My daughter, Jovie, loves to cook and has recently been attending a weekly cooking class for children. They work on knife skills, using the stove, knowing their way around the kitchen and following recipes. Parents drink wine and watch. Well, we mostly watch but I’ve found it’s far better to look away when they are practicing knife skills and just assume everything will be fine.
Every week they have homework and this last week she was charged with making something “fancy.” Before I let her have an opinion on what she wanted to make, I whipped out my Instagram to show her this super awesome dinner I’d been waiting for the right opportunity to make. Enter, the sushi tower.
I had shown my good friend Erin a photo of the sushi tower I saw on Instagram previously because I wanted her opinion on how exactly to make sushi into a tower. She correctly identified biscuit cutters as being the perfect way to create the tower without having to flip it over, risking the stability and look. Erin is probably the kindest person I know so I shouldn’t have been surprised when a week later she gave me some biscuit cutters in various sizes. Now with Jovie’s fancy meal, I had the perfect excuse to put them to work!
A sushi tower is a serious showstopper. It is no more difficult than making sushi at home and really is not overly expensive. Many people don’t realize that sushi is actually one of the most inexpensive nice dinners you can have. In fact, we host around 20 people at our home on Christmas Eve every year while trying to not break the bank so we developed a traditional of “Sushi Christmas” which everyone enjoys! We may have to add a sushi tower to the menu this year!
Step 1 of making a sushi tower is making your sauces. You can certainly skip the sauces, but they add a great flavor and they’re beautiful! I made two, a spicy mayo as well as a sweet “eel” sauce. You’ll find the recipes below.
Step 2 of the sushi tower is making the sushi rice. My husband is the sushi rice maker in our home. There are traditional sushi rice mixing tubs that you can certainly use, however we’ve always had great luck making ours on a large baking sheet with sides.
The key to making sushi rice is twofold: choosing the right rice and the folding technique. It’s important you don’t use a longer grain rice for making a sushi tower as they won’t provide you with the sticky texture that you’re looking for. When looking for rice, look for one labeled sushi rice or caltrose, which is available in most grocery stores. I’ve found that caltrose rice tends to be less expensive than the one labeled sushi rice, but I get the same results. After you’ve made your rice, it’s important that you then cut the vinegar mixture into the hot rice to get the desired results. It takes a bit of time to work the rice while it cools and the vinegar soaks in but I promise it’s worth it!
Step 3 of the sushi tower is building the actual tower! If you’re a wuss, you can always make the entire tower with cooked seafood. If you’re a badass, then go to your local fish market and buy sushi grade fish. I always buy tobiko as well, which are the tiny fish eggs on top. For ours, we used a combination of veggies, crab and tuna. Remember, you don’t need a lot of each of these items! Many grocery stores will also sell (frozen) sushi grade fish, but in my experience they normally only offer tuna. For more variety and fresher fish, hit up the market in your area specializing in seafood.
I found it best to put down my sauce on the plate before making the tower. After you’ve set the biscuit cutter down, just add your layers, beginning with the rice and go for it! We ended up making three towers, one with a square mold (click the link for mine), and the other two with the round large biscuit cutter. We made one of the round towers with the tuna (top layer) actually even with the top of the tower and the other with the tower built up a bit higher as the tuna was sitting on top of the final layer. See the below pictures as an example:
I hope you enjoy making the tower as much as we did! If so, let me see those photos!
This meal is gorgeous, delicious and looks way more difficult than it really is! Definitely add it to the menu next time you’re trying to impress your guests!
3 T Mayo
1 t Sriracha- or to taste
2 t Lemon Juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup mirin
6 cups cooked caltrose rice – either in rice cooker or according to directions in pan
1 cup of rice vinegar
4 T sugar
4 t salt
Approx 1/3 lb or 1 steak of sushi grade tuna – chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 lb fresh crab
2 sheets of nori, chopped into small pieces
4 T pickled ginger
Spicy mayo – combine all ingredients, adjust spice to your liking.
Eel sauce – Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan, lower to a simmer, stirring regularly until sauce has thickened slightly
Sushi rice – While rice is cooking, add vinegar, salt and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stir until sugar dissolves and remove from heat. While rice is still warm dump it onto a rice tub or large baking sheet using a plastic or wooden spatula or spoon. Slowly pour the vinegar mixture over the rice, turning the rice with a spoon so the mixture combines into the rice evenly. While doing this, fan the rice to try and cool it while it’s mixing with the vinegar.
Making the sushi tower – Add sauces to either a small squeezable container with a tip of a small plastic bag with the corner cut off. If neither of these are available, just use a small spoon to make small dots of sauce on plate. If using the container or bag, spread the sauces onto the plate in whatever style you’d like for presentation.
Mix tuna with sriracha to taste. If you’d like, you can mix it with the spicy mayo instead.
Next, set the biscuit cutter onto the center of the plate. Add rice until the biscuit mold is about 1/2 full, then using the back of a spoon, smash the rice down lightly to make a solid base for the tower. Next, add cucumbers, chopped nori, crab, sliced avocado then finally, the spicy tuna. Slowly pull the biscuit mold off the tower and garnish with ginger, tobiko, sesame seeds and the two sauces. Enjoy!