Monday, November 28, 2011

Deli Sushi

You know there are at least ten people on this planet who insist they personally know the person who invented deli roll.
True fact.
Well guys, I call this one:
 I served this last week as an appetizer. We had a huge platter of it in the middle of the table, with a few smaller salads on the side. (Don't worry, I have pictures of them all ready for future Real Food Wednesdays!) It was lots of fun, and being that Big D. is a self proclaimed fish hater, and my Super Awesome Sister-In-Law was there too, and she is also a self proclaimed fish hater (really? You are going to try to convince me that this does not run in the family??) they had a lot of fun pretending that they were eating sushi. While it does not taste like real sushi due to the lack of nori and fish, it was still a big hit!

Deli Sushi
2 cups sushi rice (Japanese short grained rice)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar ( I used plain distilled vinegar. Shhhhh...don't tell anyone.)
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt

4-6 ounces deli- pastrami or corned beef
1 chicken breast
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
red pepper

ketchup & mustard (optional)

Important caveat:
This is my first time making sushi rice, let alone anything sushi related. And I do not plan on making authentic sushi ever in my life, when I can go to the takeout and get perfectly delicious sushi. And yes, you can quote me on that. So, any instructions here are completely a result of my 3 minute Google education on sushi making. If you are a professional sushi chef, please do not judge or critique my technique! This worked fine for Deli Sushi, and that was my goal. Thanks!

Place sushi rice in a strainer, run cold water over it,  and rinse until the water runs clear. (Don't skip this step.) Once the rice is rinsed, pour it into the pot you will be cooking it in. Fill the pot with water to a level just slightly higher than the level of the rice. Let the rice sit in the water for about 30 minutes. While the rice is soaking, prepare the rice seasoning. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot.  Heat the vinegar mixture until the sugar and salt have almost entirely dissolved. Don’t let the mixture boil.  As soon as the salt and sugar have dissolved, remove the mixture from heat. After the rice has soaked for 30 minutes, turn on the flame and bring the rice/water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, lower the heat to the smallest flame and cover the pot. Since the rice is steamed, not cooked, its very important to keep the pot covered the entire time- no peeking! After about 10 minutes, take a quick peek to see if the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. If the water absorbed, but the rice is still hard, add a splash of water and allow it to steam for a few more minutes. Once it is cooked, remove the rice from the flame, transfer rice to a larger bowl, and allow to cool. According to sushi experts, you should not use a metal bowl, since it will affect the taste of the rice. You also should use a wooden spoon to ensure that the grains of rice do not get damaged. Once the rice is transferred and cooling, pour the rice seasoning over the cooled rice, and gently stir until it is thoroughly combined. 

To prepare the filling:
Spray a small frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Slice the chicken breast into 2-3 smaller pieces. Add chicken to frying pan, spread barbecue sauce on top. Cook over medium flame, 2-3 minutes on each side, until chicken is no longer pink. Allow to cool. Once it cools, slice each piece into narrow strips. Slice the avocado and pepper into thin strips as well.

To assemble the deli sushi:
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface. Arrange the deli in a large rectangle, about 8''x10''. Gently press the rice mixture down on top of the deli, keeping it as smooth and flat as possible.  If you would like to put ketchup or mustard in the sushi roll, spread it thinly over the rice. (I decided to skip this to keep the flavors as close to authentic sushi as possible.) On the side of the roll, about an inch inwards, lay the chicken strips, avocado strips and pepper strips.

To roll:
Gently pick up the parchment paper to help you roll the first "roll." Pull the roll back towards you to ensure that it is rolled as tightly as possible. Let the parchment paper fall back to the counter and continue rolling up, keeping the roll as tight as you can. Roll the entire roll back up in the parchment paper to keep closed, and transfer to a pan. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight to help the deli sushi keep its form, before slicing. Slice with a sharp serrated knife and make sure to cut all the way to the bottom- otherwise the deli is still connected, and will ruin the slices. 


Here's what it looked like before I rolled it up: 

This video explains very clearly how to roll up the roll:



  1. As someone who ate this, I can attest that it was AMAZING! And it was fun pretending to eat sushi!

  2. What a clever idea! It looks fabulous!

  3. As it has deli in it, I'll eat basically anything!

  4. looks like fun.
    How many slices would you say you got out of this recipe?

  5. Thanks! It made two fat rolls, and each roll got about 8 large slices from it.

  6. Thank you so much it looks fantstic!Did the rice get hard from the refrigeration? I would love to make this as a starter for shabbos day for my sons bar mitzva but if I make it 2 or 3 days before would it still be good?

  7. Thank you for a fantastic idea!Would love to make it for my sons bar mitzva as a shabbos day starter-did the rice get hard from refrigerating it?Thanks again!

  8. Thank you Bex- The rice did not get hard- I kept it wrapped in the parchment paper until I was ready to serve. I would say 2 days should be fine, 3 would be iffy. I'm sure it will be gorgoues- Mazel tov :)

    1. Thanks so much I will practice and see if I can stretch it to 3 days (as long as I have at least 2 days before to prepare tho is really helpful!)I'll keep you posted!

    2. That is really smart to practice! I am sure it will be fine, but its good to know for sure.


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