Sushi rolls are a staple of Far Eastern cuisine. Made almost entirely from what can be pulled from the ocean, sushi rolls are famous for their implementation of raw meats and strong spices like wasabi
Sushi rolls obtain their structure from seaweed and rice while using fillings like crab, shrimp, vegetables or avocado. These are popular both in Eastern culture as well as in the West for several reasons, but perhaps the best part about sushi rolls are their ability to be adjusted and customized for any occasion.
Making sushi rolls that break the status quo can be an intimidating experience for anyone that’s unfamiliar with what works and doesn’t work in a sushi roll. However, since the basic ingredients are so simple, there are many fun and innovative ways for you to make sushi night something that won’t be forgotten.
Here are just four of the many creative sushi roll ideas you can try out:
1.Tampa Sushi Rolls
This fun roll can be repaired in just ten minutes and—with the exception of fresh grouper—uses primarily the same ingredients as any other sushi roll. Here’s how to make it:
Start with a fresh sheet of seaweed as a base, and place deep-fried grouper in the center. Deep fried grouper isn’t the traditional meat filling of a sushi roll but is the basis of this simple and savory menu item.
Next, layer the sushi rice as normal. Remember that sushi rice is cooked differently than regular rice, so if you’re substituting out, making your rice as sticky as possible to maintain the structural integrity of your rolls.
Spread a bit of mayonnaise across the edges of the seaweed. This will add additional flavor and help act as natural glue to hold the finished product together. If you’d like, you could spice things up with a bit of onion or seeds to make the meal less basic. Once you’re finished, roll and cut your sushi as normal and serve with traditional wasabi and ginger.
Tampa sushi rolls are creative in their simplicity—as the crunch of the group offsets the traditional sushi taste many were expecting. Whether or not you live in Florida, Tampa sushi rolls are practically designed for seaside dining.
2. Sushi Cupcakes
Not to be confused with a dessert treat, sushi cupcakes aim to replicate the look of a cupcake while still providing the traditional flavors of a sushi roll. Here’s how to make one:
Start off with seaweed and begin to fill in the center with fresh mango. For an extra kick, go for some red onions or ever jalapeños if you think you can handle it. Next, go for a light cream cheese to add a bit of concrete shape to the strange mix inside the roll. Finish off with rice, roll & cut, and serve.
Sound strange? It certainly is—the mixture of the sweetness of mango, spice of jalapeños, and neutralizing quality of cream cheese is an acquired taste. However, we think anyone with an open mind might find this mix of flavors better than they originally considered.
For an added level of presentation, serve sideways and top with shaped tuna to give you the real appearance of a cupcake! Other topping ideas include tobiko or other seafood.
3. Ham and Egg Roll
Eggs and ham sound much more accustomed to traditional American breakfast fare than something to be found in the Far East, but combining these two works makes for sushi that can be served at all times in the day.
To make the Ham and Egg roll, start with a fried egg that’s been liberally seasoned with your favorite herbs. The ham can be store-bought and pre-sliced, but if you can, seek out the freshest of ingredients and shy away from deli meat. You can also go with cubed ham for more of a loose texture for the inside of the roll.
Load up your egg and ham as you would any other meat filling to a sushi roll. Just a pinch of vinegar and some spinach are also great ways to add dimension and a bit more of a healthy spin on the roll. Once finished, roll up, slide, and serve with either more eggs, fried rice, or the standard wasabi.
Ham and Egg rolls are great ways to introduce young ones to the idea of sushi and to show them that not everything they are unfamiliar with has to be. Even if you’re not new to sushi, you might appreciate a simple (albeit Westernized) spin on a classic oriental dish.
4. Octopus Sushi
This last creative sushi roll is daring for the average American. Not everyone is used to the slippery, slimy texture of octopus, so attempting to make a sushi roll out of it is going to take some patience and a little bit of bravery.
To make octopus sushi, start with baby octopus as a base.
Boil it quickly and soak in soy sauce, before adding some garlic and cooking. You’ll also need a base of vegetables, which can be chosen by yourself to add a bit of customization to this meal. Popular choices include carrots, zucchini, and other squashes. Browned tofu is also required, so be sure to make a trip to the grocery store before attempting this dish.
Bust out the sushi mat and start with layering. Strips of your favorite vegetables, then tofu, and then finally, octopus. You might need to complete a little bit of slicing and dicing to make sure everything fits together without bursting, but after wrapping and slicing, you’ll only need to wait until everything is room temperature before chowing down.
Octopus sushi is, in many ways, the final frontier for western connoisseurs of sushi. If you’re not quite up to the challenge or don’t know how you’ll take to sushi, there may or may not be a way to order octopus prepared in other manners at your local San Diego sushi spot.
We hope we’ve given you a few ideas on what (and what not to) to stuff into your next sushi rolls. No matter how many attempts go poorly, there is nothing quite like taking a culinary creation and making it all your own.
Have you made sushi rolls?
What are your favorite sushi roll ingredients?
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