Why make a gunkan sushi from smoked salmon?
Not all people like raw fish in their sushi, and that is understandable. It might be that you are not sure where to get sushi grade fish, or wouldn’t know how to handle it. Some times you just want to make sushi without all that “Raw fish hassel”. So look at this recipe as a simplified version of what would be a “Salmon Gunkan Sushi. We actually have a recipe for that too 🙂
Prepare the rice
Get your hands wet with tap water (traditionally, mixed with a bit of rice vinegar) and grab some seasoned sushi rice you prepared in advance. Follow the next link if you need help preparing and seasoning sushi rice.
The amount of rice you should use depends on the size of the salmon slice used in the next step, so you might have to add or remove a bit of rice. But for now, take about two tablespoons of rice. Form the rice gently to a shape of a disk. You can start by shaping a ball of rice, and squashing gently to a disk shape.
Prepare the salmon
Take a nice looking piece of smoked salmon, and cut out its edges into straight lines. If you make a lot of Smoked salmon gunkan you might have enough cut out left overs to make a whole roll out of at the end of the process!
Make sure the size is right
At this point you should verify the rice ball (or disk) is the right size of the salmon strip. One way to verify that is by simply trying to wrap the salmon around the disk. You should have just a tiny bit of overlap (maybe 5-10% the total length) . If the rice ball is too small and you get too much overlap, add some rice and reshape. Salmon not wrapping? Take some rice out, no worries. After one or two times you will just know how much rice to use.
Now for a little bit of kitchen math: The Circumference of the rice ball is π times the Diameter. Since π ~ 3.14, and we are aiming for some overlap, the length of the salmon strip should be about (slightly less than) 3.5 times the diameter of the rice ball.
Wrap it up
This part is really simple. Just wrap the salmon around the rice and shape it bit by tightening.It should be able to stand on its own rice bottom. The salmon should be sticky enough to hold itself in place. If however it doesn’t hold, you might need more salmon overlap so use a bit less rice and try again.
Just add tobiko
A teaspoon or two of tobiko should do the trick. You don’t have to use tobiko by the way; Avocado, chopped shrimp, tuna and many different variations exist. Tobiko is decent choice though.
You can sprinkle some chopped Scallion or sesame seed on top for looks and taste.
Some would say smoked salmon sushi is not sushi. In my opinion it is a great return on investment in terms of cost and effort. If you are not going to make sushi because you don’t handle raw fish, then it is surely better than no sushi at all.
Enjoy your sushi, and please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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