Rice balls with tempura, an old favourite from Japan

Musubi, or rice ball, is a Japanese recipe that is more than 2,000 years old, but the brilliant idea to add Tempura only came about in 1957. Tenmusu, a combination of Tempura and Musubi, is now one of the most popular rice balls in Japan.

Ingredients (makes 9 rice balls):
To Cook in the Rice Cooker:

  • 2 cups (rice measuring cup) short or medium grain white rice
  • Water to fill to water level 2 for white rice

To Prepare Separately:

  • 9 medium shrimp Tempura (see recipe) with 2 Tbsp. extra flour


  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

Seasoning and Wrap:

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 sheets nori seaweed
1Measure the rice accurately and place in the inner cooking pan. Rinse rice under water until water clears.


2Add water by filling up to the water scale marked “2” for “White Rice”. Cook the rice using the “Regular” setting.


3Make Tempura in a thicker batter by adding an extra 2 Tbsp. of flour to the batter.


4In a small saucepan, put soy sauce, mirin, sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
5When rice completes cooking, transfer to a medium bowl, add salt, and mix well using the rice spatula. Place a piece of plastic wrap on a small bowl and place 1/2 cup of cooked rice.
6Dip a Tempura shrimp in the sauce and place on the center of rice. Hold the rice over the plastic wrap and make a rectangle rice ball by squeezing your hands together lightly. Arrange the shrimp so the tail sticks out from the top of the rice ball. The rice ball should be firm so it does not fall apart, but the rice should remain fluffy and not smashed.


7Cut each sheet of nori seaweed into 6 strips and wrap around the rice balls. Makes 9 rice balls.