Japanese Tiger Prawn Sushi [Kuruma-Ebi]


Japanese Name and Pronunciation:

kurumaebi in Japanese


In Japan, “kuruma-ebi,” also known as Japanese tiger prawn, holds a special place in the realm of “nigiri” sushi. Nigiri sushi is a traditional style of sushi where a small, oblong-shaped mound of vinegared sushi rice is topped with a slice of fresh seafood. Kuruma-ebi nigiri sushi is particularly beloved for its exquisite taste and delightful texture.

Kuruma-ebi nigiri sushi is not only delicious but also a feast for the eyes. Among all sushi toppings, the vibrant red and white stripes of the kuruma-ebi add a special touch of splendor, reminiscent of the traditional makeup “kumadori” used in kabuki theater to portray historical characters. Its stunning appearance truly sets it apart, making it a captivating favorite among sushi connoisseurs.

The natural, wild-caught kuruma-ebi is said to be in season from June to August, while the farmed variety is considered in season from December to February. However, in reality, kuruma-ebi is delicious throughout the year.

Kuruma-ebi is a type of Japanese tiger prawn known for its sweet and succulent meat. When used as a topping for nigiri sushi, it showcases its full flavor potential. The sweetness of the shrimp perfectly complements the subtle acidity of the vinegared sushi rice, creating a harmonious and delectable combination.

The current prevailing cooking method for “kuruma-ebi” (Japanese tiger prawn) in nigiri sushi is “boiling.” Just before assembling the sushi, the prawns are boiled. The post-boiling preparation of the prawns requires advanced skills from sushi chefs, as even the slightest trace of the prawn’s dorsal vein can result in an unpleasant odor.

When served, kuruma-ebi nigiri sushi is typically enjoyed by dipping the shrimp side into a small amount of soy sauce and adding a touch of wasabi to enhance the overall taste experience. The result is a delightful burst of flavors and a satisfying texture that delights sushi enthusiasts.

Whether enjoyed on its own or as part of a sushi assortment, kuruma-ebi nigiri sushi exemplifies the artistry and appreciation for fine seafood in Japanese culinary culture. Its appeal lies not only in its taste but also in the cultural significance of sushi as a culinary art form, making it a must-try delicacy for anyone exploring Japanese cuisine.

Ingredients for This Dish

Japanese Tiger Prawn [Kuruma-Ebi]
White Rice
Pure Rice Vinegar [Junmai-su]
Soy Sauce [Shoyu]