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Looking for sushi maki filling ideas

I’m planning to make a big batch of sushi (maki) at the weekend to freeze – and I’m looking for ideas for fillings. In the past I’ve used combinations of smoked salmon, avocado, spinach, sesame, bottarga, asparagus, sriracha…. and I need some fresh (non meat) ideas.

I fill a lunchbox with frozen maki and take it to work for my lunch – soy sauce, wasabi and ginger can be taken separately but any ideas that incorporate them would be welcome – and yes I know ginger should be used as a palate cleanser not a sushi ingredient, but I’m a peasant and I like sushi with ginger.


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    1. re: ricepad

      Yes, really! I'd not use certain ingredients like raw onion or raw fish, but it does work very well with nori to keep it together. I freeze a big box and take what I need each day for lunch.

    2. We use carrots, celery, scallions, daikon as additional crunch and flavor components, havent tried sweet potato and omelet yet. where do you get the botarda?

      1 Reply
      1. re: dijon

        I think raw veggies may get watery if frozen? Omelette is a good idea...
        I get bottarga in London usually (I'm in the UK).

      2. How does the nori hold up to the freezing?
        I can see freezing the sushi rice, but the nori must be incredibly mushy after it defrosts.
        Bahn mi influenced-pickled daikon/carrot, jalepeno and cilantro.

        2 Replies
        1. re: AdamD

          Maki holds up really well to freezing - maybe it gets a bit chewier, but no real damage is done.
          Nori keeps its 'integrity' and does't get mushy at all.
          I've no idea if there's a health risk due to it not being reheated, but I've an iron stomach and have never suffered ill effects from eating it.

          1. re: Peg

            If its all veg or cooked protein, then there is no risk.

            Tofu, kimchi, bean sprouts, and carrots
            Kimchi and cucmber

        2. If I need inspiration for sushi fillings, I look no farther than sushi restaurant menus from around the country to see what they are offering and how they are combining ingredients. Guy Feiri’s Tex Wasabi is a good example of a restaurant offering some pretty unique types of sushi.

          I do both standard sushi as well as musabi (Spam sushi) and since you are more vegetable centric, it’s just a matter of choosing what’s available at your local market or store.

          I also like to take other Asian cuisines and either cook, prepare or add ingredients to take a different slant such as using Thai carrot and cabbage slaw with nuoc cham sauce as sushi filling.

          Another thing is I like to use eel sauce, wasabi mayonnaise or a mayo/thai sweet chili sauce/sarrachi sauce combo as a topping or mixed a in sauce or soy sauce/fish sauce/sugar/ginger heated and reduced to make a nice warm drizzle sauce.

          Roasted brussel sprouts lightly dressed in soy work well too as does roasted eggplant.

          Again, it’s all the matter of combining different non-traditional ingredients if you’re in a sushi rut.

          As for freezing sushi, I;m not even a fan of refridgerated or cold sushi since the rice hardens to the point that it becomes unpalateable so I make everything fresh or not at all. But if freezing works for ya, then go for it.

          1. Really thinly sliced lemon. So refreshing in maki, especially with smoked salmon.
            Also: finely sliced spring onions. Bean sprouts add a nice crunch - for some reason I think they would hold up to freezing, but maybe not. I would think omelette would work great.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MrsCris

              Ooooh ... that sounds nice. All of it. I really like that thin sliver of lemon idea. I always drizzle fresh lemon juice over sashimi so that's a neat concept for maki. Sometimes my market will have some really special black sprouts and they are AWESOME.

              Broiled eel or seared fish should work well. The eel is pricey but many small fish are quite reasonable at the asian markets: seared spanish mackeral, tilapia (just barely cooked rather than seared), cooked catfish, salmon (raw, seared or barely cooked), barely cooked cod, etc.

              I find that some of the best maki that we have uses a bunch of different ingredients that work really well together and bring a mix of complexity and depth to each bite. Feel free to use 2-3 types of fish, with one raw, another seared and another barely cooked. Something for crunch like daikon, cucumber, scallion, etc etc). A bit of avacado.

              Just go nuts - as long as you are using ingredients that you like, most of them will somehow harmonize in a maki. The end result is often greater than the sum of the parts.

            2. For the same reasons I would not freeze sushi (freezing changes the texture of the rice), I would not put tofu in sushi to be frozen, either. When tofu freezes, not only does the texture change - it gets spongy - but all the water crystalizes, so when it thaws, your rice will get soggy. Then again, what do I know? I tend to be fairly traditional when it comes to sushi...go ahead and experiment, you may find a combination you really like!

              1. after reading all these responses, i thought i'd throw in a few of my own ideas;

                - instead of bottarga i found a pound of frozen masago cavier capelin roe
                for $9 and shave a bit off with a spoon when i make a sushi maki dinner.
                - there are these yellow pickled turnips most Asian stores sell (daikon)
                - Russian vinaigrette works great - it's a spicy carrot & beet mixture.
                - whipped cream cheese
                - hearts of palm - Asian stores have them in a smokey BBQ sauce.
                - cocktail onions (from a jar)
                - sweet marinated red peppers (from a jar)
                - baby corn (canned)
                - I make my Tamago sushi omelet in the microwave: egg, soy sauce, Splenda.
                - boiled egg white
                - banana
                - sweet gherkin pickles
                - Kimchi sauce - i found a jar without the cabbage that keeps far longer in the fridge.
                - Lychee (canned in a sweet syrup)
                - Pineapple (canned rings not cubes)

                I highly recommend using Ziploc VACUUM bags that are cheapest at Walmart
                to keep all these wet condiments fresh for Months after they have been opened.

                Many Japanese stores sell flavor infused vinegar, that really enhance the rice.
                http://www.shih-chuan.com.tw/ehtml/pr... click "Condensed Vinegar"
                so after i make my rice, i wet it with half sweet rice vinegar, and half flavored.

                If you must freeze your sushi, here's in interesting trick you can try;
                cut your roll into large pieces that are each as long as the roll is thick.
                dip each piece in a tempura batter and fry each piece in rice bran oil,
                the contents of the sushi will cook, but it will also freeze much better.
                when ready to serve, simply defrost or nuke a minute in the microwave.
                kids and people squeamish about eating raw fish will love this variation.