Fair Trade Recipe Series: Jasmine Rice Balls

Try this delicious snack made from high-quality Fair Trade Certified ingredients

08/05/2011 - 10:14 AM

Fair Trade USA has teamed up once again with health coach Jamie G. Dougherty and by eBay to present you with another fabulous recipe in the Fair Trade and Healthy Eating series!  Last week we conducted a Facebook poll to ask you what kind of recipes you want to see created using Fair Trade ingredients. The Fair Trade USA fans chose snacks, and chose savory appetizers and meals-- so we combined the two to bring you...savory snacks!

The featured savory snack recipe we're sharing today is Jasmine Rice Balls. This is a Fair Trade twist on the traditional Japanese rice balls, onigiri.  The rice used in this recipe is Red Coral Jasmine Rice from Alter Eco. It is an ancient red grain that has been polished using an innovated technique. The polished grains remain red at the tips and have a natural coral color in the middle. The advantage of this technique is that the grains retain all the riches and minerals of the whole grain rice but are light and easy to digest. 

Farmers of the Agrarian Cooperative of Surin in eastern Thailand cultivate this Fair Trade Certified rice using traditional methods that ensure quality and respect for the environment. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been replaced with organic fertilizers and natural plant extracts to produce this premium quality, environmentally friendly rice.

By cooking with Fair Trade Certified ingredients you can rest assured that your snack, meal or dessert supports a system that benefits businesses, consumers, farmers and the earth.



1 cup Fair Trade Certified jasmine rice, rinsed

3 cups water

Pinch of  salt

Nori seaweed sheets

Filling Options:

Flaked salmon or tuna

Sesame seeds

Umeboshi plums (Japanese pickled plums)

Chopped scallions

Sautéed spinach

Marinated mushrooms


Rinse the rice under water until the liquid runs clear.   Place in a medium sized pot and combine the rice, water and a pinch of sea salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes.  When done, the water should be evaporated and the rice a bit broken down and sticky.

While the rice is cooking, toast the nori seaweed sheets on both sides by waving them over a hot burner until the nori turns dark green. Fold the nori in half, then in half again to make 4 quarters.  Tear the nori into quarters and set aside.

Moisten your hands with a bit of water and a touch of salt to prevent the rice from sticking.  Scoop out about a ¼ cup of warm rice and form into a firm ball. Poke a small hole in the center with your finger and insert a tablespoon or two of your filling of choice.  Moisten hands again and take a piece of nori seaweed and press around rice ball.  Repeat with a second sheet of nori to cover the rice completely. 

Repeat making rice balls until your ingredients are gone.  If making these for another time, be sure to put them in a glass container to keep them moist.  Enjoy!

(There are two tricks to making exceptionally delicious jasmine rice onigiri.  One: Use more water during the cooking process to make the rice sticky.  Two:  Make the balls while the rice is hot (or warm).)

Click HERE for more recipes by Jamie G. Dougherty.

08/05/2011 - 10:14 AM
08/05/2011 - 10:14 AM