Sansei Special Roll


sushi chef kitchen mauiRecipe from: D.K. Kodama’s Sushi Chronicles From Hawaii

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1-inch-square piece of kombu (kelp)


  • 2 cups hot cooked rice


  • 6 tablespoons cooked blue crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons imitation crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons smelt roe (masago)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal (Indonesian chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1/2 sheet, cut lengthwise, nori (dried seaweed)
  • 1/2 cup Sushi Rice
  • 1 tablespoon furikake (rice seasoning)
  • 1/4 cup Spicy Crab Mix
  • 1/4 by 4-inch stick Japanese cucumber
  • 1 slice avocado
  • 14 kiaware sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Thai chili sauce


SHARI ZU: A sushi bar standard, everyone has their own version. This is ours [Sansei’s]. The thing you have to remember when adding this to rice is that the resulting rice is not the star attraction when you eat it. For the rice to be perfect, the shari zu should be like a butler, like a good supporting actor: the star attraction is everything else besides the rice. It’s definitely a balancing act. Besides adding flavor, shari zu is also a method of preserving the sushi rice.

In a sauce pan, add the vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the sugar and salt and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to medium and cook until the sugar and salt have dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the kombu. Allow to cool before using. This amount will season up to 16 cups of cooked rice. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.

SUSHI RICE:  There’s no sushi without sushi rice. To get it right, you must use a wooden spoon and must mix it very gently.

After cooking the rice, transfer it to rice tub or wooden bowl. Pour the shari zu over all the rice. Using a rice paddle or wooden spoon, mix or cut the rice gently with a slicing motion. Make sure all the grains are seasoned with the shari zu, but be careful not to overmix or the rice will get mushy. This whole process must be done quickly. Spread the rice evenly in the tub. After 10 minutes, turn the rice over and let it rest until cool. Transfer the rice to an insulated container to keep it from drying out.

SPICY CRAB MIX: This mix is the basis for our Sansei Special Roll. It can be used in salads, as a stuffing for shellfish, or let your imagination run wild.

Squeeze all the liquid from the crab. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

SANSEI SPECIAL ROLL: To assemble the roll, place the nori, shiny-side down, on a cutting board with the short side closest to you. Spread the rice evenly on the nori. Sprinkle the rice with the furikake. Flip the nori over, so the rice side is facing down and the nori side is facing up. Place the spicy crab mix, cucumber, avocado, and sprouts evenly across the bottom third of the nori.

With your thumbs, lift the edge of the nori that’s closest to you. Using your fingers to keep the filling in place, roll the edge of the nori away from you so that it just slightly tucks under the filling. Continue to roll the nori, jelly-roll style into a tight cylinder, making sure there are no air pockets. The seam should be on the bottom. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the roll. Place a bamboo mate over the plastic wrap and shape into a squarish roll. Remove the mat and plastic wrap and cut into 6 pieces. Make sure the ends are tucked in so the roll doesn’t fall apart when you cut it. Arrange the pieces on a plate and drizzle on top with the sweet Thai chili sauce.


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