Roll Your Own Sushi

There's nothing more fun than picking a theme for your date night in the kitchen. We are going to walk you through a Japanese themed dinner complete with sushi recipes and drink pairings! We are focusing on three sushi recipes: sweet potato roll, chicken teriyaki roll, and a spicy tuna cone roll.

Drink Pairings

While we would like to suggest sake to continue with the Japanese theme, it is actually a myth that sushi is the only pairing for sake. In fact, it is quite difficult to pair sake with sushi, because they both have the same main ingredients – rice and sugar. Pitting sushi and sake against one another is like a rice and sugar showdown, rather than a complementary experience. If you do want to pair sake with sushi, Junmais are the best option. Rather, let's look at the best option to complement your sushi recipes...

Cremant or Japanese Beer

"Sparkling wine and Japanese beer are sushi's BFFs. The idea is that both of these beverages keep the palate cleansed so you can focus on the quality of the sushi. For sparkling wine, get a nice Cremant (a French sparkling wine made in the Champagne method from a region outside of Champagne.) Cremants give you some of the complexity you crave from a Champagne but for a fraction of the price. J. Laurens and Macle are both tasty. For a cool Japanese beer, check out Koshihikari Echigo."—Josiah Baldivino, Michael Mina (San Francisco)

Sweet Potato Sushi Roll (With Quinoa)

For those of you who are not a fan of raw fish, here is a vegetable roll (yes, sweet potato is a vegetable) that still boasts a lot of flavor.

Ingredients

For the quinoa:

  • 1 1/2 quinoa, rinsed, and drained
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBSP wine rice vinegar

For the rest:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, matchstick slices
  • Spinach leaves
  • 1 sheet nori
  • Tamari
  • Pickled ginger
  • Wasabi paste

Method

Sweet potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut sweet potato into long, ½” thick slices. Cut again into long ½” strips.
Toss with oil and spread on a baking sheet.
Roast for about 15 minutes or until crisp-tender and beginning to brown.
Remove from oven, cool. 

Quinoa:
Combine quinoa and water in a medium pot with a lid.
Bring to a boil, lower heat, and cook for 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Transfer to a large bowl to partially cool.
Add the combined rice wine vinegar, honey and salt, then cool completely. 

Sushi:
When ready to roll sushi, have all prepared vegetables, a small dish of water, and the quinoa near your work area.
Place bamboo rolling mat inside plastic bag with half sheet nori on top (rough side up) and almost to the edge of the mat closest to you.
Wet hands so rice doesn't stick to your fingers. 
Spread it evenly in a thin layer on the nori, leaving a small border on the edge farthest edge. Place 1-2  spinach leaves in the center of the quinoa, parallel to the bottom edge.
Arrange a few slices of the other vegetables in a line on the spinach.
Hold edge of mat with thumbs, lift it along with the filling and roll away from you.
Hold the roll and filling firmly, continue to roll with the sushi mat now on top of the roll.
Firmly press the roll to tighten it and seal the edge with water.
Slide the roll off the mat and cut into individual pieces with a sharp knife.
Serve with pickled ginger, tamari and wasabi paste.

Chicken Teriyaki Sushi Roll 

For those of you who are not a fan of raw fish BUT would still like protein in their meal, here is an excellent chicken teriyaki sushi recipe. 

Ingredients

For the sushi rice:

  • 1 cup sushi rice (will yield 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBSP wine rice vinegar 

For the rest:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (in teriyaki sauce, cooked)
  • 2 tbsps teriyaki sauce
  • 1 Cucumber 
  • 1 sheet nori
  • Tamari
  • Pickled ginger
  • Wasabi paste

Method

Chicken:
Add olive oil and sesame seed oil.
Add chicken to hot pan, flipping both sides until cooked (medium).
Apply thick sweet teriyaki sauce after chicken is cooked.
Put to side.

Sushi:
When ready to roll sushi, have all prepared vegetables and chicken, a small dish of water, and the rice near your work area. 
Place bamboo rolling mat inside plastic bag with half sheet nori on top (rough side up) and almost to the edge of the mat closest to you.
Wet hands so rice doesn't stick to your fingers.
Take 120 g rams (4 ounces) of cooked sushi rice and spread out evenly over half sheet, leaving a small border on the edge farthest edge. 
Flip the sheet over with rice (so that rice is facing toward bamboo rolling mat).
Place two pieces of chicken.
Place a couple thinly sliced cucumber pieces.
Drizzle teriyaki sauce.
Pull bamboo rolling mat over, compress, let go, pull forward and over, compress again, let go, and repeat one more time. 
Cut into 6 pieces with sharp knife and serve!
Serve with pickled ginger, tamari and wasabi paste.

Here is a great video showing you the steps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrzXv14QNQA

Spicy Tuna Roll (Cone)

Finally, a recipe for our raw fish lovers! I am happy to present to you (my personal favorite) spicy tuna roll. This time we thought we would try a cone roll to make it more fun!

Ingredients 

For the sushi rice:

  • 1 cup sushi rice (will yield 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBSP wine rice vinegar

For the rest:

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or kewpie
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (depending on spice tolerance) 
  • 1/2 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna, cut into a small dice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black sesame seeds 
  • 6 toasted nori sheets
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • Handful of Asian mix sprouts 

For the dipping sauce: 

  • 2 tablespoons ponzu sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • sesame seeds or green onion as garnish

Method

Tuna:

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and Sriracha until the color turns a pale, salmon-like color.
Add the ahi tuna, and toss until the tuna is thoroughly coated.
Salt to taste.
Adjust the Sriracha amount according to your liking; I added an extra squeeze or two because I welcome spice.
Sprinkle in the black sesame seeds and toss the mixture once more. 

Sushi:

When ready to roll sushi, have all prepared vegetables and chicken, a small dish of water, and the rice near your work area. 
Place bamboo rolling mat inside plastic bag with half sheet nori on top (rough side up) and almost to the edge of the mat closest to you.
Wet hands so rice doesn't stick to your fingers. 
Take 120 g rams (4 ounces) of cooked sushi rice and spread out evenly over half sheet, leaving a small border on the edge farthest edge.
Top the rice with a spoonful of the tuna mixture, a few pieces of julienned cucumber and a small handful of Asian sprouts.
Roll the hand roll by starting at the lower left hand corner of the nori sheet. Roll up, creating a cone-shape, being sure you're rolling it as tightly as possible so the fillings won't fall out.
Repeat the filling and rolling process until all of your hand rolls are assembled.

Sauce:

In a small ramekin, combine the ponzu sauce, soy sauce and top with a dash of sesame seeds or green onion. Serve with hand rolls. 


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