The Japanese Bagel Roll is a contemporary sushi recipe that is fairly popular in the United States. The ingredients are simple, but there are a few variations among sushi bars. So I will list all of the most common ingredients and let you decide which to put into your roll.
For this tutorial, you will need:
- Sushi Rice
- Nori (roasted seaweed)
- Cream Cheese
- Sake Kunsei (Smoked Salmon)
- Finely sliced scallions
- Cucumber, Asparagus, or Avocado
- Cutting Board
- Sharp Knife
- Bowl or cup of water
Typically, the Japanese Bagel Roll is rolled as a half-sheet Futomaki. That means that we will use a half-sheet of nori and roll it up vertically.
How to Make a Japanese Bagel Roll
1. Cover the textured side of the nori with rice, making sure to leave approximately 1″ (2.5cm) of space at the top
2. Next, we will add a pencil-thick line of cream cheese and some scallions. I always like to add the cream cheese first so it is easier to work with.
3. Then slice up your smoked salmon and gently place it on top of the cream cheese, making sure not to smash it.
4. Now, here is where the variety comes in, you can either put cucumber, asparagus, or avocado into your roll, but there is at least one vegetable in the Japanese Bagel Roll. I typically use scallions and cucumber in mine.
5. All of our ingredients are in place and now it’s time to roll! Dip your fingers into your bowl of water and wet the top of the nori. You need to be swift and gentle, as the nori will become very delicate once wet.
The reason we want to wet the nori is to make it adhere to the backside easier. Some chefs will use a few grains of rice and smash it to the top of the seaweed to use as an adhesive, but I prefer the water technique.
6. Finally, you want to let the water dry a little bit before cutting the roll. This will help ensure that the roll doesn’t come unraveled while cutting. I generally cut half-sheet Futomaki into six pieces, but if you’re feeling extra confident you can cut it into eight pieces.
That’s it! Pretty simple to do and it tastes great. If you want to add a little bit of variety to it, try tempura frying the entire roll or adding eel sauce to it (or both!). Once you get the process down, you can try rolling two half-sheet Futomaki at once:
Let me know what you think in the comments below!