No more crumbly rice balls or singed fingers.

Onigiri, Japanese-style rice balls, seem simple to make, but getting them just right is tricky. Press the rice together too softly, and the onigiri will fall apart before you can take a bite. Press too hard, though, and you’ll squash the individual grains of rice, making for an unappetizingly mushy mouthfeel. Oh, and if finely moderated and evenly distributed pressing wasn’t enough of a challenge, you need to be doing all this while the rice is still piping hot, since cold, hard rice won’t stick together without a lot of force.

Thankfully, though, there’s a new way to make onigiri that promises a perfect press every time, and with zero risk of singing your fingers and palms.

That right there is the Kyukoku no Onigiri, or “Ultimate Onigiri”, the latest invention from Takara Tomy Arts. Though they’re best known as a toymaker, Takara Tomy Arts designs kitchen gadgets too, and the Kyukoku no Onigiri is an extremely easy-to-use onigiri maker.

▼ Video of the gadget in action

Just scoop some freshy cooked rice into the triangular case, insert it into the stand, flip the switch, and let the Kyukoku no Onigiri do its thing. The case will spin for roughly 30 seconds, and when it’s done, you’ll have a finely formed onigiri with a proper shape and structural fortitude, plus the ideal fluffy, airy texture when you bite into it.

The gadget doing the hard part for you doesn’t mean there’s no space in which to show off your creative culinary concepts, though. Along with the rice, you can put whatever fillings you want into the case, if you want them evenly distributed throughout the rice. Alternatively, you can place a pinch of an extra ingredient as a topping for an all-rice onigiri.

The machine also doesn’t wrap the ongiri, so you can apply sheet f nori seaweed if you love its crisp saltiness, or leave your onigiri unwrapped if you prefer.

Kyukoku no Onigiri goes on sale August 10, and can be pre-ordered through Takara Tomy’s online store here for 4,378 yen (US$32). With prices for store-made onigiri on the rise in Japan, and ridiculously expensive in some other parts of the world, it seems like an investment that’ll pay for itself pretty quickly.

Source: PR Times via Otakomu
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times, Takara Tomy Arts
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