Fried Chicken Rice Balls with Creamy Plum Vinegar Ginger Sauce

A staple in Japanese pubs, these onigiri rice balls twist up tradition with an unexpected fried panko coating. They’re stuffed with sautéed chicken, seasoned with Japanese seven spice and plum sauce, then wrapped in bok choy and surrounded by rice to form a ball.
45 min
45 min


  • Fried Chicken Rice Balls
  • 1 1/2 cup (375 milliliters) sushi rice
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) plum sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) mirin
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) Ginger Ground
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) Japanese seven spice blend (shichimi togarashi)
  • 1/2 pound (250 grams) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 10 (2-inch/5 cm) cubes
  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
  • 10 leaves baby bok choy, bottom 2 inches of leaves trimmed
  • 2 eggs , lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) panko breadcrumbs
  • 2
  • Creamy Plum Vinegar Ginger Sauce
  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) Kewpie mayonnaise (Japanese mayonnaise) or regular mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) plum vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) Ginger Ground
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) Japanese seven spice blend (shichimi togarashi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (5 milliliters) Sea Salt Grinder


  • 1 For the Chicken Rice Balls, cook sushi rice as directed on package, using 2 cups water. Fluff with fork. Set aside to cool slightly while preparing filling.
  • 2 To make the marinade, mix plum sauce, mirin, plum vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and Japanese seven spice blend in large bowl. Remove 3 tablespoons of the marinade to small bowl; set aside. Add chicken to remaining marinade; cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • 3 To cook the chicken, heat oil in medium skillet on medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade. Add chicken to skillet; cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add reserved marinade; cook 3 to 5 minutes longer or until chicken is browned and cooked through, turning frequently.
  • 4 To form the Rice Balls, wrap 1 chicken piece in 1 bok choy leaf. Scoop about 1/3 cup (75 mL) warm rice. Spoon 1/2 of the rice into palm of hand and make a deep indentation in rice. Place bok choy-wrapped chicken in indentation. Top with remaining rice. Using hands, shape rice around chicken, forming into a triangle or a ball, to enclose filling. Place on wax paper or parchment paper-lined tray. Repeat with remaining chicken, bok choy and rice. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze 30 minutes or until rice balls are slightly frozen.
  • 5 Meanwhile for the Creamy Plum Vinegar Ginger Sauce, mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • 6 Remove rice balls from freezer. Dip each rice ball in beaten egg then roll in panko to coat evenly. Return to tray. Heat 1-inch (2.5 cm) of oil to 325°F (160°C) to 350°F (180°C) in large skillet on medium heat. Add 1/2 of the rice balls; cook 5 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining rice balls. Serve with Creamy Plum Vinegar Ginger Sauce.


(per Serving)