Rainbow Rolls are one of the most popular sushi rolls available. It is definitely one of my favorite rolls!! What makes this roll so special you ask? Is it what's inside the roll? Is there some exotic type of fish used? No, not anything like that actually. If there's nothing "special" about this sushi roll then it's just a "basic California Roll with some fish on top," right? WRONG! Yes, the inside is merely a California Roll, and no, there aren't any crazy fish or sauces used. But, it's marbled and layered topping of assorted fish and avocado make this roll perfectly divine. Every roll makes 8 little pieces, each of which has a unique flavor combination. Its like having 8 rolls-in-1! Who doesn't like variety?!? I sure do! Although this process is rather time consuming, these colorful rolls aren't hard to make and you get a lot (8-10 rolls) of sushi out of all your effort!
Preparation is definitely the most time consuming part of this whole 'able. I suggest inviting a few friends over and having a Sushi Party! Throwing a "Prep Party" is a great idea if your making something rather time consuming or in bulk like sushi, or tamales. Having everyone help will cut down the prep time considerably and the conversation makes it more enjoyable. Also, this recipe will make 8-10 rolls so unless you have a big stomach, you might want to consider sharing!
- 2 cups dry sushi rice
- 2 cups water, plus water for rinsing
- 1 cucumber
- 3-4 imitation crab sticks
- 1/4 pound sushi grade salmon
- 1/4 pound sushi grade tuna
- 1/4 pound sushi grade sea bass
- 2 avacados
- 1 package (5 sheets) nori
- plastic wrap
- bamboo sushi mat
- pickled ginger
- wasabi paste
- edible flowers (optional)
**Eating raw fish has health concerns. Make sure to buy "sushi grade" fish or something right off the ship and caught/cut the same day. Raw sushi has a shelf life of about 3 days max so prepare to eat it all or throw it out! Your best bet is to invite some friends over to help you make/enjoy the sushi with you! Bring on the PARTY (with style)!
Step 1: Make Sticky Sushi Rice
Pour your rice into a large bowl and generously cover with water. Swirl the rice around in the bowl and then drain off the milky water. Repeat this 3-5 times until the water no longer gets cloudy when you stir the rice around and drain it one last time.
Add the rinsed rice to a medium sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting and allow the rice to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat completely and allow the rice to steam for another 10 minutes covered.
While the rice is cooking, you can prepare the rice seasoning. Mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until dissolved.
Once the rice is done steaming dump it into a large bowl. Add your seasoning and mix until thoroughly combined. Spread the rice onto a sheet pan and allow to cool to room temperature.
Step 2: Prep the Fruit
Take your cucumber and peel it. Make 1-2 slices lengthwise on the right side of the cucumber. You want thin slices you can julienne. Make sure not to cut too deeply, you don't want the seeds. Once you hit the seeds, rotate the cucumber so the flat side is down and repeat. Keep doing this until you have about 8 slices leaving a square center full of seeds remaining.
Take each slice and julienne it (cut it into small strips.) Place the strips on a plate and set aside.
Cut the avacados in half and remove the seed. Take a spoon and carefully slide it between the skin and the flesh. Work the spoon around the entire avocado and pop out the flesh. Repeat with the remaining halves. Set the avacados aside until you are ready to assemble. Do not pre-slice the avacados. You will have a hard time picking them back up after you put them down. They will also turn brown a lot faster if in slices.
Step 3: Prep the Fish
Take one piece of crab and carefully peel strips off. It will peal just like string cheese. If the piece you peeled is too big, you can just peel that piece more. Carefully lay the strings on top of each other for easy assembly later. This is a very tedious and time consuming process. A glass of wine (or some sake!) and good conversation helps get you through it though.
For the next part, make sure your knife is really sharp. I always sharpen my knives right before I cut my fish. Take your fish and make a thin slice it by holding the knife at a 45 degree angle. You want to start at the base of the knife and pull it towards you finishing the slice with the tip in one passing. DO NOT saw back and forth or you will destroy the fish. This is not the easiest to do, so if you mess up a few pieces don't get frustrated (and don't throw them out!!) You can piece them back together and once it gets pressed into the roll you can't really tell you messed up at all. Lay each slice on a plate and set aside. Repeat this step with all your fish. You want 15-20 slices of each type of fish.
Salmon and Tuna are the two main fish traditionally found on Rainbow Rolls. I chose to use Sea Bass for my third fish for color contrast but you can use shrimp or other types of fish if you want.
Step 4: Roll Assembly Part 1- Roll the Sushi
Carefully remove one sheet of nori from the package and cut it in half. Make sure to be gentle as the nori is rather brittle. Place one of the half sheets on a cutting board horizontally with the shiny side down. Slightly dampen your hands and sprinkle about 1/3-1/2 cup of rice on the nori sheet. Press the rice to spread it evenly over the nori, wetting your hands as needed.
Carefully flip the nori over so the rice is on the bottom. Start filling your roll by adding 3-4 strands of cucumber to the center across the entire roll. Next add a pinch of crab shreds on top of the cucumber. Holding the avacado in your hand, carefully cut 2 slices and place them on top of the crab.
Slowly start to tightly roll the nori away from you and over the ingredients. You can use your finger tips to push in the filling for a tight roll. The rice will now be on the outside of the roll.
Step 5: Roll Assembly Part 2 - Make the Rainbow
Add on strip of fish diagonally across the left side of the roll. You should have rice exposed on the upper left corner of the roll (we will fix that later!) Add another type of fish diagonally over the roll to the right of the first piece. Repeat this with the third type of fish and continue laying down fish in the pattern. I ended up using 2 strips of tuna, 2 strips of Sea Bass, and 1 strip of salmon to cover my roll.
Cut a small slice of avacado and place it between the first two pieces of fish by lifting up the slice to the right slightly and slipping the avacado in. Repeat this between each fish slice and put a small piece of avacado on the upper left hand of the roll, again lifting the fish and tucking it under. It will look a bit messy and uneven at this point so don't worry if it's a bit sloppy!
Take a sheet of plastic wrap and place it over the entire roll. Tightly press it down over the roll with your hands to remove any air. Place the sushi mat over the roll and apply even pressure over the top and sides to adhere the fish to the rice and shape the roll. You can accomplish this by gently pressing down and squeezing both sides of the roll at the same time. Start with a small amount of pressure at first and then remove the mat to take a look at the roll. The fish will settle into the rice and the avacado will smooth it all out. If the fish hasn't fully flattened and smoothed, replace the mat and add more pressure. Once you get a feel for it, you will know just how much pressure you need to use. It should look similar to the last picture when the roll is properly formed.
Repeat Roll Assembly part 1 and Roll Assembly part 2 with the remaining nori, rice and fish/fillings. You should make about 8-10 rolls out of all the ingredients.
Step 6: Cut and ENJOY!
Leaving the plastic wrap on, slice the roll in half. Use the same, one cut method as the fish, starting with the base of the knife and drawing it toward you finishing the slice with the tip of the knife. Wipe the blade with a damp cloth and cut each half in half again to form 4 sections, wiping the blade between slices. Cut each of the 4 sections in half once again resulting in 8, equal sized pieces. Make sure to wipe the knife between each cut with a damp cloth. The rice is super sticky and you will not get nice slices if you do not wipe and moisten the blade. Repeat the cutting process with the additional rolls.
Remove the plastic wrap and place one roll of slices on a rectangular plate, or multiple rolls on a larger plate. You want to slightly stagger the slices to show off it's rainbow topping and expose the beautiful filling. Garnish with pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and an edible flower. Serve with soy sauce and make sure to ENJOY! You deserve it after all that tedious work! Once that first piece hits your mouth you will know it was all worth it! Bring on the Sake Bombs!
I can't wait to plan my next "Sushi Night" with my friends (and I just had one!!) I encourage you to have a "Sushi Night" of your own and to vote for this Instructable in the Slow Food and Rainbow contests!!