Every spring, I make it a point to celebrate with sakura blossoms. These blush-pink blooms mark the arrival of another sunny time of year, and of course, picnic or hanami season! Sakura Blossom Sushi can be enjoyed deep into spring, even after the last blooms fall. The recipe makes use of cherry blossoms preserved in salt and plum vinegar. Many imagine the flavor of sakura blossoms as being cherry-like, but because the flowers are pickled, it’s actually much more of a salty flavor. Although the blooms have some floral undertones, sakura blossoms taste nothing like cherries.
Since we eat with our eyes, I thought it might be a good idea to feature sakura blossoms atop a savory dish like sushi. For those new to sakura, this is a great way of hinting at what you should expect to taste. The rice of this sushi is flavored with Sakura Denbu, or flaked cod, which gives a mild fish taste to the rice. Like the blossoms themselves, this pinkish powder is both savory and sweet, and also tints the rice the prettiest shade of ballerina pink.
I like to use a thin sheet of green soy wrapper to provide a color contrast to the beautiful blossoms. The crepe-like look is especially delicate, making the rolls almost resemble little cakes!Serve these with a hot cup of Sencha or even some of the sakura tea leftover after hydrating the blossoms. Even better, take these along for a picnic under a canopy of cherry blossoms (or any blossom-studded tree!). There isn’t a better meal to celebrate springtime with!
This post is sponsored by Yamamotoyama.
Sakura Blossom Sushi
Makes 8 pieces.
1 cup cooked white rice
3 Tbsp Sakura Denbu
1 green soy wrapper (I used Yamamotoyama’s Soy Wrappers)
8 pickled sakura blossoms
1. Soak the blossoms in a cup of hot water for about 5 minutes. Remove the blossoms from the water, shake off any excess water, and set aside. The leftover liquid can be diluted with more hot water to create a sakura tea.
2. Scatter the Sakura Denbu in with the rice and mix together. Place the soy wrapper on a sushi mat. With wet hands, distribute the rice on the lower half of a soy wrapper sheet. Roll the mat upwards to create a tight roll. Cut the roll into 8 equal pieces.
3. Place a blossom atop each roll. Enjoy alone or as a side dish.