This recipe for Aburi-Style Smoked Salmon Oshi Sushi features flame-seared salmon on top of sushi rice, that is formed into a rectangular shape. It's smoky, creamy, delicious and easily made at home.
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?
If you're an avid sushi lover, chances are that you'll have heard about aburi sushi.
Aburi style sushi consists of flame-torched fish on top of rice, that can be pressed into a box [oshi-style].
What is oshi sushi?
Oshi sushi is also known as pressed sushi, or box-sushi.
This method comes from Osaka, Japan and is a way to preserve the fish by placing it in boxes and covering it with rice.
Why this recipe works
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 with the rice.
Also, 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.
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.
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.
Tools you'll need
For this style of sushi, you will need:
- kitchen butane blowtorch: the blowtorch is essential in delivering the quick sear of the fish
- baking pan or tray: that will withstand heat and not burn, like an aluminum baking tray
Ingredients you'll need
- sushi rice: also known as Japanese short-grain rice which is sticky when cooked; it is not the same as glutinous rice, which is used in Thai Mango Sticky Rice
- smoked salmon: or any fish that you like; if you're adventurous, you can try eel (unagi),
- sushi rice vinegar: seasons the sushi rice; you can find sushi rice vinegar in glass jars in Asian supermarkets
- granulated sugar: seasons the rice
- avocado: thinly sliced
- mayonnaise: you can use kewpie mayo, or omit if you don't like it
- jalapenos: thinly sliced, optional but highly recommended
How to make it at home
Cook the sushi rice.
Make the sushi rice vinegar and sugar solution in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat to dissolve the sugar.
Once rice is 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 1 C of hot rice, place onto a clean work surface and shape into a long rectangle.
Tip: if you don't have a proper oshi box, just press it against a long flat surface like a baking sheet.
Place a layer on avocado on top of the rice.
Next, layer the smoked salmon on top.
Cut into small pieces with a sharp serrated knife.
Tip: dip the knife in warm water in between cuts to help with stickiness.
Add mayonnaise on top of each piece of sushi with an spoon or offset spatula.
CAREFULLY turn on a kitchen blowtorch sear the top of the smoked salmon until slightly charred.
Turn off the blowtorch and set aside.
Top with jalapenos (if using).
Watch how to make it
Substitutions & warnings
You can customize this sushi however you like.
Try adding BBQ eel (unagi), or even shrimp or scallop.
I've adapted this sushi to our tastes -- since 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.
How to store the sushi
It's best to consume the sushi on the same day it is made.
Any leftover sushi can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
Note that the texture of the rice will harden when stored in the fridge.
Other delicious recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes:
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, since my son loves it.
Let's say Sushi Sundays is now a theme in our house. 😉
Let me know if you try this recipe out! Tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below. What's your favourite type of sushi?
Aburi-Style Smoked Salmon Oshi Sushi
- kitchen blow-torch
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 2 C sushi rice short-grained Japanese rice, washed well (to remove any excess starch) and drained
- 20 ml sushi rice vinegar
- ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 150 g smoked salmon
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise kewpie or regular
- 1 package of BBQ eel (unagi)
- soy sauce
- pickled ginger
Make the rice:
- 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.
Make the rice vinegar/sugar solution:
- 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. (Tip: 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 or spoon.
- 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 remainder.
- Serve immediately with soy, wasabi and/or pickled ginger.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
Michelle these look so tasty! I love aburi sushi and I'm so impressed that you made them at home! They are so incredibly pricey at the restaurant so I will definitely be referencing this if I ever make them!
Ahh yes, we've been making these for the last 2 years! They are quite expensive at the restaurant, and my son loves sushi, so I HAD to find a way to make them at home! 🙂 Thanks Christie!
Kelly | Foodtasia.com
This looks fantastic! I'm one of those who aren't crazy about sashimi, but I love any sushi without raw fish. This is absolutely perfect! And it looks much easier to make. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!
Thanks so much Kelly!! Yes, this is definitely great for people who aren't entirely on board with raw fish 🙂
Josiah - DIY Thrill
I'll have to try this style of sushi, looks delicious!
Thanks Josiah -- let me know if you do! 🙂
Looks amazing. Where do you get your smoked salmon in Vancouver?
You can find smoked salmon in most major grocery stores. I get mine from Costco.
David @ Spiced
What a fun idea, Michelle! Laura and I were into making sushi at home way back in the day (pre-kid days...haha), and this post is making me want to try it again. I've never made aburi style sushi, but this looks easy enough to make! Sounds delicious!
As long as you've got a blowtorch, it's a cinch! Thanks David! 🙂
My husband and I live in Seattle but have been craving Minami/Miku Salmon Oshi since the start of quarantine, I'm so excited to make these this weekend! However, I have a question about the salmon. Whenever I buy smoked salmon it's typically verrrry fishy in smell and quite thin/slimy in texture. Perhaps it's different in the states vs Canada but I was wondering if there is a brand you recommend? Otherwise I was planning to go to my local Asian Market and pick up "sashimi grade" salmon.
I personally use DOM Reserve Smoked Alantic Salmon that we pick up from Costco. Not sure if it's available where you are. The torching will help alleviate the slimy texture and fish smell. Otherwise, you can definitely go to your local fish/sushi market and pick up "sashimi grade" salmon. Good luck!
Have you tried any variations on the sauce? Such as incorporating miso? I’m just preparing some of the basic ingredients now and wondering on options for a sauce. Thanks!
I haven't tried any variations since my kids love it with the torched mayo. Miso sounds great though! Do report back if you try it! I would maybe incorporate some green onions with the miso to help balance out the flavour. Hope that helps. 🙂
This looks so simple to make, and looks amazing! Will definitely be making it soon.
Yay, hope you enjoy Biana!
And now we officially never need to go out for sushi again! This is such a great recipe.
Glad you enjoyed it Kylie 🙂
Yummy! This recipe looks amazing and tasty! My daughter and I are excited to try this! Can’t wait!
These look lovely and so simple to make too. I love anything with smoked salmon.
Thanks Dannii! 🙂
Have been experimenting with different sushi recipes and this is one of the best I have tried!
Ohhh that's amazing, Kay! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂