Sushi Hacking 101: how to create a masterpiece!

A busy roll

A busy roll that probably works!

The right way to create a new roll? Pick a main flavor profile, even if it’s not seafood. OK, of course it’s seafood. If you’re serving rolls with cream cheese you’re probably not creative enough to use other non-traditional combinations of ingredients!

Now pick a complementary ingredient. There are plenty of classic matches with veggies, especially ones with a bit of crunch, that you can always rely on to backup your star ingredient. The roe from the fish that’s featured in the roll is a classic theme in traditional sushi, and can be successfully used in roll creation too, so long as you can taste both. Stop right here if you’re a purist.

If you want fancy, try using either sour or sweet fruit. Mango is great for a sweet complement to some fish, and apple gives a great texture where cucumber might normally be used. A nice granny smith apple is the absolute best choice. Strawberry is a classic matchup with tuna, guava seems to work with some fishes too.

Pineapple is a challenge, both because it can be very sour, and because it can be very juicy. Pineapple and others, like banana, that people often try to use can be tricky, use at your own discretion. Your creation may not have a broad appeal, but as long as you like it right?

Very few people can balance a variety of tastes in a single roll. And yes, it’s tougher to be creative given the constraints of sushi rolls; e.g. they need to taste special not just look cool. And the SushiPro rule is to never create a flavor mix where the seafood taste is lost. That’s an epic FAIL. And remember, no matter how weird it tastes, it can always be made worse by covering in kimchi sauce.

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  • I’ve never tried sushi with fruit rolled in. It sounds like it’d make an awesome combination.

    I’m going to try and master making my first roll soon, I’ll definitely have to take your advice and be creative.

  • mdw says:

    Alexa – great! I think crunchy green apple is a killer, especially inside a roll when everything else is soft like fish, etc.

    But I love mango too, because personally I like the taste with several kinds of fish. I think the main issue (assuming you like the taste matchups) is if it’s inside the roll, sometimes having multiple “slippery” kinds of fillings make it tough for the roll to hold together. I haven’t seen anyone do it, but I don’t see why you couldn’t slice super thing, and layer it across the outside of a roll, like people often do with avocado.

    Anyway I’m curious to hear about what you come up with – please give us an update!

  • Alex says:

    Thanks for the very good idea with the mango and strawberries!
    I like experimenting a lot and have tried to make it yesterday.
    It tasted very good, I’ll try several times with fresh fruit and fish.
    Greetings from Munich,


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