put half of the rice on the center of the nori sheet.
  4. Put 1/4 of the mayonnaise on top of the rice, then lay out half the cucumber, half the avocado, and half the crab sticks on top.
  5. Put another half of the rice on top.
  6. Fold all 4 corners of the nori sheet to the center and wrap with the cling wrap.
  7. Set aside for a few minutes and repeat the same process for the remaining ingredients.
  8. When the nori sheet has settled, cut the onigirazu in half and serve.


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