Enjoy Bite-Sized Temarizushi Ball Sushi with Colorful Rice and Toppings

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Counterclockwise from the left in the foreground on the board: temarizushi featuring the following ingredients — tuna (red temari), cucumber (yellow), shime-saba mackerel (black), boiled shrimp (yellow), vinegared renkon lotus root (black), tuna (red), cucumber (yellow), chicken soboro (red), vinegared renkon (black), and boiled shrimp (yellow).

Temarizushi, bite-sized, ball-shaped pieces of sushi is an ideal dish for gatherings with friends or families as it is easy to pick up. Cooking expert Noriko Shirai has shared recipes for this type of sushi.

For festive occasions, an assortment of sashimi and various toppings over sushi vinegared rice is a classic choice. However, Shirai suggests colorful temarizushi as an alternative, sushi rice rolled into a ball combined with various colorful ingredients.

“Adding color to sushi rice by mixing it with various ingredients and topping it with colorful food enhances its appearance,” Shirai said.

The suggested combinations, such as sushi rice mixed with scrambled eggs and topped with green vegetables, or black sesame mixed into the sushi rice and topped with pale shime-saba vinegared mackerel, are particularly visually appealing.

In recent years, temarizushi has evolved, with enthusiasts enjoying new combinations with ingredients from Western cooking such as prosciutto, cheese and roast beef. The sushi rice can even be colored pink by mixing it with minced fish sausages.

In this recipe, we will make temarizushi in three different colors, creating two types for each color, with three pieces per type. Let’s start with the yellow one, which is sushi rice with a touch of curry flavor. The sushi is also pleasing to the eye, thanks to the red color of shrimp and the green of the cucumber.

The next temarizushi is black, and is characterized by the subtle flavor of black sesame with a combination of shime-saba and pickled renkon lotus root, creating an attractive contrast between black and white. Some people might not like kaiwarena radish sprouts, but simply sandwiching them between kombu and salt can make them tasty.

The last one is the red temarizushi. Benishoga red pickled ginger adds a refreshing acidity and spiciness while enhancing the texture. Together with red sliced tuna, it creates a gorgeous presentation. After wrapping the sushi in plastic wrap, let them rest for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

“It’s fun to think of what ingredients to combine with colorful sushi rice. Try using any vibrant colored vegetables that may be sitting in your fridge,” Shirai said.

Yellow temarizushi

Ingredients: (6 pieces)

  • 230 grams sushi rice
  • Scrambled eggs, as needed
  • ½ tsp mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • Cucumber, as needed
  • 20 grams canned tuna
  • 3 small, boiled shrimp
  • 1 cup (200ml) water
  • ½ tsp salt

  • Directions:

    1. Drain canned tuna and mix with mayonnaise. Slice the cucumber thinly or create ribbon slices using a peeler. Soak for 10 minutes in saline water made from 1 cup of water to which ½ teaspoon of salt has been dissolved.

    2. Mix sushi rice with scrambled eggs and curry powder. Divide into 6 portions and form them into ping-pong ball-sized spheres, each weighing about 30 to 40 grams.

    3. Spread out a piece of cling wrap, place the cucumber slices, after removing moisture, and the rice ball on it. On another piece of cling wrap, place the boiled shrimp, which is sliced in half, and sushi rice. Wrap tightly with the cling film.

    4. Remove from the wrap. Top the cucumber sushi with the tuna and mayonnaise mixture. Garnish the shrimp sushi with chervil to taste, if desired.

    Black temarizushi

    Ingredients: (6 pieces)

    • 230 grams sushi rice
    • 1 tbsp ground black sesame
    • 2 tsp black sesame paste, if available
    • 50 grams renkon lotus root
    • 3 slices of shime-saba vinegared mackerel
    • ½ pack kaiwarena daikon sprouts
    • Kombu, as needed
    • 3 tbsp water
    • 3½ tbsp vinegar
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • A pinch of salt

    • Directions:

      1. Peel renkon and slice it into 5-millimeter thick discs. In a saucepan, boil 1 cup of water, add ½ tablespoon of vinegar, then add the renkon slices. Boil for 1 minute and then remove.

      2. In a different saucepan, add water, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the renkon and cook for 2 minutes. Cooling it afterward makes vinegared renkon. Run kombu through water.

      3. Spread out cling wrap, sprinkle a little salt, then lay half of the kaiwarena sprouts and kombu on it. Sprinkle a little more salt, cover with the remaining sprouts, and wrap them with the cling wrap. Let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the sprouts to be infused with kombu flavor.

      4. Mix sushi rice with ground black sesame and black sesame paste. Divide into six portions and form into balls. Place the vinegared renkon, after patting out excess moisture, and rice ball on top, then wrap tightly. Wrap shime-saba with kombu-infused kaiwarena sprouts and rice ball in the same manner.

      Red temarizushi

      Ingredients: (6 pieces)

      • 230 grams sushi rice
      • 20 grams benishoga red pickled ginger
      • 50 grams minced chicken
      • 3 slices tuna sashimi
      • ½ tbsp soy sauce
      • ½ tbsp sugar
      • ½ tbsp sake

      • Directions:

        1. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix minced chicken, soy sauce, sugar and sake. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and microwave at 600 watts for 1 minute. Stir well to prepare the tori soboro mince chicken filling and set aside. Marinate tuna sashimi in a little soy sauce for about 10 minutes.

        2. Mix sushi rice with minced benishoga. Divide mixture into 6 portions and form into balls.

        3. Lay out cling wrap and place about 2 teaspoons of tori soboro and rice balls on it, then wrap tightly. Similarly, place tuna, kombu-infused kaiwarena, as needed, and sushi rice, and wrap.