Being on the West Coast, Metro Vancouver is home to a lot of fresh and delicious sushi places. And by a lot, the last count was at over 600 and counting! I’ll put out a disclaimer here since I have never been to Japan (actually, that is a lie — I did pass through Japan when I was an infant), but I have heard from friends that say that we have it pretty good over here.
WHAT IS ABURI SUSHI?
And if you’re an avid sushi lover, chances are that you’ll have heard about aburi sushi, which is flame-torched fish, on top of rice, that is usually pressed into a box [oshi-style].
Lately, aburi sushi has been on the rise in Vancouver, with many places offering this style of sushi. One of the most well-known places in Vancouver that does aburi-style sushi is upscale restaurant Miku in Downtown and its sister restaurant Minami in Yaletown.
There’s something about the light searing of the fish that really enhances the flavour of the fish and rice. This is partially due to the fat that rises to the top and when it touches your tongue. It instantly melds into creamy and delicious harmony.
GREAT FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T INTO SASHIMI
This aburi-style sushi is the perfect compromise if you’re not a sashimi (raw fish) lover.
Know that you get the best of both worlds here — the top is lightly torched and the bottom still retains some silkiness from the smoked salmon.
MY VERSION OF ABURI-STYLE SUSHI
Sometimes I feel like sushi, but not necessarily want to make the drive downtown.
This is my riff on aburi-style sushi that you can prepare at home, with ingredients that you can easily get at the supermarket.
What you’ll need:
- sushi rice
- smoked salmon and/or eel
- sushi rice vinegar
SIMPLE TO MAKE AND COSTS LESS
It’s definitely a lot cheaper, and you can customize whatever you like in your sushi. I’ve adapted this sushi to our tastes, as my hubby isn’t a fan of mayo, so I’ve added avocado instead for some creaminess. Similarly, I’ve done this with BBQ eel (unagi) as well, and it’s just as delicious.
Warning: I would not suggest doing this at home with “sashimi grade” fish unless you are absolutely sure that the fish you get is handled safely and correctly. You don’t want to end up with tapeworms and parasites in your stomach, like this Calgary man who attempted to make sushi with supermarket fish.
This simple Aburi-Style Smoked Salmon Oshi sushi is slightly smoky and creamy. It’s so good, that we made it at home every Sunday. Let’s say Sushi Sundays is now a theme in our house, especially with Homemade Poke Bowls and Spicy Tuna Onigiri on the menu too.
Let me know if you try this recipe out! Tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment below. What’s your favourite type of sushi?
Aburi-Style Smoked Salmon Oshi Sushi
- kitchen blow-torch
- 2 C sushi rice short-grained Japanese rice, washed well (to remove any excess starch) and drained
- 20 ml sushi rice vinegar
- ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
- 150 g smoked salmon
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 package of BBQ eel unagi
- soy sauce
- Place the washed and drained sushi rice into a rice cooker. Add sufficient water to cover, up to the 2 cup line. Cover with the lid and press the button to cook.
- When the button on the rice cooker has popped up, in a small saucepan, add in the sushi rice vinegar and sugar. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Once the rice has fully cooked and is still hot, carefully drizzle and fan in the sushi vinegar. Mix with a rice paddle until the rice is combined with the vinegar.
- Carefully remove about 1 cup of hot rice, place onto a clean work surface and shape into a rectangle. Work quickly and carefully to form the shape. (If you don't have a proper oshi box to press the sushi in [like me], just press it against a flat long surface, such as a baking sheet).
- Place the thinly sliced avocado on top of the rice.
- Next, layer the smoked salmon on top of the avocado.
- Cut into small pieces with a sharp serrated knife. (Dip the knife in warm water in between cuts to help with stickiness).
- Add the mayonnaise on top of each piece with an offset spatula.
- Carefully turn on a kitchen blowtorch and quickly sear the top of the smoked salmon until slightly charred. Turn off the blowtorch and set aside.
- Top with jalapenos (if using) on each piece of sushi and repeat with the remaining.
- Serve immediately with soy and wasabi.