How to make Sakura Sushi (Cherry Blossom)
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Have you seen the cherry blossoms yet?
I couldn’t travel for some reason, so I made cherry blossom sushi with all-natural dye. The pink romantic sushi rice is seasoned with Japanese pickled plums. The sour and salty taste of pickled plums is a classic match with rice balls, and is also commonly used in ochazuke. When mixed with vinegar rice, the taste becomes even more delicious with its sweet and sour flavor.
To make good sushi rice, you must use glutinous rice, which is a variety of rice. Northeastern rice, pearl rice, Penglai rice, and Yueguang rice are all types of glutinous rice. Glutinous rice is plump, round, soft, and has a strong stickiness, making it very suitable for making sushi or porridge.
The first attempt at making the flower shape was not perfect, but after the second try, the shape became better. However, it was found that the dye was too light and the gradient was not obvious. Every detail affects the completeness and beauty of the sushi when making decorative sushi. From cooking rice, spreading rice, adjusting color, shaping, to cutting rolls, there are no shortcuts. Only after multiple practices and honing can one become skilled.
Ingredients（Serve 16 Sushi）
【Sushi Rice 】
- Short Grain Rice 350 g
- Water for Cooking Rice 250 ml
- Traditional Rice Vinegar 60 ml
- Demerara Raw Cane Sugar 4 tbsp
- Sea Salt 1/8 tsp
- Sushi nori 8 pcs
【Pink Sushi Rice】
- Sushi Rice 460 g
- Sushi Vinegar 2 tbsp＋1 tsp
- Umeboshi 2 pcs
- Freezed-Dried Pink Dragon Fruit Powder 1/4 tsp
【Matcha Sushi Rice】
- Cooked Sushi Rice 200 g (Use the remaining rice, this doesn’t need to be too precise.)
- Sushi Vinegar 1 tbsp＋1 tsp
- White Sesame 1 tsp
- Choy sum 50 g
Freeze-dried Pink Dragon Fruit Powder https://iherb.co/6t1vSxgj
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- Precisely measure the weight of the rice with an electronic scale.
- Wash the rice about 2-3 times. After the first rinse, immediately pour out the water and collect the rice water for fermenting pickled vegetables. For the 2nd and 3rd wash, gently stir the rice with your hands, do not scrub or rub the rice grains as it may affect the texture of the sushi. Remove any impurities on the surface of the rice grains, and then pour out the rice water.
- Cook the sushi rice with fresh water. Gently pour the washed rice into the electric rice cooker. The amount of water for making sushi rice should be less than usual, which will make the rice slightly hard. My electric rice cooker has a sushi mode, but if there is no automatic mode, soak the rice for 20-30 minutes before cooking to allow the rice to fully absorb the water.
- Prepare the sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar with raw sugar and salt. Cook over low heat until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Stirring helps to dissolve it faster. Do not use high heat or boil it, otherwise the vinegar aroma will be lost. Let it cool and set aside.
- Prepare the sushi rice ingredients. Wash the vegetable stems clean, and only use the stems as the green leaves may have a too dark color that may not match well. Blanch the vegetables for 1-2 minutes after boiling water, then chop them finely.
- Make pink sushi rice with Japanese pickled plums. The pickled plums have a strong sour and salty taste, which is a classic combination with rice balls and is commonly used in ochazuke. Mix the pickled plums with the vinegar rice to create a sweet and sour taste that is delicious.
- Use red dragon fruit powder to dye the flower petal rolls. Red dragon fruit powder can be purchased or made at home, refer to the video “Natural Fruit Powder Pigment” for the method. The dried powder is convenient for adjusting the color depth and will not affect the taste of the vinegar rice.
- Take the required amount of rice for coloring, and leave the rest of the rice in the electric rice cooker to keep it warm.
- To make pink sushi rice for the flower petal rolls, measure the required amount of sushi rice, add pickled plums and red dragon fruit powder. While the rice is still warm, pour in the sushi vinegar. Rice absorbs the vinegar aroma more easily when it is warm and expanded, let the vinegar penetrate into the rice first and then loosen it. Use a rice spoon to “cut and mix” the rice, so that the rice grains will not break apart and the rice will not be too sticky. After cooling, the vinegar rice will retain its clear texture and shiny color.
- Make matcha vinegar rice by adding white sesame and sushi vinegar to the rice. Use matcha or seaweed powder as a seasoning. The matcha must be sifted before use.
- Cut the sushi seaweed. Take out only the required amount of seaweed, and leave the rest in the packaging bag to prevent it from getting damp and becoming soft and curly. Fold it in half, cut it open, fold it again, and cut it into 4 square pieces.
- Take the second sheet of seaweed, fold it in half and cut it open to get 5 square pieces of seaweed. Cut the remaining seaweed into 5 small strips to make the flower stamen.
- Place two chopsticks on the square seaweed sheet, with a distance of about 1 cm on both sides. Evenly spread pink sushi rice on the seaweed, making sure to fill the corners neatly. Gently stretch the vinegar rice before lightly pressing it down. The shape of the sushi is directly related to how the rice is spread on the seaweed.
- Rub concentrated red dragon fruit juice on both sides of the sushi rice to create a gradient effect for the flower stamen. Place the seaweed strip on top and fold it from the outside to the inside. Press the sushi rice firmly with your fingers and use vinegar to moisten your fingers to push and compress the loose rice at the ends. Trim off the excess seaweed and shape it before trimming it again to prevent it from falling apart. Repeat the process to make 5 flower petal rolls.
- Cover the bamboo mat with plastic wrap, making sure the length is twice the length of the mat.
- Hold the bamboo mat in your hand and create a groove to place the flower petal rolls in a flower shape.
- Fill the gaps between two flower petals with even spread of green tea sushi rice, making sure not to cover the top of the flower petal rolls with rice as it will result in an uneven shape. After completing each section, gently press and shape it with your hands. Roll the bamboo mat and plastic wrap together, pressing the sushi tightly with the mat as you roll it to ensure it maintains its shape when cut.
- Open the plastic wrap and use a rice spoon to press down on the ends.
- Finally, wrap the sushi with a rectangular piece of seaweed and use the bamboo mat to roll it up. Use a cookie cutter to mark the cutting positions to ensure even width.
- Dip the knife blade into water before each cut and wipe off any sticky rice residue. Wet the blade before each cut to ensure a clean cut. Start cutting from the outside and make the final cut on the inside. Since the outer structure is usually looser, turn it over and hold the tightly rolled inner side with your hand while cutting to prevent the sushi from falling apart.
Homemade Umeboshi https://www.beanpanda.com/13546
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