There are many types of sushi in Japan and one such type are these Temari sushi balls, known as Temarizushi in Japanese. This dainty and beautiful sushi is like an edible art form resembling decorative traditional Japanese embroidered balls. However, although they may look intricate, they’re actually much easier to make than regular sushi rolls. Temarizushi requires less skill, less equipment, and makes less mess!
If you’ve ever made sushi at home yourself, you’ll know that there can be quite a mess afterwards with little bits of rice sticking everywhere… but not with these sushi balls! All you need to do is shape them in plastic wrap, remove your perfectly shaped little balls, then throw the wrap away and enjoy your sushi!
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What is Temari Sushi?
Temari sushi, or Temarizushi, is a type of sushi in Japan in the form of a small sphere adorned with fresh ingredients artistically placed on top. It was named after Temari balls, a type of traditional Japanese folk art made from beautifully woven balls. The word Temari itself means “hand ball” with this craft originally made with silk kimono scraps and used as a children’s toy similar to a hacky sack. Nowadays, temari balls are purely decorative ornaments made with intricate designs and used as gifts for happy occasions and celebrations. Temari sushi is also a go-to for celebrations like Girl’s Day ‘Hinamatsuri’ in Japan and can easily be modified to suit festive holidays like Christmas and Halloween!
The ingredients for Temari sushi are the same as any other type of sushi like hand rolls and nigiri sushi. The most important thing is to use perfectly seasoned sushi rice and fresh ingredients so the sushi tastes fantastic and the colours pop. Here are some ingredient suggestions and flavour combinations:
1. Sushi Rice
Follow my recipe to make perfect sushi rice every time. No more mushy sushi rice.
If you’re a fan of raw fish, use fresh sashimi salmon, tuna, and sea bream (tai) and fish eggs like salmon roe (ikura). Otherwise try cooked/boiled shrimp, crab, lobster, octopus, and egg omelette.
Once you’ve got the ingredients of your choice, it’s time to decorate! Mixing different textures, flavours, and colours creates the most vibrant, beautiful, and delicious Temarizushi. Some vegetable suggestions are cucumber, radish, shiso leaf, and avocado. These can be used as the main ingredient and as garnishes. Other garnish suggestions to finish your temari balls off are fish eggs, okra, yuzu, and herb leaves like watercress and chives.
How to Make Temari Sushi/ Temarizushi
- make sushi rice following my recipe and instruction.
- prepare other ingredients. Slice cucumber and radish or vegetables of your choice, and fry egg and cut it into a circle using a cookie cutter. I used store bought cooked and peeled prawn to score from belly side, but not cut through completely.
- Place a cut of cling wrap on a small bowl and put an ingredient down at the bottom of the bowl.
- Then place about 1/4 cup of rice or 1.7oz(50g) of sushi rice over the ingredient.
- Wrap the cling wrap around and shape the sushi ball.
- Remove the cling wrap.
- Top with other ingredients such as fish roe, or small piece of yuzu.
Holiday Temari Sushi Variations
Celebrate Halloween in Japanese style by making temari sushi into skulls, pumpkin faces, and other spooky Halloween themed designs. They’re perfect for a party and will be the standout platter on the table. The smoked salmon makes a great “pumpkin”, and seaweed can be used to make black cats, bats, and scary faces! Use whatever vegetables, meat, or fish you think will look great and taste delicious, using them to decorate your sushi as spooky or cute as you like.
Christmas Temari sushi is perfect for Christmas party food. These cute little sushi balls put a fun little Japanese spin on your Christmas party food. They’re easy to make on the day without much prior preparation and are fun for the whole family to decorate, especially the kids! For a festive touch on the sushi balls, you can make Rudolph with deep fried tofu (inari sushi) and Santa with smoked or raw salmon.
Tips for Making the Prettiest Temari Sushi Ball
- Prepare the topping decorations ahead of time (especially for the Halloween and Christmas ones) because it can take time to cut all the little pieces like the seaweed (nori) sheets.
- Use chopsticks, tweezers, or forceps to place the toppings to avoid misplacing the pieces or squishing or ruining the sushi balls.
How to Serve
Since these sushi balls are mini and bite-sized, they make great finger-food for your next party or event. They’re delicious and picture-perfect.
The decorating part is definitely the most fun! Once you’re done, serve with soy sauce, mayo, and wasabi (making sure to save any spicy ones for the adults!) And don’t forget the Gari (Japanese pickled ginger), to wash out the taste of the fish so the flavours don’t collide in your mouth!
If you liked my recipe for Temari Sushi, please rate it and leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest happenings on Chopstick Chronicles. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ChopstickChronicles so I see your wonderful creations!
- 2 cups uncooked sushi rice
- 1 tsp kombu dashi powder or about 2inch(5cm) Kombu strip
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 1½ tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 slice smoked salmon thinly sliced
- 1 egg fried flat
- 1 mini cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 small radish thinly sliced
- 1 tsp fish roe for toppings *2
- Cook the sushi rice following Chopstick Chronicles' Sushi Rice recipe*1
- Slice the mini cucumber and a radish to set aside.
- Crack the egg and fry it flat in a frying pan. When it is cooled down, cut out 2 rounds using the 6.5cm diameter cookie cutter.
- Score the belly side of the prawn to flat them.
Shaping Temari Sushi
- place your favourite topping in the centre of a piece of cling wrap.
- Place a scoop of rice on top of the topping by using a 1/3 cup then seal it together with the cling wrap and softly squish and shape it into a ball.
- Continue to make sushi balls with various toppings.
- Remove the cling wrap and place them on a serving plate.
- Using a pair of chopstick or a tweezers, decorate the top of each temari sushi.