Onigiri - Super cute and Healthy snacks for Kids

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I am doing a series of radio interviews for my new cookbook RICE CRAFT. This lso made it to print.

San Francisco Chronicle - The Farmer and the chef

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Wonderful story by Tara Duggan was featured in the this July. The story is on our rice heritage and onigiri. Great timing with the publication of my new cookbook " target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Rice Craft. 

Rice Craft - Seattle August 24-28 - The Pantry Seattle

Posted on August 17, 2016 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I am heading back up to Seattle to teach RICE CRAFT at " target="_blank" rel="nofollow">The Pantry in Seattle. August 24-28 I will share recipes from my new cookbook RICE CRAFT, including miso soup, pickled ginger, inari zushi and smoked trout sushi and more. All five workshops are sold out!  


Posted on July 22, 2016 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

August BAY AREA Book Promotion and Workshops

August 5 JCCNC (Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California)
Seafood flavors cooking classes. Seafood Onigiris will be featured. 6-9pm 

August 6 Omnivore Books Book signing and onigiri tasting 4-5pm
August 7 SHED Healdsburg 10am -1230 Rice Craft-Adventures in Onigiri
August 8 SF Cooking School Bento and Onigiri 630-930pm  

Rice Craft - Onigiri and Sushi cookbook

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

RICE CRAFT - my new cookbook is now available at the bookstores nationwide!  You can order it through or check your local bookstores.  RICE CRAFT is a healthy, yummy, fun to make cookbook for everyone.

RICE CRAFT - Chronicle Books - is out!

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Japanese breakfast

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Salmon Fava Basil Onigiri

Posted on April 11, 2016 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Rice Craft is coming soon!

Posted on March 14, 2016 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

\The fragrance of the white blossoms on my grapefruit tree fills my backyard with the sweetness of spring, thanks to El Nino. This is a little too much because we haven’t gotten around to harvesting last year’s fruit. I can’t complain. March has also been a productive month on the cooking end. The current issue of Saveur has a feature story on soba noodles by Francis Lam titled “Sonoko Dreams of Soba.” Francis captured the spirit of soba. Beautiful photos by Dylan and Jeni. Arigato! Visit

My book Rice Craft is due out from Chronicle Books in August 2016. You can pre-order it on line. .

It’s a cute little cookbook that makes onigiri accessible to everyone!


Ricecraft -Onigiri Coobook

Posted on February 25, 2016 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

My new cookbook RICECRAFT will be out from Chronicle Books on August 2, 2016. 

You can pre-order on-line through


Kids only Onigiri Workshop, January 30 2015

Posted on December 22, 2015 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (1)
Onigiri workshop for kids - the first workshop in Pasadena will be Onigiri making for kids. I will be at Urbank Kitchen on January 30 from 3-5pm.  To sign up visit 

Onigiri-A Weekend Project

Posted on December 4, 2015 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

The Onigiri story I worte a few years ago for the Los Angeles Times was the catalyst for writing the cookbook RICECRAFT.  Now there are a lot more people who know what onigiri is. and enjoy eating it.  This recipe was suggested as aweekend project.  It's Friday, so it's something to do on the weekend, if you feel like eating something delicious. There are several recipes in this article, including the easy peasy, Onigiri with peas and Onigiri with Salmon.  

RICECRAFT - Onigiri Cookbook - Fall 2016

Posted on November 30, 2015 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

My new cookbook titled Ricecraft is all about Onigiri. It will come out in the fall of 2016. Onigiri is a portable finger food made of rice. The rice is shaped into a ball by hand. It is usually seasoned with a little salt and stuffed with something savory like a piece of chicken or grilled salmon, and wrapped with crispy nori. Onigiri is what my mother made for me when I was hungry. It is also the darling of the convenient stores in Japan. There are thousands of varieites. Since they are so simple to make, you can easily invent your own onigiri.

I will be posting things about onigiri on "Onigiri-a-Day" of this website.  

One of my favorite Onigiri is inari-sushi.  It is a seasoned fried tofu pouch filled with sushi rice and chopped vegetables - shitake, green beans, carrots, hijiki seaweed, and sesame seeds. This will be one of the onigiris featured in the book.  My Inari sushi mascot here wears the tofu pouch as a hat. As we were doing the photography of the book, she appeared out of the blue. I decided she had to be in the book.  


Posted on September 25, 2015 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)


I will be at SHED in Healdsburg leading Japanese culinary workshops during the month of October. Please join us.

For details, please visit Shed's website. . 

JCCNC Rice Workshop March 21, 2015

Posted on March 12, 2015 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)





I am heading to the Bay Area to teach a class on rice, one of my favorite topics. At this workshop, I will be featuring rice in all forms: Fresh and Fermented, Sweet and Savory. Come join me at JCCNC. This place has become my community away from Los Angeles.




Seasoned rice dish with sukiyaki beef, shirataki and pickled ginger

Chirashi Sushi with Seasfood, sesame and shiso

Miso Soup with Fava, tofu and herbs

Fermented Nuka pickles from scratch

Shitarama with Adzuki bean paaste

wuith Okinawa brown sugar syrup




For more information visit


Fee: $100


You will take home Nuka for your pickles


Jcccnc 1840 Sutter Street, San Francisco Tel 415-567-5505




Onigiri Workshop for Children

Posted on February 12, 2015 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Join me for a hands on Childrens Onigiri Workshop in Highland Park on February 28 from 11-2pm. $25 to participate.

For details, contact me at [email protected]  

SHED Rice Workshop, featuring Onigiri

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)


Workshop from 11am - 2pm on 2/6 $95


In the United States rice is often served as a side dish, but in Japan, rice is the centerpiece of a satisfying meal. Rice is nourishing, delicious, versatile and gluten-free. Join Sonoko Sakai, Japanese food writer and teacher, and Robin Koda, proprietor of Koda Farms, the oldest rice farm in California, as they share their knowledge and passion for rice.

Sonoko will teach a variety of classic and modern Japanese rice dishes using brown, white rice, mixed grains, and legumes while Robin will share her expertise on growing and cooking rice. Participants will learn how to make plain and sushi-style Onigiri rice balls, winter soup with Kabocha and scallion miso and Nuka pickles. For dessert students will make shiratama mochi balls with sweet azuki bean paste. After the hands-on lesson, we will sit down for a communal meal of all the things we’ve learned to prepare.


Students will take home Nuka base and complete the fermentation at home. Please bring a cutting board, kitchen knife, a plastic or glass container (3 cup size) with a lid, and an apron.


Sonoko Sakai is the founder of Common Grains, a project dedicated to providing a deeper understanding and appreciation for Japanese food and culture. She is currently working on a rice themed cookbook titled Ricecraft (to be published by Chronicle Books in Spring 2015).


Robin Koda is a third generation Japanese-Californian rice grower who, along with her brother, farms, mills, and packages heirloom rice on their homestead in the San Joaquin Valley. Koda Farms is the oldest family owned and operated rice farm and mill in California. It was Robin’s love of the cycles of rice cultivation that brought her back to the ranch after earning an MFA from the School of the Chicago Art Institute.


All workshop participants will receive 10% off in SHED’s retail store and cafe the day of the workshop, perfect for stocking up on cooking supplies to make Japanese food at home.


Grilled Ongiri - A perfect July 4 weekend BBQ treat

Posted on June 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Here is the story which appeared on Zester Daily about my favorite snack food:

Koda Farms Kokuho Rose Brown Rice Onigiri

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (1)

I opened a box of Koda Farms Kokuho Rose brown rice. It's an organic heriloom varietal grown in Northern Caliornia near Merced by the Koda farmily. I love their brown rice.  I soaked the rice overnight and cooked it in a rice cooker on the brown rice setting.  It came out fluffy and sticky   - an important factor when making onigiris.  I made two onigiris - one coated with white sesame seeds and the other with Aonori flakes.  The only seasoning is salt.  This could have made a satisfying lunch but since i had some fermented soy beans (Natto) in the fridge, I decided to put it on top of my Aonori onigiris.  Natto plain tastes plain and slightly cheesy. Add a little soy, and the flavor becomes  milder, even sweeter.  These onigiris were my lunch and dinner.

I love rice with Natto so much that i can easily say that this could be my last meal.  Some may find Natto horribly slimy and stinky but you can imagine how Asians felt when they encountered cheese.  It's all a matter of getting used to it and acquiring a taste for something fermented. Natto does your body good. It aids in digestion and it's full of minerals and fiber, and low in calories.  The combination of natto and brown rice makes a perfectly balanced meal.

Killer Onigiris

Posted on June 10, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been eating Tartine bread non-stop for breakfast, lunch and supper but after two days, I felt like eating rice for lunch.   Onigiri came to mind, but of course, I wanted to celebrate RICE CRAFT - the ongiiri book I am going to write for Chronicle Books. One of the reaasons why I was in SF was to close the deal, and closed it is!  It's a good feeling. The book will be published in Spring 2016. A long ways to go but I have to get to work because some of the manuscript is due in September. I will make killer onigiris.