I am far from an expert sushi-maker. However, I do know what I like in my roll…so I made my own…let’s just call it, The Charlotte Fashion Plate Roll! Has a good ring to me…haha! Before you get started…take note…there are a lot of steps involved…I could not have made it easy on myself. However, this is mine…unique to me…I would definitely love for you to try making…or at the very least, inspire you to create your own. Why did I do this? Seems like every single time I order sushi, I ask them to tweak the roll…add this…take out that…etc!
Maybe, I will get lucky enough and some restaurant…out there…in the universe…maybe even Charlotte…will add my signature roll to their sushi menu! So let’s get down to the grit of this post…what is in my roll? First and foremost…I often times have a little problem with nori being a bit too tough and too fishy…so I used pink soy paper instead…click here to purchase. It has a lightness to it, and really no taste, at all. Also…you can roll with your hands, but I do suggest getting yourself a sushi mat…click here to purchase! You can even get your own sushi making kit, complete with rice paddle and chopsticks…click here!
Sushi-grade tuna…instead of the usual spicy marinade…I opted to bathe the diced tuna in ponzu sauce and toasted sesame oil…OMG! Tempura shrimp, cucumber, and toasted sesame seeds filled the remaining roll while a drizzle of Sriracha mayo , thinly sliced jalapeños, and more sesame seeds dotting the top of each piece.
Honestly…that looks pretty damn good for my first go…I could have gotten it just a bit tighter…to be honest…my first roll blew out the sides…guess I may have overstuffed! Also, if you count…there are only seven pieces…don’t ask about the eighth! Haha! This recipe will yield about 32 to 40 pieces.
Start by preparing the sushi rice. As the sushi rice is cooking, you can prepare some of the other ingredients. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Combine the rice and water in a pot. Bring to boil. Cover and allow to simmer on very low for 20 minutes. In a separate pot, combine the rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil, sugar and salt. Cook just long enough to dissolve the sugar. Cool mixture then add to the cooled rice. The rice mixture may appear a little wet, just keep mixing until the rice absorbs all of the liquid. The rice will dry as it cools.
Be sure to use sushi-grade tuna. If you are local to Charlotte, head on over to The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. for the freshest tuna. Dice the tuna. Add to a bowl and pour in the Ponzu sauce and toasted sesame oil. You can buy a bottled Ponzu or click here for my homemade version. Mix well and reserve in fridge until ready to assemble the roll.
Heat up enough oil in a cast iron pan to at least cover the shrimp halfway. The most difficult part about making the tempura shrimp, is getting the batter just right…this requires very cold water. I thought ahead and put a cup filled with cold water in the freezer as I was getting some of the other ingredients prepared. You can use ice to cool down the water, if needed. Just be sure not to incorporate the ice cubes in the batter. In medium bowl, crack and break up the egg with a pair of chopsticks. Add the ice cold water to the egg and stir. Slowly incorporate the flour into the egg/ice cold water mixture. Do NOT overwork the batter. It’s ok if there are a few lumps.
Skewer each shrimp. If the skewer is too long, just cut to fit the pot. Skewering will keep the shrimp straight during the frying process. If you do not have skewers, don’t worry…just fry without. Season each shrimp with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Lightly dust each shrimp with flour. Dip each skewered (lightly floured) shrimp in the tempura batter. Add to the hot oil and fry on both sides until golden brown. Transfer the tempura shrimp to paper towels to drain any excess oil. Salt immediately.
In a small bowl, combine the mayo and Sriracha sauce. You can incorporate as much, or as little Sriracha. Adjust the heat level to your liking. Place sauce either in a squeeze container or bag. You can snip the tip of the bag off to drizzle.
ASSEMBLE THE ROLL
Place your sushi mat down on a flat surface. Lay a sheet of the pink soy paper on the mat. Layer the sushi rice across the bottom edge (closer to you)…be sure to place the rice all the way to the side end of the paper. Sprinkle on a touch of the sesame seeds. Top the sushi rice with a layer of the ponzu tuna. Try to drain off as much of the marinade as possible.
Top the tuna with two of the tempura shrimp…tail side facing the end of the roll. Place cucumber sticks.
Start rolling. Use the mat as a guide and for grip. Try to roll as tight as you can. When you are at the end…give the roll a good squeeze for added tightness. You may have to wet the end of the inside roll with water to seal tight.
Remove roll from mat. With a serrated knife, cut the roll in half. Then double up the two halves. Wipe knife…you may even want to wet the knife for the second cut…repeat for the third cut until you have eight equal pieces (or close to it).
Plate each piece. Top each with a jalapeño slice, a drizzle of the Sriracha mayo, and another sprinkling of sesame seeds. Serve with wasabi paste and your favorite soy sauce. ENJOY!!!
This sushi roll was so fun to create…and eat…I’m thinking I may top off my next batch with a touch of caviar!