Liven up your appetizer table with something unique, like these kabocha temaki. You don't need to be a chef to make picturesque hand rolls. Stuffed with roasted kabocha, rice seasoned with homemade sushi vinegar, and crispy kale chips, these delicious fusion rolls will disappear in an instant.
Kabocha Temaki [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Rice:
- 2/3 cup short grain brown rice (this is enough rice to make about 6 hand rolls)
- 1/2 teaspoon tamari
- 1 cup water
For the Sushi Vinegar:
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
For the Kale Chips:
- 3 1/2-4 cups curly kale, chopped into chip-sized pieces with stems removed
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground ginger
For the Hand Rolls:
- 3 full sheets of nori
- 3/4 cup kabocha
- 1/2 teaspoon tamari
- Ginger kale chips
- Sushi rice
To Roast the Kabocha:
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Wash, dry, and divide pumpkin in half. Remove all of the seeds. Place face down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the flesh yields easily to a fork. Combine 3/4 cup of pumpkin flesh with 1/2 teaspoon tamari. Using the back of your fork, mash until a consistent mixture is formed.
To Make the Sushi Rice:
- Rinse rice well. Place rice, water, and soy sauce in a pot and bring to boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to simmer and cover. Cook for 40 minutes, or until the rice is soft and has absorbed all of the water (use a fork to peek at the pot bottom to check if all of the water has been absorbed). Let sit, covered, for ten minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt in a saucepan and heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- It is very helpful to have a kitchen scale when making sushi rice. A useful guideline for the proportion of sushi vinegar to rice: 12 percent of the weight of the cooked rice = the amount of sushi vinegar to use. If you don't have a scale and you make the amount of rice that I specify above, you are going to need about 1/3 cup of sushi vinegar, but it is really best to use a scale and do the calculation suggested above.
- Pour the sushi vinegar over the rice. While stirring the vinegar into rice, gently fan it. This will help remove excess moisture from the rice. Continue mixing until all of the sushi vinegar is incorporated (1-2 minutes). Taste and adjust as necessary. While the rice is warm the taste of the vinegar will be stronger, so keep that in mind.
To Make the Ginger Kale Chips:
- Preheat oven to 300°F
- Mix 1/2 tablespoon olive oil with 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground ginger. Massage your oil mixture into your kale, making sure that you have covered all of the nooks and crannies of the kale with oil. If you need more oil to cover all of the kale, add up to 1/2 tablespoon. Be mindful not to over-oil the chips. They only need a thin coating.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pan and put it back for another 7-10 minutes or until the chips are dry and crispy.
To Construct the Hand Rolls:
- You want your sushi rice and kabocha filling to be just over room temperature.
- Cut your full sheets of nori in half.
- Lay a half sheet on a cutting board and place a single layer of rice on the left half of the nori.
- Put a single line of wasabi diagonally from the upper left corner to the lower right edge where the rice ends.
- Place a tablespoon of kabocha filling and a handful of kale chips over the wasabi line.
- Now fold the lower left-hand corner to the upper right-hand corner edge of where the rice ends. Tuck and roll rotating down to the lower right-hand corner.
- Place a couple of grains of rice on the lower right-hand corner to seal the roll. Repeat for remaining five rolls.
- Best eaten right after they are rolled. The nori should still be crisp. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.