For Valentine’s Day, surprise your spouse with a special sushi Valentine Roll – or send it to someone all alone as a gift for a red-letter day.
Considering that the Day of Love falls on Ash Wednesday, it likewise serves as an ideal alternative for those who wish to go meatless. Or instead of fasting, do good and make sacrifices for loved ones.
With this in mind, Chef Pepa Escalante shared some guidelines and twists on how to prepare her very own recipe.
A dainty take on the traditional Japanese staple, this mouthwatering treat comes with a decadent serving of sushi rice embraced by thinly sliced fresh sushi-grade tuna.
“It is easy to make. It will also not take too much of your time,” she stated.
“You can switch up the ingredients. Be creative with what you have in the pantry!” she explained. “You may substitute tuna with fresh or smoked salmon. You may also add other vegetables or fruits such as lettuce, perilla leaf, avocado, mango, or even kimchi.”
A magna cum laude Culinary Arts graduate from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (SHRIM) gave one more advice: Sauté the kimchi first to lose its moisture.
Chef Pepa trained at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai through a partnership with Benilde. She took courses on Hospitality Law, International Tourism, and Facilities Management. She also further honed her culinary skills at the Pastry and Cold Kitchens of Burj Al Arab, one of the most iconic hotels in the city.
Equipped with her passion for both cooking and teaching, she decided to share her experiences with the culinary aspirants of her alma mater as an instructor on Garde Manger and Filipino and International Cuisines.
Currently, she is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Pantree Food Concepts, Inc.
Yield: 1 whole sushi roll
100 g fresh sushi-grade tuna, sliced thinly
80 g cream cheese, sliced lengthwise
80 g cucumber, julienned
40 g carrots, julienned
20 g Japanese mayonnaise
40 ml rice vinegar
3/4 cup cooked Japanese/short-grain rice
1 tsp vegetable oil
15 g white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 pc nori sheet
Condiments: Wasabi, Japanese soy sauce, Sriracha, mayonnaise
Tools: Bamboo mat, sharp knife, cling wrap, chopping board
1. Combine rice vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the sugar granules dissolve. Cool the vinegar mixture, then slowly add to the cooked rice. Gently stir until the rice is slightly sticky. Set aside.
2. Cover the bamboo mat in cling wrap. Place half a sheet of nori on top. Put the cooked rice evenly on the nori. Flip it over so that the rice is facing the bamboo mat.
3. Assemble the cream cheese, cucumber, and carrots on the other side of the nori sheet. Spread the Japanese mayonnaise on top. Roll the sushi, pressing lightly as you go.
4. Transfer the roll to the chopping board. Place the bamboo mat over it. Lightly press down using the tip of your fingers to create a half-heart shape.
5. Cover the sushi with a layer of sliced tuna. Place a sheet of cling film on top of the sushi roll. Use the bamboo mat to press the tuna onto the roll.
6. Slice the sushi roll carefully with a sharp knife with the cling film still on, until you come up with 8 pieces of sushi. Remove cling film. Assemble on a plate.
7. Serve with wasabi and Japanese soy sauce or Sriracha mayo.