Folded Aburi Salmon Sushi With Mentaiko Mayo — Kids Can Make This Too
Easier to make than the traditional sushi roll — just fold away.
It’s that time of the year again when your kids are home for the holidays. And not in the romantic Hallmark Christmas movie sense, where grown-up children return to see their parents, but in the pandemic sense where the younglings are bouncing off the walls and you’re trying your darndest to work from home. In times like these, a cooking activity is fun, hopefully calming, and ultimately rewarding for the whole family.
Just about everyone loves sushi. But not everyone is adept at rolling sushi. A too-loose roll flops about flaccidly, making it difficult to cut through and, eventually, a mess. Thanks to the viral folded kimbap trend (kimbap being the Korean answer to Japanese sushi rolls), we decided to put together a tutorial for these folded sushi filled with the crowd-pleasing combination of aburi (partially torched) salmon topped with umami mentaiko (salted cod roe) mayo and sliced avocados. They're more forgiving to make as they require less neatness and skill than the traditional roll — and boy are they Instagrammable. Each piece is thick, about the size of your palm, looks sorta like a sandwich and is plenty filling.
If you’d rather not use raw fish, replace the salmon with crab sticks or crab leg meat that’s sold in the frozen section of Japanese supermarkets like Don Don Donki. Suffice to say, you can use whatever you want for the filling, like julienned carrots, a layer of tobiko (flying fish roe; see main photo), omelettes… you get the picture. Just make sure that any moist ingredients are patted dry with a paper towel before laying them on the seaweed, which would otherwise wilt under moisture. You can get the young ones to help with this part of the process.
If you don’t have a blow torch, you can sear the salmon slices over a hot pan for a few seconds before transferring to the nori sheet (just supervise the kids when flames are involved, obviously). Or don’t sear them at all. And if you don’t want to bother with mentaiko mayo, you can just use plain Japanese mayo. Really, all of it is up to you.
Makes 4 pcs
2 cups Japanese short-grain rice
1½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 mentaiko (salted cod roe) sac
4 large sheets yaki nori (seaweed, about 25cm x 25cm)
125ml Japanese mayonnaise
250g sashimi grade salmon, thickly sliced
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
shoyu and wasabi, for serving
1. Place rice in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 30 mins to 1 hour.
2. Drain and rinse rice several times till the water runs almost clear. Drain rice completely.
3. Place rice in a rice cooker with the 425ml of water and cook according to rice cooker instructions.
4. Place salt, sugar and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Stir to mix until most of the sugar is dissolved.
5. As soon as the rice is cooked, transfer to a large mixing bowl.
6. While the rice is still steaming hot, drizzle the sugar mixture over the rice and stir with a fork to distribute the mixture evenly.
7. Cover bowl with a clean dish towel and leave the rice to cool completely before using.
8. To make the mentaiko mayo, squeeze the roe out of the mentaiko sac into a medium-sized bowl. Discard the sac. Add the Japanese mayo and stir to mix. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or a piping bag. Set aside
9. To assemble, place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on your work surface. Using the tip of a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, cut a slit from the centre of the sheet to the left of it.
10. Spread a square of rice on the top left quarter of the nori sheet. Do the same on the bottom left half. Be sure to leave a border around both squares of rice.
11. On the top right quarter, arrange the sliced salmon to form a square. If your mentaiko mayo is in a piping bag, snip the corner of the bag and pipe the mayo in a zigzag pattern over the salmon.
12. On the bottom right quarter, arrange the slices of avocado to form a square, again leaving a border around it.
13. Using a blow-torch, gently torch the mentaiko mayo on top of the salmon till you get a light layer of char. Be careful as the oils from the salmon will sputter as they are torched.
14. Fold the nori from the top left quarter of rice over and on top of the top right quarter of salmon.
15. Now fold downwards to the bottom right, over the avocado, then fold towards the bottom left. You’ll now have a sushi sandwich of sorts. Press down the sides to seal and slice into half, if you like.
16. Repeat with the rest of the rice and ingredients. Serve immediately, with shoyu and wasabi on the side.