Sushi Pizza Theory – the Crust

Sushi pizza made with tempura rice crust

Sushi pizza made with tempura rice crust

Crust is the foundation of pizza. It starts with making dough from carefully selected glutenous flour. The dough is proofed, stretched out and baked with toppings. It’s the substrate for the real flavor stars on top. It’s also the firmest texture, assuming you didn’t burn some toppings.

For sushi anything, sushi rice is the starch, no two ways about it. Many stray at this point and use tortillas, or even pizza dough! But how to make rice firm enough to stand up to toppings? You can hold it together in a large shape by adhering it to nori, but for the firm texture perhaps a thin layer of cucumber or daikon is in order? Follow it up with another sheet of nori to really solidify this layer.

For the hardcore sushi hackers, note that a rice flour dough is absolutely the “purist” path to take here, but just too difficult to master for all below Iron Chef status. Not sure how hard it would be to get the chewiness that characterizes great pizza crust, some might want to experiment with mixing other flours, as in the pizza world.


So one technique for you sushi ninjas is to form a crust from a sticky batch of vinegared rice and grill it. Yes grilled, as perfectly executed by Mikado Rest in Edmonton, Alberta. High enough heat to produce a hard enough crust, but not destroying the relatively delicate rice.

Shokudo Sushi Pizza

Shokudo tavern cut Sushi Pizza served on this cool plate actually sports a baked rice crust

Shokudo Japanese Restaurant in Hawaii sells a sushi pizza with a baked rice crust. How exactly they get the whole crust to adhere sufficiently to put in the oven is not clear, but they’re not giving away their secrets. Perhaps it’s delicate and placed gently on a cooking stone?

Another technique used, as successfully employed by Yuukai in Montreal is a tempura fried rice crust. Once battered and fried it should hold together sufficiently, and it’s not too demanding a technique for the average joe. The trick would seem to be to not overly cook it, so the inside is soft enough to cut without having the entire crust crumble.

Finally note that many places will pan-fry the rice crust as shown in the top photo, to get that essential “crunch” going. This would seem to be the easiest method for the home experimenter. Our recommendation is high heat to get that chewy interior without resorting to making the crust too thick.

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3 Comments »

 
  • Sushi Addict says:

    Sushi pizza! Never heard of that one! Honestly, I can’t say it looks delicious, but that’s just another reason for me to head on over and try it, because I’m too curious! I like the idea of the sushi rice functioning as the crust (I guess there’s not other way to do it is there?) The salmon slices look like exotic cheese. Is the pizza in each photo above meant for one person? Big enough to share?

  • mdw says:

    Thanks for the comment, and BTW I’m not a big fan of sushi pizza. But since it’s getting more popular I thought I’d tale a look. It’s also proving to be a creative playground for new age sushi innovators; see Iron Chef Morimoto’s famous take on sushi pizza for more on that.

    By the way, he does not use rice for the “crust” part, but a tortilla I think. Rice seems like the way to stay true to the spirit of sushi tho IMO.

  • Colleen says:

    the Sushi Pizza at the Firehouse Grill in Nanaimo, BC is THE BEST!! They have three kinds. I had two of them – the Meatlovers (molten sauce, crisp slaw, pulled BBQ pork & blackened bacon) and the Seafood (avocado, crab, unagi, teriyaki sauce & sesame seeds

 

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