Sorta Seattle rolls

Maki sushi costs a fortune where I live. And did I mention that it’s also generally pretty terrible? Two reasons not to buy it!

It’s so much cheaper to roll your own sushi. This is totally a ‘what’s in the house’ recipe (if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll find that there are quite a few of those!) A Seattle roll doesn’t have the popularity of say, a California roll; in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it outside of Seattle. It’s filled with salmon, cream cheese and cucumber. Apparently, it’s sometimes also made with asparagus. Here, I’ve replaced the raw salmon with smoked salmon, kind of like lox in a sushi roll. I’ve heard that the smoked salmon and cream cheese combination is often called a Philly roll, but coming from Seattle, I hadn’t seen it with that name. Makes sense though. Also, make your kids roll the sushi. Put them to work! (Actually, they really like it, so it’s a fun thing to do with the kiddies.)

The only things I’m picky about here is the rice and the vinegar. Make sure you use a short-grain Japanese rice. Our staple rice in the house (that 25-lb. bag sitting in the corner of the kitchen) is jasmine rice, but I wouldn’t use it for this. The vinegar should also be rice vinegar. The rest is up to you.

Instructions for rolling sushi (in hasty visual format).


Sorta Seattle Roll
makes about 32 rolls

1-3/4 cups rice (300 g or 10.5 ounces)
1/3 cup rice vinegar (80 ml)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
100 g smoked salmon
1 English cucumber
container of cream cheese
4 sheets of sushi nori

  1. Wash the rice in cold water until the water is clear. Usually I just wash the rice in the rice cooker bowl, draining it using a colander. It will take a few rounds of this.
  2. When the water is clear, add fresh water and let the rice soak for 3-4 hours.
  3. Cook in the rice cooker, or if you need to use a stove, according to the instructions on the rice packaging. (I’m sorry I can’t be more help in this department – I usually make rice in the rice cooker so measurements – besides the ‘knuckle’ measurement – are beyond me.)
  4. Stir the vinegar, salt and sugar together until the sugar and salt dissolve.
  5. Scoop the hot rice out onto a flat pan or serving dish. Pour the vinegar mixture over it. Using a rice paddle or spatula, stir the mixture into the rice until it is all absorbed, while fanning the whole thing with a piece of paper until there’s no more steam coming off the rice. By fanning it, you cool the rice as it absorbs the mixture, and also keeps the rice shiny. Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool entirely.
  6. Cut the cucumber to the length of the nori sheets. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into 4 pieces.
  7. Place the nori on a sushi mat. Spread the rice evenly over the mat, leaving a half-inch at the top and the bottom of the nori that will not be covered in rice. At the end of the nori closest to you, place one piece of cucumber, and an amount of salmon the same width as the cucumber pieces. Next to the salmon spread an amount of cream cheese about the width of the salmon.
  8. Using the sushi mat, roll the sushi starting with the end with all the ingredients. Roll tightly.
  9. Cut the sushi roll into 8 pieces. Repeat for the rest of the nori sheets.