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Prawn Tempura Onigiri (Tenmusu)

Prawn Tempura Onigiri (Tenmusu)

  • serves 2
  • 20 minutes

Tenmusu is a combination of crispy prawn tempura and a soft and fluffy onigiri rice ball. Using succulent tempura prawns that have been seasoned with a rich bonito sauce, these Tenmusu offer an exciting twist on the much loved onigiri lunchbox snack.

Originating from Nagoya, Tenmusu is now very popular all over Japan as a handy bite to enjoy on the go, in bento lunchbox or at a picnic. If you’re looking for an alternative to your packed lunch ham sandwich and you love Japanese food, this is the recipe for you!


260g cooked japanese rice
2 medium sized king prawns
1/2 tbsp cooking sake
2 tbsp tempura flour
1 tbsp tsuyu - diluted with 3 tbsp water
2 tbsp iced water
1/2 sheet nori seaweed - cut in half
vegetable oil for frying
pinch of salt & pepper

How To Prepare

  1. First things first, cook your rice the Japanese way by simply following Japan Centre's Japanese Rice recipe.

  2. While the rice is cooking, you can prepare your prawn tempura. Remove the prawn’s shell keeping the tail attached and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and the cooking sake and place on a plate in the fridge to chill.

  3. The next step is to mix the tempura flour with 2 tablespoons of iced water, add ice cubes if necessary. The colder the batter and ingredients before frying, the lighter and crispier your tempura will be.

  4. Start heating vegetable oil in a heavy-bottom pan until the temperature reaches approximately 170°C. Drop a bit of the batter in the pan and if it sizzles and doesn’t fall to the bottom it means that the oil is hot enough.

  5. Time to deep-fry! Dust the prawns with a little extra flour and evenly coat them in the tempura batter mix. Slide them into the hot vegetable oil and let them fry for one minute on either side until lightly golden, remove from the pan. Dip your prawn tempura into the tsuyu to add that lovely, rich bonito flavour.

  6. To create the onigiri ball wet your hands with a bit of water and fill one hand with your cooled rice. Press the rice into a flat pancake with your hands.

  7. Place the prawn tempura in the centre and fold the rice around it covering the prawn up to the tail and making an onigiri rice ball shape. You can make either shape of onigiri, triangle or a ball.

  8. When your onigiri is firm and secure wrap the strip of nori seaweed around the onigiri. The rice doesn’t have to be completely covered but the nori will help to keep the onigiri’s shape.

Tips and Information

- Use cling film or an onigiri mould to help you make the onigiri shape.