Monday, March 20, 2017

Tenkasu Okaka Onigiri / Japanese Soy Bonito Rice Balls 天かす おかか おにぎり

THIS is my favourite onigiri!!!

These Japanese soy-flavoured rice balls are SO easy to make and SO delicious!

SO delicious that I always make these onigiri for me and myself only - LOL! ... whenever I have spare tenkasu after making Takoyaki (Japanese Octopus Balls) for my family. If you are interested in cooking Takoyaki from scratch at home, my best Takoyaki recipe is at here.

SO easy that I hope that you don't mind me sharing this nice and simple recipe with you...

tenkasu okaka onigiri Japanese soy bonito rice balls
Tenkasu Okaka Onigiri
(Japanese Soy Bonito Rice Balls)

What is Tenkasu Okaka Onigiri?

Ten is from the Japanese word, tenpura, 天ぷら (tempura) and kasu is from the Japanese word, 屑 (kuzu) which means "rubbish". Together, Tenkasu refers to the by-product of tempura... You know the small bits and pieces of fried batter that are left in the oil after frying that we will eventually discard.

Okaka in Japanese means bonito flakes with soy sauce. And onigiri are Japanese rice balls.

Therefore, Tenkasu Okaka Onigiri means tempura bits soy bonito Japanese rice balls!!! Just the name itself is saying that these rice balls sounds SO delicious... Agree?

tenkasu okaka onigiri Japanese soy bonito rice balls
Tenkasu ("by-product" of tempura) + Okaka (bonito flakes soy sauce) + Onigiri (rice balls) =
美味しい oishii!
tenkasu okaka onigiri Japanese soy bonito rice balls
Always my favourite me-time
.... enjoying these flavorsome soy rice balls with crispy tempura bits :)

Without saying much, here's a video showing how I cooked my tenkasu.

And here's a video showing how I made these easy and delicious tenkasu okaka onigiri.

And here are the recipes. Hope that you will like these onigiri as much as I do.

Homemade Tenkasu

Make about 3-4 cups (750 to 1000 ml) tenkasu
250ml (1 cup) cold dashi, plus 1 to 4 tbsp to adjust the consistency later
1 tbsp white vinegar - I used Japanese rice vinegar
150g (1 cup) all purpose / plain flour
15g potato starch or corn flour
adequate cooking oil for deep frying

Combine cold dashi and vinegar into a large mixing bowl. Add all purpose flour and potato starch or cornflour into vinegar mixture and using a pair of chopsticks or a fork to mix lightly until mixture forms a dribbly crepe-like loose type of batter. If the mixture is too thick, stir in more dashi or water tablespoon by tablespoon until the consistency is dribbly enough. Do not over-mix or beat batter.

Heat cooking oil to 170-180°C or 340°F - it is important to cook tenkasu in hot frying oil.

Use a pair of chopsticks to scoop and dribble drops of batter into the hot oil and cook for 2-3 mins or until crispy. Remove and drain on absorbent paper. Repeat until all batter is used up.

Tenkasu can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or in a freezer for up to 6 months. To reheat, spread cold or frozen tenkasu in a thin layer in a large baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10 mins or until tenkasu is crispy again.

Tenkasu Okaka Onigiri inspired by the book, Simply Onigiri by Inada Sanae

Make 4-6 depending on the size and shape of your rice balls, to serve 2-3
about 250g cooked Japanese short grain rice
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, roasted in saucepan until deep golden colour
1/3 cup (80ml) tenkasu or more if desired
1 1/2 tbsp (25 ml) soy sauce or more to taste
5g bonito flakes, about one small individual sachet
5g shredded roasted nori
Japanese kewpie mayonnaise to assemble
nori strips to wrap rice balls

Combine rice, sesame seeds, tenkasu, soy sauce, bonito flakes and shredded nori in a mixing bowl and mix until combined. Add more soy sauce, if desired.

Divide rice mixture into portions. To shape, place each portion of rice into the rice mould that you like or on a sheet of cling wrap. If you are using the mould, press the rice into shapes accordingly. If you are using just the cling wrap to shape, gather the edges of the cling wrap, twist the edges together to compress the rice lightly into ball shape or any shapes that you want.

Remove rice balls from the mould or the cling wrap. Spread about 1/2 tsp of mayonnaise on one side of each nori strip and wrap the rice balls with nori. Repeat this shaping step to make the rest of the rice balls.


Happy me-time and happy nom nom nom
Please support me and like me at Facebook...


  1. Hi Zoe, can i know what's dashi?

    1. Hi Marie, Dashi is a Japanese stock that is made from kombu (dried kelp), bonito flakes (dried smoked thinly shaved skipjack tuna), anchovies or sardine, with one ingredient or in a combination of two, three or all. Cheers!