You can not leave Nagoya without trying Tenmusu! Dashi flavoured and battered deep fried plump prawn filled Onigiri or Omusubi rice ball wrapped with sheet of seaweed like Japanese doll wearing traditional kimono.
What is Tenmusu?
Tenmusu is a combination of two delicious Japanese foods: Tempura prawn and Omusubi(onigiri rice balls). This combination of flavours is so insanely delicious and is easily one of my favourite Japanese foods. It’s easy to make and a great food to pack for lunch because you can eat it on the go!
4 reasons you should make Tenmusu
- It is just damn delicious! The prawn tempura itself has such a delicious flavour because the batter has a salty taste from the tentsuyu (the sauce that is usually used as a dipping sauce for tempura). If you can’t get tentsuyu then you can just add a bit of soy sauce, sake and mirin to the batter instead!
- Eating Tenmusu can make you feel like you have been to Nagoya. Nagoya is most famous for tenmusu but it actually originated in Tsu city in Mie prefecture, which is where I used to live! I used to eat these so much when I lived there and I have to eat it whenever I go to Nagoya. I’m going back to Japan this year so I can’t wait to go eat these again but the homemade version is just as delicious.
3. It changes your life. You will wonder why you didn’t know that Tenmusu existed. My daughter has deemed Tenmusu a “life changing food”, which is what she likes to call food that is so delicious that it changes her life.
4. It is super easy to make. Preparing for perfectly straight tempura prawn is a little hustle to do but for Tenmusu, tempura prawn should be curled up and round so just peel and devein is required for Tenmusu prawn.
2 secret ingredients in the tempura batter
Japanese mayonnaise : Japanese mayonnaise is basically made out of egg, oil, and vinegar. When I make tempura batter, I add 1-2 tbsp of Japanese mayonnaise instead of adding egg. Because Japanese mayonnaise takes out the moisture in the batter when it is deep fried so you get crispy and crunchy tempura.
Tentsuyu: Tentsuyu is a special dipping sauce for Tempura. It is usually made with dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sake. It is subtle flavour but packed with umami. It can be purchased in a bottle in Japan that is usually 3 times concentrated. I usually buy those store bought bottled tentsuyu. If you are unable to find them, you can add 1tsp of soy sauce, mirin, and sake each instead.
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- 2 cups uncooked rice
- 2 seaweed sheets
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 prawns
- Oil for frying
- 50 g plain flour
- 15 g tsuyu *1
- 10 g Japanese mayonnaise
- 50 g ice cold water
- Cook the rice according to your rice cooker instructions or cook in a pot. *2
- Prepare the prawns by peeling off the shell, removing the tail, and cleaning out the inside.
- Put all the batter ingredients into small bowl and stir until it's just mixed and refrigerated until just before deep frying.
- Heat some oil to 180c(356F).
- Take the batter bowl out of the fridge.
- Dip the prawns into the batter then deep fry them all for just a couple of minutes (be careful not to overcook).
- Place a sheet of cling wrap into a rice bowl and put some rice (1/8 of the amount of rice) into the bowl.
- Make a small well in the centre of the rice and place 1 prawn into the centre.
- Fold the cling wrap together and shape the rice into a triangle around the prawn.
- Slightly grill the seaweed sheets and cut each sheet into 4 long strips.
- Remove the cling wrap and put one seaweed strip around the rice.
- Repeat for the remaining rice and prawns.