Watermelon sushi

It seems very festive to be posting a sushi recipe on the closing day of the Tokyo Olympics. I did used to be a bit sceptical of vegetarian sushi until I had some watermelon sashimi at Vegan Restaurant ‘The Allotment’ in Manchester. I always used to have sushi for lunch when working in London with 2 Itsus and a Wasabi nearby so I have missed it a lot when working from home. Home-made sushi is infinitely better than the horrible pressed rice sushi you get at the supermarket and also infinitely more adaptable. I tend to stay away from raw fish sushi just because I’m a bit wary of using sashimi-grade fish. I have tended to opt for smoked salmon and avocado in the past but some of my favourites were tempura prawn and the tuna-mustard ongiri you get from Wasabi which also avoid using sashimi. But anyway, back to this recipe as for this I used watermelon sashimi, sriracha mayo and cucumber.

Makes about 24

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup/400ml sushi rice
  • 7 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 sheets nori sheets
  • 250ml lukewarm water
  • 100g mayo
  • 1 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/3 watermelon
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • soy sauce and pickled ginger to serve

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 90 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray, chop off the watermelon peel and slice up the watermelon into 1 cm slices (thinner than mine below I think works better). Put the watermelon onto the baking tray, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.

3.) Bake for 1 hr 15, flip the slices over, then bake for another 1hr 15. Leave to cool. You could do this the day before and put the watermelon in the fridge as I did.

4.) Cook the rice with about 460ml/2 cups of water. When ready, add the sugar, some salt and pepper and 3 tbsp of the vinegar and let cool to room temperature. I find that this is the most important step in making sushi, if your rice is too hot or you haven’t used sushi rice, it’s not going to work! Even though you can see below I haven’t really spread out the rice as well as I could, my sushi have still been reasonably successful.

5.) The watermelon should have shrunk down a bit in the oven but you may need to slice it more thinly.

6.) Chop up the cucumber into sticks

7.) Mix the sriracha with the mayo in a bowl

8.) Make a water bowl with the rest of the vinegar and the 250ml water. This is really helpful for working with the rice as it’s so sticky.

9.) Get a sushi rolling mat and line it with cling film. Place on a sheet of nori then add 1/4 of the rice to the middle of the sheet. Spread the rice out with your fingers leaving a 1cm margin on the far side. Clean your fingers after with the vinegar water bowl. You can see I left margins on both sides which is probably why I ended up with 6 rolls. Also go right to the edge width ways.

10.) Spoon on a tbsp of sriracha mayo down the middle of the roll. On top of this, add sticks of cucumber and watermelon.

11.) Pick up the mat from the slide closest to you, roll it over to the other side and pull out the mat slightly so that the edge of the nori folds under the other edge. The join should be at the bottom and the moisture from the rice should stick it together.

12.) Repeat with the remaining nori and rice.

13.) Use a sharp knife to slice each roll into 6 pieces, trimming off the ends if they’re a bit scrappy. Dip the knife in the water vingear bowl between slices to stop it sticking.

14.) Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger/wasabi.

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