Ingredients (serves 4, makes 32 pieces):
- 3 cups cooked sushi rice (see here)
- 5-1/3 full sheets nori (seaweed)
Baked scallop gunkan (makes 8 pieces):
- 1 Tbsp. mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- 2 Tbsp. sake (Japanese rice wine)
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 4 sea scallops, approx. 3 oz. each
- 2 Tbs. green onion, cut small
Avocado salad gunkan (makes 8 pieces):
- 3 Tbsp. tomato, 1/4” diced
- 3 Tbsp. cucumber, 1/4” diced
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 small avocado
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. black sesame
Ikura gunkan (makes 8 pieces):
- 1 oz. ikura (salmon roe caviar)
- 8 slices Persian cucumber
Crab gunkan (makes 8 pieces):
- 3 oz. crab meat, shredded
- 8 slices Persian cucumber
- 8 small slices lemon
Garnish and condiments:
- Soy sauce
- Gari (pickled ginger)
- Wasabi paste
Water for hands:
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Prepare the baked scallop gunkan. In a small saucepan place mirin, sake, soy sauce, and sugar. Cook over medium low heat until the mixture is reduced to half the amount, about 5 minutes, then set aside. Cut each scallop horizontally into two layers, then slice each layer 3 times at a slight angle to make a total of 6 pieces. Cook with broiler or skillet, and set aside.
Prepare the avocado salad gunkan. Mix tomato, cucumber and mayonnaise, set aside. Cut an avocado in half vertically, then remove the stone. Cut each half into four equal pieces, then peel the skin. Diagonally slice each piece into 1/16 inch thick and drizzle lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. Set aside.
Wash hands thoroughly. Cut nori sheets into 6 strips per sheet, and set aside. Mix cold water and rice vinegar for wet hands in a small bowl. Wet both hands with this hand water.
Using the fingertips of your right hand, lightly collect a bite-sized ball of sushi rice (1-1/3 to 2 tablespoons). Do not squeeze the rice. Place the rice ball on the left-hand palm. Press the middle of the rice ball with your thumb, making an indentation. (This helps to keep the rice steady and makes a tiny air pocket in the rice for a fluffy texture). Roll the sushi rice on your left hand towards the fingertips to end up with the topping side up. Hold the top edge of the sushi with your left thumb.
Without moving your thumb, gently fold your left hand to shape the sushi on the sides, as you use your right index and middle fingers to hold the topping in place. The right fingers are like a lid to the left hand’s mold. Use very light pressure. Rotate the sushi rice clockwise 180° and repeat same move, then place on a cutting board. Makes 32 sushi rice balls. Using one rice grain as seal to tack the end of each strip.
Wrap nori strips from step 3 around each sushi rice ball.
Assemble gunkan. For baked scallop gunkan, place 3 pieces scallop from step 1 on each sushi from step 6, then baste with sauce. Top with pinch of green onion. For avocado salad gunkan, place a few slices of avocado from step 2 on each sushi, then spoon in mayonnaise mixture and sprinkle sesame seed.
For ikura gunkan, place a piece of cucumber and 1/2 heaping teaspoon of ikura on each gunkan. For crab gunkan, place a piece of cucumber and 1 teaspoon of crab meat and a piece of lemon on each gunkan. Serve all gunkan with garnish and condiments. Enjoy!