My sushi attempts at home never resemble the neat, symmetrical rolls I get at restaurants. Preparing sushi takes practice and precision, so when I want a California roll, I usually order out. But earlier this year, I came across an image of sushi bites made in muffin tins on Pinterest. I thought it was genius –– and it piqued my interest to give making sushi another shot.
Well, muffin tins are a sushi-making game-changer: The end product looks a little different from what you’d get in a Japanese restaurant, but delivers the same fresh flavors. The process is simple. Just add 3 to 4 Tbsp of sticky rice to each lined muffin cup, then gently shape to create a base, using the muffin cup as a mold. Chill the molds to set, then fill.
While brown rice isn’t typically used in sushi, I’ve found that it can work, and adds a little extra fiber and protein. For best results, use a medium or short-grain variety, since shorter grains tend to stick together better than longer ones. Prepare according to directions in Step 1. Adding a warm vinegar-sugar mixture to the cooked rice in Step 2 is standard prep for sushi rice, and helps the grains stick.
These sushi cups are best eaten the day they are made, or within 24 hours. Refrigerate in the muffin-tin, loosely covered, until serving.
Easy Muffin Tin “Sushi”
Makes 12 cups
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 55 minutes
- 1 ¼ cup brown rice
- 3 Tbsp rice vinegar, divided
- 4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, divided
- 2 tsp sugar
- 12 muffin or cupcake liners
- ½ lb salmon, skin removed
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- ½ cup grated or shredded carrot
- ¼ cup chopped green onion
- 6 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
- 1 small avocado, diced
- Sesame seeds (optional)
1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add rice and cook for 30 minutes, reducing heat slightly if needed to prevent pan from boiling over. Drain rice in a colander; return rice to saucepan away from heat. Cover, and let sit for 20 minutes.
2. Combine 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds, stirring once during cooking, or until sugar is dissolved. Pour vinegar mixture over rice; stir gently to combine. Let cool for 10 minutes. (No microwave? Just combine 1 Tbsp hot water with sugar in a bowl, stirring until dissolved, or almost dissolved. Then add vinegar and soy sauce.)
3. Place 12 cupcake liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Place 1/3 cup rice mixture in one liner. Gently press rice into tin, shaping to create a nest. Repeat with remaining liners and rice. Refrigerate at least one hour.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place fish in a baking dish. Combine 1 Tbsp sesame oil and 1 Tbsp soy sauce in a small bowl. Brush over both sides of salmon. Bake salmon 8 to 10 minutes. Cool; then flake into bite-size pieces.
5. Combine remaining 1 Tbsp vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp sesame oil in a bowl. Add carrot, cucumber, green onion, avocado, and flaked salmon, stirring to combine. In a separate small bowl, combine mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce.
6. To assemble, place 2 tsp mayonnaise mixture in each chilled rice mold. Top each mold with approximately 2 Tbsp of salmon mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Chill until ready to serve.
NUTRITION FACTS (per sushi cup ): Calories 180; Total Fat 9g (Saturated Fat 1.5); Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 300mg; Total Carbs 19g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Total Sugars 1g, Added Sugars 1g); Protein 7g.
CAROLYN WILLIAMS, PHD, RD