Salmon and ginger hand rolls with miso sauce

I find that there are two problems with making sushi mid-week: the first is getting sashimi grade fish and the second is that sushi does tend to be quite fiddly to prepare. The solution to the first of these is filling the sushi with cooked or vegetarian options, and the solution to the second is hand rolls.  Hand rolls are much easier to assemble than most of the types of sushi rolls, you can get more filling in per roll (so you don’t need to make as many rolls) and you can actually get everyone to assemble their own at the table so you don’t even need to make them yourself!  It can even be a nice feature of the meal as it makes it a fun and interactive occasion, whether you have a partner, children, friends visiting or it is just you, it makes you think about your food and enjoy the food preparation as you are eating it.  Although my recipe below may not be the most authentic Japanese recipe, it is quick and fun to make.  You can fill your hand rolls with pretty much whatever you want (and there are lots of vegetarian and vegan suggestions below), but here is my twist on the classic salmon hand roll where I have combined it with ginger and paired it with a miso sauce.

Salmon and ginger hand rolls with miso sauce

Cooking time: 20 minutes, heat through on the night and assembly at the table

Dietary info: Pescatarian, gluten-free, dairy-free (vegetarian and vegan options in the tasty twists section)

Serves: 2-3 (easily scaled up)

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger
  • 2 heaped tsp wholemeal flour
  • 100g sushi rice (wash, soak and cook for 12-15 minutes in microwave or on stove)
  • 1 tbsp white rice vinegar
  • 1 heaped tsp miso paste
  • 1 packet nori sheets
  • Salad (e.g. shredded lettuce, grated carrot) or steamed vegetables (e.g. broccoli, leek, bean sprouts) to serve, optional

Miso ginger sauce:

  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tbsp pickled ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce, to taste
  • Enough water to make a smooth sauce (about 100-150ml)
  1.  Wash the sushi rice in 3-4 changes of water (or until the water looks quite clear) then soak in clean water for about 30 minutes (you can skip the soaking if you are in a hurry but it just helps gets the right texture).
  2. Put the rice in a saucepan or microwave safe bowl and cover with water so that the water comes about 5mm above the top of the rice and stir in the 1 tsp miso paste, then cook the rice for 12-15 minutes a saucepan or the microwave, checking regularly so that it doesn’t dry out. At the end the water should have just been absorbed so that the rice is not damp but also not burnt at the bottom! If you cook in the microwave I usually do 2-5minutes then cook for 2 minutes at a time, checking between each cooking.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, stir in 1 tbsp white rice vinegar and set aside.
  4. Finely slice the salmon and mix with the salt, ginger and wholemeal flour to coat.
  5. Mix together all the sauce ingredients to make a smooth sauce and heat through in a small saucepan (or 1 minute in the microwave) until warm but not boiling (don’t worry if it does come to the boil briefly, it won’t ruin it, but miso can be quite delicate and it is probably better not to heat too vigorously).
  6. Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the salmon, stirring until they are cooked through. You can then wrap them in kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and keep warm.
  7. To assemble have the salmon, rice, nori sheets, miso sauce and vegetables / salad (if using) handy:
    • Fold one sheet of nori in half and tear along the fold so that you have two rectangles.
    • Take one of these rectangles and place it in front of you, the long edge parallel to you.
    • Put 1-3 tsp rice (depending on how much rice you like) in the top left corner of the rectangle, making a rough triangle (see photo and step 1 in diagram).
    • Top the rice with a few strips of salmon and some vegetables / salad and drizzle with miso sauce (step 2).
    • Fold the bottom left corner up at a diagonal to meet the top edge of the rectangle to make a cone around the filling (step 3) and pick up the hand roll. Then fold the rest of nori rectangle down to enclose the filling (step 4) and continue to wrap around the filling to complete the cone (step 5).

how to make handrolls.jpg

These can be fun to assemble at the table as they make an interactive dinner with friends or family where everyone can slightly tailor their hand rolls to their own taste.

A few tips to prep ahead:

The miso sauce, rice and salmon can all be made/cooked ahead so you only have to do the assembly on the night. The miso sauce can keep for a week in a container in the fridge, the rice and salmon only 1-2 days, although you may want to heat through all the components on the night.Some tasty little twists…Hand rolls are a lovely way to serve a huge variety of meat, fish and vegetables, and the beauty of assembling them on the table means that you can easily cater for a range of different tastes and dietary requirements within one meal.


Some tasty little twists…

Hand rolls are a lovely way to serve a huge variety of meat, fish and vegetables, and the beauty of assembling them at the table means that you can easily cater for a range of different tastes and dietary requirements within one meal.

  • Replace the salmon with slices of omelette for a vegetarian version
  • Replace the salmon with extra salad / vegetables or slices of tempeh or tofu (there are a number of flavoured tofu variations available on the market including smoked and teriyaki, or you can marinade / bake / fry your own).  Crispy sweet potato chips, sticks of aubergine (fried or lightly battered are particularly good!) or mushrooms would also be nice additions.
  • Other meat / fish options include flaked mackerel, smoked salmon (this is perfect if you are in a hurry as no cooking is required), hoi sin pork (see my hoi sin pork recipe here), strips of stir fried beef, tempura prawns or strips of katsu chicken
  • Try different sauces instead of the miso, such as teriyaki or sweet chilli (see my sweet chilli sauce recipe here) or just keep it simple with soy sauce and lemon juice.
  • Add pickled ginger, wasabi or toasted sesame seeds as an extra topping.

The miso sauce can also be used as a stir fry sauce, or brushed over salmon or aubergine slices before grilling, or used as a dressing for roast vegetables, beans or salad. 

miso sauce.jpg




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