Sesame-Scallion Crab Salad Maki

June 29, 2011

This is the last of my recently discovered pictures from last summer! I had never made sushi before, and this recipe from  Golden Door Cooks at Home (another library book with gorgeous photos) sounded delicious. While I absolutely love traditional raw sushi, I’m not yet familiar with any sources for high-quality raw fish in my area, so I will leave that preparation to the professionals.

Rather than using fresh crab, which I can’t justify at upwards of $25 per pound (last I checked), I went the cheap route and used fake crab, which is what is usually used in California rolls. It doesn’t have the same flavor or texture as real crabmeat, but I do like its flavor and the price is far more palatable! I found most of the other ingredients in my (admittedly fairly well-stocked) local grocery store, but I did have to go to a specialty Asian food store to find the bonito flakes.

Actually assembling and rolling up the maki wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. While each one wasn’t shaped entirely perfectly, I was happy with how they turned out for my first try!


Makes 6 rolls (8 pieces each)


  • 3/4  cup sushi rice


  • 1/4  cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3  tablespoons mirin
  • 2  tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons bonito flakes


  • 1  tablespoon plus 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons mirin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1  teaspoon honey
  • 1/4  teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 8  ounces fresh crab meat, picked over for shells (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2  tablespoons thinly sliced fresh scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1/4  cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1  tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 6  whole nori sheets (5×8 inches)


  1. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Place rinsed rice in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with water by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the ponzu by stirring together the lemon juice, mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and bonito flakes in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, mirin, and a pinch of salt until well blended. Fold into the hot rice and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, honey, and sesame oil. Add the crab, scallions, cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds. Gently mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup rice vinegar with 1 cup water. (This “hand vinegar” is used to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands as you form the rolls.) Set aside.
  6. Place a sushi mat on the work surface in front of you so that the bamboo runs horizontally. Lay a sheet of nori shiny side down on the mat so that the longer side is closest to you and is flush with the bottom of the mat. Place about 3 heaping tablespoons of rice on the nori. Wet your hands with the hand vinegar and pat the rice out to cover the bottom half of the nori. Spread one-sixth (about 1/4 cup) of the crab salad evenly across the bottom two-thirds of the rice.
  7. Roll the bamboo mat away from you to tightly roll up the nori. Moisted the top edge of the nori with a little hand vinegar and roll the cylinder to the end to seal it. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  8. To serve, cut each roll into eight equal pieces with a sharp knife and pass the ponzu sauce on the side.

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