Spicy Jollof Sushi


When I visited Leicester University it was not the fact that traditional Asian foods and condiments were so abundantly displayed and sold in the university's supermarket that surprised, it was the fact that some of these products carried labels written fully in mandarin or Japanese!!! It was a testament to the actual fact that the Asian community is large in the city and more precisely in the Uni. So I was encouraged to buy some of these products, as I always do, and came up with a few Asian Nigerian fusion ideas....

I love sushi and my daughter loves it even more. I remember years back when I first tried it, my thoughts were, I am already used to eating sticky rice so the taste was not going to be too strange to my palate, my only worry was eating raw seafood!! I refuse to eat raw fish in my sushi due to the possible risk of contracting food poisoning, so my personal preference is for sushi made with smoked fish (salmon) and/or lightly salted and cooked prawns. The fact that sushi is served cold was also of some concern to me as I have always served and eaten rice dishes as a hot meal.

All that said, I was hooked from the very first bite and was really surprised by the variation in tastes and flavours from the seafood, wasabi paste, seaweed and teriyaki sauce. I felt its a great medley of salty (teriyaki sauce), ironic (minerals from the seafood, seaweed) and sugary (from the rice already being digested in the mouth) tastes. It was great and on many occasions, I opted to have sushi when I wanted a light lunch.


Funke Koleosho's Spicy Jollof Sushi
Being so used to spicy food, I often craved a little spice in my sushi because it just felt right and appear to reduce the someone nauseous feelings I get when I have had too much....so I got thinking. I will add some spice to my sushi rice and see what happens. I tell you, it gave the sushi a new dimension in taste.

Now to the presentation of sushi, my daughter asked me if I know why sushi is served as small sliced rolls. Why is it not just served as rice & curry  or our very own rice & stew with everything on a plate. This question amused me but it also gave me a reason to ponder why....and my best response was that, the Japanese are so creative and view food as a form of art so they came up with this clever presentation to make the food appeal to those who are eating it. There is also an element of care in the presentation because the portions are well balanced and there is no chance of anyone eating too much and becoming fat! She laughed.

Okay, back to the recipe. If you have been following my blog posts closely you would have noticed how I love to serve everything in miniature sizes. I think food looks more interesting when served this way and allays the fears of over eating. It also offers the opportunity to eat small portions of a wide range of food. Sushi makes great canapés and offers the possibility to mix and match tastes, flavours and textures. If properly rolled and laid out they do look a pretty sight and would be the delight of any party guest.

In my Spicy Jollof Sushi, I have introduced a degree of spiciness Nigerian style. And because I wanted to make it a real fusion and not just serving jollof with all its usual trimming in a a roll, I have add rich and flavourful smoked salmon, balanced with sweet peppers and cucumbers for texture, and finished off with some creamy avocado for added flavour. I have stuck with the basic sushi making concept and not changed too much of the defining ingredients but...... errrrrr, I did not use seaweed.....

Sushi, I know does not appeal to everyone, but if you are like me being initially skeptical,  give this fusion a try.....let me know how much you love it or not!

Spicy Jollof Sushi
What you need
  • Proper sushi rice (because it has the right amount of starch which is best to make the rice sticky and hold well together. I used a brand called Nikishi rice).
  • Fresh red sweet peppers. Thinly cut into finger-like slices
  • Cucumber (Thinly cut into finger-like slices)
  • Ripe avocado pear. Thinly cut into finger-like slices
  • A jar of jollof cooking sauce (or make some jollof rice base sauce using peppers, onions, tomatoes, scotch bonnet chillis - get recipe here)
  • Smoked salmon slices. (You can also use some pre-cooked prawns in addition to the salmon or as an alternative. Smoked mackerel also works and be used as an alternative to salmon)
  • Equipment: you need a sushi rolling mat lined with cling film to avoid the rice sticking to the mat.

What to do
  1. First you have to cook the sushi rice using some jollof rice sauce. Care must be taken when cooking to avoid burning the rice. 
  2. Start by adding 1 cup of jollof sauce into a deep base pan. Then add one and half cup of sushi rice, add two cups of hot water, still all together and cover the pot tight to allow the rice to steam cook. As the water evaporates from the rice, stir in a little additional seasoning of choice and taste for salt. This is because this sushi is not served with teriyaki or soy sauce. I also add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Stir well and cover pot again to cook rice until soft. Remove pot from the stove and allow rice to cool to room temperature.
  3. Lay the sushi rolling mat on a flat surface and carefully spoon some of the cooled rice on. Gently use a spoon to spread the rice across the surface of the mat. 
  4. Then follow by laying the salmon slices over the rice and on top of the salmon, toward the top of the mat, lay the sliced peppers, cucumbers and avocado. 
  5. Then carefully lift the top end of the mat and roll the spread of rice over the peppers, cucumbers and avocado. Press down gently but firmly to secure the cylindrical shape of the resulting sushi role. Continue to roll over the rice with mat until until you get to the end of the mat. Press down on the mat to secure the rice and the filling. 
  6. Then remove the mat carefully and slice the sushi roll into bite-size pieces. Use a very sharp knife to get trough the slice without crumbling the rice or dislodging the filling. Done.

Funke Koleosho's Spicy Jollof Sushi

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