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Temari Sushi

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 18 Balls
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min


For the Sushi:

  • 6oz Sushi Grade Tuna or Salmon
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 Cucumber (Optional)

For the Rice:

  • 1 Cup Sushi Rice
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Cup White or Rice Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 ½ Cups Water

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Tamari
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Sambolek Chili Paste to Taste


Note: Throughout this process always keep the fish as cold as possible.

  1. If using FROZEN fish, unpack the fish and pop it into a bowl of 100-degree water that you’ve stirred two teaspoons of salt into. Allow to sit two minutes each side, this will jump-start the thawing process. Then remove it and wrap it in paper towels and return to the fridge until ready to cut.
  2. Rinse the sushi rice well until the water runs clear. Add the sushi rice to a medium pot with a tight, fitting lid. Then add the sugar, vinegar, salt and the water. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn the heat all the way to low and put on the lid. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Cut your lime and have it at the ready with a juicer. In a medium saucepan combine the soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil, and boil for about 30 seconds, whisking briskly to dissolve the sugar. Immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the lime juice. Stir in the Chili Paste to taste and set aside till ready to use.
  4. Check your rice after twenty minutes, it should be cooked through, sticky and have absorbed the water. If it’s not quite done go ahead and add ¼ cup of water and return to the heat with the lid for another few minutes.
  5. Spread the rice flat on a cookie sheet and pop it in the fridge, uncovered to cool it quickly.
  6. Chiffonade the mint leaves, peel the cucumber into strips or halve it lengthwise and thinly slice, whichever you prefer.
  7. On a separate cutting board, bring out your Tuna. If it’s still partially frozen in the middle that will actually make cutting it easier, just make sure it’s thawed enough that it’s not like cutting through a brick.
  8. Make sure your knife is very sharp and then cut the tuna into very thin pieces. Return to the fridge until ready to use. Once cut, the small pieces will finish thawing very quickly.
  9. When you’re ready to make the sushi balls, slice the avocado.
  10. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap. Lay one piece of tuna in the middle, then add a small piece of avocado or cucumber and a generous pinch of mint leaves. Use roughly two tablespoons of rice per ball, and add the rice right on top of the other ingredients.
  11. Pick up the edges of the plastic wrap and then tightly wrap the sushi into a ball by twisting the plastic wrap. Unwrap and set on a plate, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat with the remaining sushi and serve with the dipping sauce! Enjoy!

Note: If not eating Immediately return to the fridge, loosely covered with plastic wrap to keep the sushi cold.

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Savannah Says...

  1. How Do I Know I’m Buying Sushi Grade Fish?

    1. Don't just buy any ole fish!
      It will be labeled as such! Just like Certified Organic, there is a process the manufacturers have to follow to sell you sushi grade fish. Typically this means freezing the fish at -70 Fahrenheit for a period of time before selling. This kills most of the bacteria.
  2. Where can I find sushi grade fish?

    1. Ask Alexa...
      At Whole Foods! That’s the only place I’ve been able to find it and you might have to ask at the fish counter where it’s being kept in the store.
  3. How do I store Sushi Grade Fish?

    1. Stay cool...
      If it’s frozen, follow the package directions. Usually, you can store it frozen for 30 days, and you must consume it within 24 hours of thawing. Always keep the thawed fish in the fridge until right before eating.
  4. Can I buy Sushi Grade Fish Thawed?

    1. Ask your local fish monger!
      It depends on the store, some of them sell a few packages already thawed. If this is the case make sure it doesn’t look crushed, it has good color and doesn’t smell. And I would recommend using it that day or asking at the fish counter about storing it for longer.
  5. Is all Sushi Grade Fish Previously Frozen?

    1. Not always!
      No, sometimes Tuna can be sushi grade and never have been frozen but it will always be labeled Sushi Grade.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

Have you ever rolled a ball of cookie dough? Or made meatballs? Well, then you are highly qualified to make this stunning and ridiculously easy Temari sushi! I kid you not, all you need is a piece of plastic wrap and you’re in business.

These are perfectly elegant and can be made ahead of time to wow dinner guests or, I would suggest making them together with your date! They’re so much fun and actually quite romantic in a giggly sort of way.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and yes I know, some of you may grind your teeth because “Omg another holiday I have to find a GREAT gift for” or “Ugh way to remind me that I’m single!” But even through my single years (of which there were plenty) I always had a soft spot for Valentines Day.

I also have a soft spot for sushi and these days I have a soft spot for Tony but don’t tell him that, it might go to his head. 😉 But even if you’re pioneering through this holiday with yourself as your other half, why treat yourself any less well than you would your significant? After all, you are the person you’re actually going to spend the rest of your life with and I think that you deserve some sushi! And chocolate, and your choice of libation…

And if you’ve never quite been able to get behind the raw fish situation that’s ok! These would be delicious with smoked salmon and I won’t tell anyone if you tuck a bit of cream cheese inside the rice ball. And heck you don’t even have to use fish, you can use any standard sushi fillings to make these fit any dietary restrictions.

But if you love sushi as I do but you’re a little scared about finding and working with raw fish safely, I’ve got you covered! See the Learn the Lingo section below the recipe and I’ll explain all your sushi woes away, including where to buy sushi grade fish and how to prepare it without worrying.

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