Mackerel "Tenmusu" Rice Balls

Another name for onigiri is "omusubi", and an omusubi with a tempura filling is called "tenmusu". Benishoga rice filled with mackerel tempura makes beautiful tenmusu that are downright delicious!

Mackerel "Tenmusu" Rice Balls
Photographed by Shin Ebisu

Recipe by
Setsuko Sugimoto



Rice & Noodles




Calorie count is per rice ball.

Ingredients (Makes 8-10 rice balls)

  • 1/2 fillet salted mackerel (80 g)
  • Tempura flour mix (store-bought), as needed
  • 400 g cooked rice (hot)
  • 30 g benishoga
  • 8-10 pieces nori (full sheet cut into 6 equal pieces)
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • Oil for deep frying



Mince the benishoga and mix with the rice along with 2/3 tsp of salt.


Adding benishoga helps to balance out the oiliness of the tempura.


Use fish bone tweezers to remove any fine bones that may be present in the mackerel. Cut into 8-10 equal pieces and dust with tempura flour mix.


Combine 40 g of tempura flour mix with 70-80 ml of water to make the batter. Dip the fish into the batter and deep fry in oil heated to 170 degrees Celsius. Remove and drain on a rack.


Mackerel is a great fish for tempura. Crispy fried mackerel is delicious all on its own.


Divide the rice into 8-10 equal portions. Take one portion and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Make a well in the center to place one piece of tempura. Gather up the ends of the plastic wrap, twist and squeeze. Shape into a triangular rice ball.


Place the plastic wrap over a small dish with curved edges. You'll find it much easier to gather up the ends to form the rice ball.


Repeat the process to make the other rice balls. Wrap each one with a piece of nori.