Pickled Okra Sushi
Pickled vegetables such as eggplant, burdock root and daikon are quite commonly used as components for sushi rolls. In my first days of creating sushi in a small Mississippi town, recipes for pickled vegetable rolls popped up in nearly every sushi book I could find. But most of them I could neither pronounce nor find in my local, closet sized Asian market. A few of the more traditional books featured recipes for pickled items; but daikon radish and small Japanese style eggplants were also unavailable. Like so many times before, I had to improvise.
The task was an easy one as Southerners have such a great tradition of preserving. Between peppers, green beans, chow chow and a host of other canned jewels the hardest part was narrowing down the selection. My favorite pickled vegetable, next to dill cucumbers, had always been okra. This didn’t seem like a stretch as many of the Japanese cookbooks I flipped through for inspiration contained okra recipes. Pickled okra sushi? Why not!
This recipe uses the technique for rolling thick sushi rolls. Review this method with detailed instructions and step by step photos here.
Pickled Okra Futomaki
Makes 1 futomaki roll, 5 pieces
1 4in x 7in piece nori
about 1/2 cup prepared sushi rice
2 blanched green beans
small pinch of matchstick cut carrots
1 large pickled okra, cut in half lengthwise
2 thin strips of red bell pepper
1 tsp finely chopped scallion
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
pickled ginger, optional
soy sauce for dipping, optional
Place nori vertically, rough side facing upwards, on a bamboo rolling mat. Using wet hands, spread prepared sushi rice evenly on the bottom 2/3 of the nori.
Next, add roll ingredients according to the method for making thick sushi rolls. Place scallions and sesame seeds in a line across the center of the rice. Place okra halves end to end in the center of the rice. It’s okay if the ends extend past the roll as this makes a nice presentation. Top with green beans and red bell pepper strips, being sure that all ingredients extend the length of the sushi roll.
Roll according to the method for making thick sushi rolls. Allow roll to set seam side down on cutting surface for 2 minutes before cutting into 5 pieces. Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce for dipping if desired.