This sushi shaped like panda bears is the cutest thing... almost too cute to eat. They are fun and really easy to make, and your kids will love helping you out on this meal prep. Yummy, healthy and adorable, these rounded creatures are simply made from a sticky rice ball (onigiri) and cut out nori algae, as well as some pickled ginger for a dash of color, taste and decoration (like a heart for the perfect touch for a love-inspired snack).
To make these kawaii pandas you need to cook some short grain sushi rice the Japanese way, and craft their faces and bodies with a small pair of scissors and some patience. Otherwise, if you are planning on making a sleuth of bears, you can order a Panda Onigiri Set from the Internet. Serve them as a party snack or surprise your kids by packing them inside their school lunch box.
1. Gather the ingredients
- 2 cups of sushi rice
- nori algae
- pickled ginger
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
2. Wash the rice
Wash the short grain rice several times in a bowl of cold water, or in a colander under the tap until the water becomes clear.
3. Boil the rice the Japanese way
Add 3 cups of water per 2 cups of rice into a saucepan, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Add the rice vinegar, sugar and salt, stir, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Once it has simmered, leave the rice to steam for a further 10-15 minutes for authentic Japanese stickiness. Make sure you keep the lid on at all times.
4. Cut out the nori
Cut the panda shapes in the nori seaweed paper while you wait for the rice to cool down. Make sure you do the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, feet and tail.
Shape the rice into a ball like you do with onigiri and decorate with the tiny nori cutouts and ginger.
6. Make a red panda
Get creative with your panda shapes and setting, or give your little creatures a red panda friend by mixing the rice with a little ketchup.
Photos by Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitots