How To: Make Party-Style Temari Sushi

Make Party-Style Temari Sushi

If you've never heard of or eaten temari sushi, then you're in for a treat. These pretty sushi balls are good for parties and festive gatherings, and even though they are so colorful and striking, they are not hard to make. Just like every other type of sushi, they are customizable, and they have the cute factor necessary for kids or appetizers.

Temari sushi is named after the temari balls that they resemble. These traditional balls are Japanese toys made out of leftover scraps of kimono fabric.

Image by NanaAkua/Flickr

Because of their round shape, it's a lot easier to make temari sushi than other types of sushi. Just remember to pair flavors that go well together and to keep color in mind.

How to Make Temari Sushi

  1. Prepare sushi rice. This is a must if you're making temari sushi with seafood or raw fish, but you can adjust this if you're making vegetable sushi, dessert sushi, or another variety.
  2. Lay a large square of plastic wrap down on a clean cutting board.
  3. Place a piece of thinly sliced fish, thinly sliced vegetable, or other ingredient(s) in the center of the plastic wrap. (For guidelines on how to buy good sushi-grade fish, go here.)
  1. If you're layering, then stack the next ingredient(s) onto what will be the outer layer.
  2. Place rice on top of the toppings, about the size of a ping pong ball.
  1. Gather the plastic wrap around the rice and then twist the plastic wrap so that the rice and ingredients become a ball shape.
  1. Gently unwrap and garnish as needed.
  2. Repeat until finished with rice.

My kids sometimes ask for these with smoked salmon and chive cream cheese. In that case, I use more rice since the fish is salty, the cream cheese is rich, and more rice gives a better balance. When I'm making these with thinly sliced sashimi rice or avocado, I sometimes use a little less rice than normal.

Suggested Toppings for Temari Sushi

  • Very thinly sliced sushi-grade raw fish
  • Thinly sliced smoked salmon
  • Thinly sliced chicken or ham
  • Butterflied, cooked shrimp
  • Thinly sliced avocado
  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Very thin omelet
  • Cheese
  • Seaweed

Suggested Garnishes for Temari Sushi

  • Black sesame seeds
  • Thinly sliced carrots
  • Thinly sliced nori (dried seaweed)
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Microgreens
  • Salmon roe
  • Fresh herbs

Some Tips for Making Gorgeous Temari Sushi

1. Think About Color Scheme

If you're making a few different varieties, then think of the colors that will be represented in the whole group.

Image via Nation Multimedia

2. Have Fun and Be Creative

The top of ball-shaped temari sushi is like a blank canvas, so feel free to be as creative and artistic as you can. The temari below was inspired by works by abstract minimalist artists.

Image via The Earth Expatriate

If you're really good with food decorating, then try your hand at making super cute temari sushi like these Sanrio-inspired designs below by Little Miss Bento.

Image via Little Miss Bento

3. Think Outside the Box with Your Rice & Toppings

Adjust your seasoned rice to your toppings. If you're making temari sushi with cooked meat or fish, then you don't have to make vinegar rice, or you can vary the seasoning with furikake or sesame salt. If you're making dessert temari sushi, then you can make sweet or colored rice like these matcha versions below.

Temari sushi made with matcha/green tea rice. Image via Thirsty for Tea

Temari makes for great appetizers, snacks, and meals, but it's also good for dessert. Use thinly sliced strawberry, kiwi, other fruit, or tamagoyaki (sweetened egg omelet) as toppings. Check out the versions from Thyme Bombe below.

Image via Thyme Bombe

More Sushi How-Tos

Now that you've learned how to make temari, master the art of making your own sushi rolls or make heart-shaped sushi for someone you love. If you're in a hurry, you can learn how to make deconstructed sushi with all the flavor and less of the labor.

Photos by Naomi Imatome-Yun/Food Hacks (unless otherwise specified)

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