Outside-the-Box Sushi Ideas
Purists might want to look away. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill sushi. I first came up with the idea of including, well, anything in sushi simply because I was broke. Blocks of sashimi-grade tuna and salmon are not exactly cheap or easy to come by.
So instead, I embarked to see exactly what I could include in sushi; what were winners and what didn’t work out so well.
Before we get into some roll ideas, I’ll give you some pointers on how to build your own:
- Don’t use things that might have a significant amount of moisture
- When I moved to Germany, I celebrated by trying to make a “German sushi roll”. It was some sort of sausage/wurst, another cured meat, stone-ground sweet mustard, sauerkraut, and something else. Welll, the sauerkraut was a little too wet and the roll didn’t stay together. Even if it did, the taste was meh.
- Try to make a roll that has some sort of dipping sauce that would go well with it. Traditional sushi uses a soy sauce/wasabi or tamari/wasabi mix. Sushi lends itself to dipping.
- For example, one of the rolls I’ve made was one of my favorite sandwiches converted into a roll. Smoked turkey, ham, tomato, spring mix, brie cheese, raspberry jam. For the dipping sauce, I took some raspberry jam and mixed it with yogurt to pour on top or for dipping.
So with that, I’ll go into a couple ideas. Several are in the above picture.
Thai-inspired Breakfast Sushi (First picture above)
- Eggs, scrambled with minced onions and garlic.
- Let the eggs cook in one layer and don’t break them up – kind of like an omellete. Flip and cook the other side. When making the sushi, cut the egg mixture into strips for rolling.
- Sundried tomatoes
- Thai Basil
This roll goes well dipped in soy sauce. I’ve also tried it with a hot sauce such as Texas Pete and it goes well.
Sweet and Spicy Roast Beef, Goat Cheese, and Bacon Roll
- London port roast beef
- 2-3 slices of bacon
- Hot pepper jelly
- Herbed goat cheese
- A bit of spring mix
- Tomatoes, with the liquid center stripped out.
When assembling the roll, put down the roast beef, bacon, and goat cheese first. Spread about 1.5-2 tbsp hot pepper jelly across the top of the ingredients; if you put it directly on the rice it can make the rice a bit too slippery to hold together. Finish by putting a very small handful of spring mix.
Italian Beef Carpaccio Roll
- Raw, extremely thinly sliced carpaccio grade beef
- Finely diced red onion
- Freshly shredded Parmesan Reggiano
- Fresh Italian basil
- Nonpareil capers
- Fresh parsley
- Cucumber for crunch/texture
- Extra virgin olive oil
Assemble the roll with all ingredients, except for the olive oil. After assembly, top with 1-2 capers per piece, a bit of extra parmesan on top, and drizzle with EVOO.
Balkan Cevapcici with Ajvar Roll
Cevapcici is a Balkan (Croatian I think?) casing-less, finger sausage with lots of garlic. You can look up a recipe online; they’re fairly easy to make. A simple recipe:
- 1/2lb beef and 1/2lb pork
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix everything together, and form into finger sausages. Put on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 6 minutes per side.
Ajvar is a Balkan red pepper spread, sometimes with eggplant as well. It can be purchased in any international market.
Now, for the roll:
- A couple cevapcici
- A small amount of vidalia onion (cut open and take the outside ring, break it, put it in the roll)
- Roasted, salted eggplant slices
- Fresh parsley
- Ajvar spread on the ingredients.
For a dipping sauce, tzatziki works very well.
And there you have it! Really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to making your own creative sushi rolls. Enjoy!