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Sushi/Maki - Non Raw Fish Variations. What's Your Favorite Recipe?

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I've just started making sushi at home. So far I only made the veg version of julienne carrots, cucumber and avocado. Now that I have that done I am feeling more adventurous. My kids don't eat raw fish. I'm thinking about a grilled salmon with scallion version, spicy shrimp, (also, how do you make that spicy mayo you see in Japanese restaurants?).
What other variations have you had success with?

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  1. Here are some ideas: 1) saute mushrooms with a combination of soy, Japanese worcesteshire, sake...or use some darker miso to make a savory stew and use these along with avocado for rolls; 2) poach sea scallops very briefly and cut them, then combine with plum paste, ume, for a savory roll; 3) sear tuna and cut into small chunks and add avocado...3) mush the tuna with Japanese mayo, add Japanese hot pepper(ichimi togarashi) and if you can find them, tiny orange fish eggs to make the spicy tuna roll.) Cooked shrimp cut into pieces works nicely with ume or with avocado...Really, you can do a lot of things without raw fish...If you do use mushrooms, keep the filling pretty dry, because too moist an interior makes rolling difficult.

    2 Replies
    1. re: penthouse pup

      These all sound great! Thanks. How does the Japanese mayo differ from the Amer. version? I see it in our local Asian market.

      1. re: michele cindy

        It's slightly sweeter and has a different consistency...is also colored somewhat differently. We use the "Kewpie" brand...but there are others no doubt. By the way, you can use smoked salmon and avocado--works very well. Adding shiso leaves, if you can find them, sliced thinly, adds a wonderful flavor to many of these rolls.

    2. I make sushi at home once every couple of weeks for the past 10 years.

      The spicy mayo that I model from the restaurants I've been to is with real mayo (I don't prefer using kewpie brand, I am not a fan - I don't see the point of adding extra sugar.) And if you choose to use some sweet sugar laden glop like miracle whip, then you only have yourself to blame. Please use real mayo.

      1/3 cup of mayo
      Ichmi togarashi to taste (i'd use 1/2 tsp)
      1/2 tsp of hot chili oil
      1 tsp sesame oil

      Usually with this, I'll mix in a few heaping tbs of masago. I'll use tobiko if I want to impress.

      For cooked fish maki with the spicy mayo, I'll use heat smoked fish (salmon, trout.) cooked shrimp, regular grilled fish. If you make extra spicy mayo sauce, use it to make the best canned tuna salad the next day!!

      Also, if you like octopus, ebi, unagi, anago - these are all cooked. the eel will usually come butterflied, gutted and vaccuum sealed. so easy to prepare. You can buy btls of the bbq sauce at your Asian mkt - some of the pkgs of eel come with a little sauce packet already.

      Also, for a silly dessert, depending on how old your kids are, you might wanna look up a recipe for candy maki:
      The nori would be a fruit roll up, the rice would be a sort of rice krispie treat concoction, and red licorice would be an example of a filling - together this would look like tekka maki.

      2 Replies
      1. re: gordeaux

        Gordeaux, I don't mean to single you out because this is a common occurence: when making suggestions to people who are clearly new to a particular technique/cuisine, it would be helpful to explain more thoroughly, especially when shopping for certain ingredients is likely to involve a store whose staff isn't fluent in English. E.g. - what ichmi togarashi, masago, and tobiko are, and in what form they are sold (frozen, can, packet, fresh...?) I'm not asking about these particular ingredients, just pointing out an info vacuum. :-)

        1. re: greygarious

          Thanks for your concern! I am not new to the cuisine but you are correct, the technique of making this at home is certainly something new for me. I know all of the items mentioned by gordeaux, but I don't know about ichmi togarashi, so that one I'd love to hear more about.

      2. it's the one thing i refuse to make at home, lol, so am thinking of what i see on menus.

        poaching salmon would work too. common pairing would be salmon with cucumber or avocado. bonito flakes are really good with salmon, but don't know if the flavor might be too strong for your kids.

        tamago, which is japanese omelet made with dashi, is nice and light.

        crabmeat (or surimi) with cucumber, avocado or a little something spicy.

        tempura shrimp or tempura veg with the spicy mayo and avocado

        places serve smoked salmon with cream cheese and cucumber.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          I used to feel the same way about not making it at home, and then I gave it 1 try and now I am hooked. So much less $, and it's just as good as what you get in a restaurant.

          1. re: michele cindy

            i'm not really a fan of the cooked items and it's tough to buy very small quantities of stuff i love raw, like scallop, yellowtail and sea urchin. it's the only thing i really just don't/won't make, lol.

            good on you, though! :)

        2. I make what my family has made for more than a century: norimaki with carrot, cucumber, tamago, shiitake, and maybe kamaboko. Never avocado or mayo.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Sam-sansei:
            I read with interest and appreciation your many contributions to this board (and others) but I respectfully submit that avocado should be allowed entree into the pantheon of appreciative pleasure when putting together norimaki...it does not appropriately accompany some items, but it lends a wonderful "mouthfeel" to many...For the OP, it is a readily available and admirable ingredient...

            1. re: penthouse pup

              I guess I should give it a try given that avocados are plentiful, inexpensive, and very good here.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                sam,
                i gave into the avocado at home and it's quite good.

                i also suggest sweet egg, my favorite. i put some superfine sugar and a dash of mirin in my egg the fry it up in oil in a pan like an omelette. once out of the pan shred it so it's rollable. i also like cucumber. i julienne the cuke and squeeze some lemon juice. salt and chopped shiso, which is a leafy herb much like the basil. i would skip the mayo as well.

                1. re: trolley

                  I agree! tamago is Japanese slightly sweetened omelette.

              2. re: penthouse pup

                Penthouse pup,

                Did you mean "sensei" as in teacher or "sansei" third generation in America? Sam are you 3rd gen? I'm so mixed up, but age-wise I consider myself 3rd or Sansei. Paternal grandmother was born in Maui.

                I like kyuri-Japanese cucumber with wasabi and that's it. Dipped in shoyu, delicious. I love avocado, surimi, cucumber and a little wasabi also but it doesn't happen too often around here.

                1. re: mochi mochi

                  I am sansei at that. Where is "around here" for you?

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    I was born in Los Angeles, Crenshaw District and have been living in Gardena, Calif. for almost 20 years. I don't speak Japanese, my understanding of Spanish is better and if given a choice between sushi or a tamal, I'd pick the tamal.

                  2. re: mochi mochi

                    I meant "master/teacher" with the utmost respect! Sam's many postings invariably reflect a thoughtful, experienced perspective concerning whatever he writes about--and I very much appreciate it.

                    1. re: penthouse pup

                      Yes, I totally agree with you. I thought you meant "sensei" but maybe there was an underlying reason or something I missed in translation for using "sansei." He is a wealth of sound information and knowledge.

                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Sounds like typical Hawaiian Japanese sushi. My mom adds unagi and that dried gourd whose name escapes me. Never kamaboko. And never, ever, EVER mayonnaise.

                  1. re: DebL

                    Not so much Hawaii, but the style of our families who left Japan in the late 1800s to early 1900s - the makizushi of Hawaii, California, Peru, and Brasil. Yes, we would add seasoned konyaku, but that is not available here. Sometimes yellow daikon tsukemono, sometimes a thin sliver of the dense, dark red gari we made; and if kamaboko, the hugh quality red skinned stuff cut so you always got a bit of the red in the cross section.

                3. how traditional do you want to go?

                  the homemade futomaki i grew up on included pickled daikon radish (it's the color or mellow yellow and pretty commonly found in chinese, korean and japanese markets), boiled spinach, julienned carrots and cucumbers and tamago (layered omelette). mom served it with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. it's probably still my favorite.

                  less traditional innards might include:

                  jerk chicken and mango, peach and/or banana
                  shredded barbecued chicken and overnight cucumber pickles
                  shredded chicken and pesto
                  lobster and mango
                  crab or lobster salad
                  smoked salmon with cucumber
                  smoked salmon with jicama

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cimui

                    jicama...THAT sounds like something I'm gonna use next time!

                    1. re: gordeaux

                      if i were actually good with the peeler and not a boring ol' traditionalist, i'd try peeling jicama very thinly and using it in place of nori when making maki.

                      LOVE your idea for candy "maki" rolls, btw. there's a mail order sushi grade fish supplier that my sister and i have ordered from a couple of times. they have a pretty large minimum order, which we've used as an excuse to throw big sushi parties in the past. i think i'll have to use your candy maki idea for the next sushi party we have.

                      1. re: cimui

                        Any chance you could share your sushi grade fish source? A sushi party sounds like an awesome idea.

                  2. My mom got me to try sushi for the first time by putting fried chicken slices in her homemade sushi with julienned snow peas and red bell pepper. I've progressed since then, but I still get a hankering for her Kentucky Rolls.

                    Shrimp with daikon was another of Mom's at home sushi combos.