Daring Cook’s Challenge #7 – Sushi

by Jenn on November 14, 2009

in Dairy Free,Daring Kitchen,Gluten Free,Meats,Pastas and Grains,Seafood,Vegetarian


Mmm one of my favorite foods!  The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.  I was so excited when sushi was picked for this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge, even though I waited until last week to make it.  I have made sushi before, but desperately needed some practice working on my sushi rolling skills!

There were 4 parts to this challenge (full details can be seen on Audax’s post):
1. Correctly make the sushi rice
2. Make a dragon roll
3. Make a nigiri roll
4. Make a decorative or spiral roll.

Contrary to popular opinion, sushi does not mean raw fish.  Sushi actually refers to the vinegared rice that is used.  Raw fish on its own is called sashimi, and raw fish on rice is one way to make sushi.  I chose to use a short grain brown rice for all of my sushi.  I had a sushi party with my sister and some friends last weekend and made the daring cook’s sushi challenge for it.  It’s great when you can share food and fun times with others – everyone had a blast!

Let’s start with my favorite part of any meal, the dessert lol.  The sushi roll you see above is my “dessert spiral roll”, consisting of lychee, mango and pomegranate.  I love lychees.  My first experience with them was in Chinatown in Washington D.C. a few years ago.  I just love their fresh cool flavor, kind of like a flowery grape sort of taste is the best I can come up with to articulate their flavor.  I loved the combination of fruits, and any excuse to use pomegranate now that it’s in season is totally valid, but unfortunately they were so wet that the roll did not hold together well (the photo above is actually of half the roll, before attempting to cut the rest of the slices).  So instead, we ended up eating the rice and fruit anyways, which Audax (the Daring Cook’s co-host this month) informed me is called chirashi, or scattered, sushi.  My sister had never eaten a lychee before and was a bit tentative due to their odd squishy texture (which makes them great for making creepy eyeballs for Halloween), but once she did get up the nerve to try it agreed that she liked the flavor.  So if you have never had a lychee before, be brave!  It’s delicious and you will wonder how you’ve ever managed to live without enjoying this succulent fruit!


The other two rolls were for the actual dinner, and I had a bit more success with them because they were more traditional as far as sushi goes.  Nigiri is a type of sushi where little balls of rice are hand-shaped and then a topping is placed on top of the rice.  Given that I don’t really live in a location where I have access to same day catch sushi grade fish from locations outside of the N. Atlantic (where many fisheries are seriously depleted), I opted not to use any raw fish in my sushi selections.  I think this went over better with the crowd anyways.  So for the nigiri sushi, I chose to use smoked salmon (wild-caught alaskan).  I shaped the rice, and then placed on top cream cheese, salmon, and a cucumber slice, all tied together with a strip of nori (seaweed).  This was by far the star of the night!  Everyone loved the lox nigiri rolls.


My third roll was the dragon roll.  For this, one needs to roll an inside out roll and then cover the top with avocado (or seafood) and present it snaking across like a dragon.  For this, I marinated some chicken tenderloins using a Korean BBQ marinade recipe (Epicurious) and then just cooked it in a frying pan.  Also in my roll went some cucumber, carrot, and pickled daikon.  Rolling this wasn’t that hard, it just took some forethought – like remember to cover your sushi mat with some seran wrap so that the rice doesn’t stick and of course don’t overstuff the sushi (a chronic issue I have when making sushi).  Once rolled, the outside was sprinkled with sesame seeds and avocado slices went on top.

For dipping, I made a mixture of tamari and sesame oil, and I also brought some sirachia with me.  In the end, we all put a dollop of srirachia (hot chili sauce) on our plate like one would ketchup, and just dipped the sushi in the sirachia, haha. Not really traditional, but then neither was my sushi :)

One tip that I found very useful is this – when cutting the rolls, clean and wipe down your very sharp knife after every slice. If you have a particularly fat sushi roll, it may take 2-3 slicings with the knife before you can cut all the way though.  Just be patient and you will have nice clean cuts on each sushi slice.

Wow what a lot of fun “challenge sushi” was! Can’t wait to see what next month’s challenge will be!


Heather @ Life, Gluten Free November 14, 2009 at 12:44 am

Lovely :) We love sushi too, especially avocado rolls that we make.

pia (taga_luto) November 14, 2009 at 1:17 am

Beautiful pictures! I love the dessert sushi. I was thinking of that too but i’ll be using sweet sticky rice w/ mangoes just didn’t have to actually make them But you’ve inspired me to do it. Now if i will only have enough time, i will for sure make them on my next day off.

Bridget November 14, 2009 at 1:17 am

Your sushi looks absolutely beautiful (even though my only experience with lychee was, blech!) :) Really though, I’ve made sushi several times, and it never comes out as clean as yours did.

Audax Artifex November 14, 2009 at 3:38 am

Your chirashi sushi, or scattered sushi,with lychee, mango and pomegranate is outstanding it looks so beautiful and elegant well done and your lox nigiri is inspired and that dragon is so luscious. And of course it sounds like you had a ball doing the challenge. Cheers from Audax in Australia. Lovely photos also.

Lauren @CoffeeMuffins November 14, 2009 at 4:53 am

Your pictures look amazing, I had a similar idea to yours to make a desert sushi, although it looks like yours turned out much better than mine. Love the idea of lychee and pomegranate!

veganpower November 14, 2009 at 7:18 am

Oh very nice ! Very pro and perfect sushi !
Great Job Jenny 😉
Thank you for your feedback 😉
Have a good wek-end


wic November 14, 2009 at 8:16 am

Your sushi is so pretty, the pomegranate looks like jewels.

Lauren November 14, 2009 at 10:44 am

Wow Jenn! Just wow! Your sushi is absolutely gorgeous – fabulous job =D.

Winnie November 14, 2009 at 11:52 am

Awesome job…your sushi is just lovely! Looks like professional sushi bar fare!

Rose November 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Great job! I love that dessert roll 😉 Lychees are SO good!!! Everything looks top notch. I love sriracha as well 😀 Tradition can go out the window! LOL

Amy I. November 14, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Stunning! I love, love, love the fruit one. A friend of mine used to make fruit nigiri and call it fru-shi! Bummer it fell apart, but it was gorgeous nonetheless. I love lychees too. Your sister is one lucky gal :)

chef_d November 14, 2009 at 1:13 pm

gorgeous looking sushi! lychee is one of my favorite fruits too :)

Mokedar November 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Absolutely beautiful. The colors are fantastic, but specially the pomgranate is an excellent final touch!

Jenny November 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Your sushi looks stunning. Beautiful photography! I love the fruit one, and I agree, lychee is very very tasty! Wonderful job!

Valérie November 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Terrific job on this challenge! Everything looks perfect! The pomegranate’s colour really adds a beautiful touch in your dessert spiral.

sue zumout November 15, 2009 at 6:39 pm

I love that you used fruit in your sushi – that was really creative – and it looks so beautiful too. You aced that challenge. :)

bake in paris November 16, 2009 at 6:38 am

Jenn, love the dessert sushi. It looks great and that is all that matters. Maybe you can give it another try with other range of fruits. :-)


Alta November 16, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Great-looking sushi! I love it.

Jennie November 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Your photos sushi looks stunning and so do your photos!

Jennie November 18, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Sorry, I meant to say…Your sushi looks stunning and so do your photos!

jen November 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm

When I tried to make brown rice for sushi rolls, it turned into a gummy mess…your suggestions on how to adapt sushi rice instructions to brown rice?

Lisa November 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Wow..wow wo..such a creative and mouth watering array of sushi! I’m awed..seriously. I especially love the fruity sushi..the pomegranate shines like a little jewel!

Jenn November 18, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Hmm I really didn’t do anything different from the recipe – I just made sure to use a short grain brown rice and was really meticulous about specifically following all of the directions provided for cooling/fanning the rice, etc. Did you add in too much vinegar maybe?

Libby November 19, 2009 at 10:04 am

Beautiful rolls and beautiful pics! I love your double decker nigiri!

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