My use of pickled okra has become somewhat of a “signature” throughout my sushi career. It is a nod to my Southern roots, and I almost always feature it in some form. Here, I like it paired with fresh corn kernels. If the corn is very sweet and fresh, you can forego blanching it.
Rice Prep Time: Up to 1½ hours
Sushi Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 Rolls (20 pieces)
Four 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) nori sheets
3 cups (600 g) Traditional Sushi Rice, Brown Sushi Rice, Quinoa Sushi “Rice” or Multi-Grain Sushi Rice
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
8 large pickled okra
½ carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
½ red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
4 tablespoons corn kernels, blanched
Place a 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) sheet of nori vertically on a bamboo rolling mat. Make sure that the short end is parallel to the bottom of the mat and that the rough side is facing upwards.
Dip your fingertips lightly in cool water and spread about ¾ cup (150 g) of the sushi rice evenly over the bottom ¾ of the nori.
Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the sesame seeds over the rice. Sprinkle ¼ of the green onions over the rice. Arrange 2 pieces of pickled okra end to end across the center of the sushi rice, making sure they extend to both edges of the nori. Lay ¼ of the carrots and red bell peppers in neat lines above the pickled okra. Add 1 tablespoon of the corn kernels in a neat line across the rice.
Wet your fingertips again and slide your thumbs underneath the mat while grasping the fillings with all other fingertips. Roll the bottom of the mat just over the fillings, tucking the fillings tightly under the fold. (Do not allow the mat to get stuck inside the roll!)
Lift the edge of the mat. Continue rolling until the roll is complete and the seam is facing down. Gently shape the roll by pressing your forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers on the sides.
Allow the roll to rest seam-side down on a cutting board for at least 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 3 more rolls.
To cut the rolls, dip the blade of a very sharp knife in water. Use a swift sawing motion to cut each roll into 5 pieces.