Sesame Strawberry Rhubarb Rolls

Strawberries for sushi? Why not! Thin slices of the fruit lie elegantly on top of a roll filled with sesame rhubarb. Use a mandoline to slice the strawberries as thinly as possible. Be sure to blot the strawberries dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towel before placing them on the sushi roll, or they will not adhere easily.

Rice Prep Time: Up to 1½ hours
Sushi Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes 2 rolls (16 pieces)

1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) water
Four 4-in (10-cm) stalks rhubarb
4 tablespoons soy sauce
8 large strawberries, sliced very thinly
Two 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) nori sheets
1½ cups (300 g) Traditional Sushi Rice or Brown Sushi Rice
4 inari pouches, cut into thin strips
1 oz (30 g) daikon radish, shredded
2 tablespoons Vegetarian Eel Sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

In a medium pan over high heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Add the rhubarb and soy sauce. Boil for 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape. Remove rhubarb from liquid and allow to cool.
Lay one sheet of nori on your cutting board and cover with a length of plastic film. Arrange half the strawberry slices in two overlapping lines across the center of the nori. Set the strawberry sheet aside and repeat with a second piece of plastic wrap.
To assemble the rolls, place one sheet of nori directly on your cutting board, making sure that the long end is parallel to the bottom of the board and the rough side is facing upwards.
Wet your fingertips lightly and spread about ¾ cup (150 g) of sushi rice evenly over the entire surface of the nori.
Flip the nori over so that the rice is face down on the cutting board. Add half of the inari strips across the center of the nori. Top with half of the rhubarb and daikon pieces.
Wet your fingertips again and slide your thumbs underneath the nori while grasping fillings with all other fingertips. Roll the bottom of the nori just over the fillings, making sure to tightly tuck the fillings under the fold.
Continue rolling and tucking until the roll is completed. Use the bamboo rolling mat covered in plastic wrap to gently shape the roll, pressing forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers into the sides.
Place the roll seam-side down on the cutting board. (Do not cut yet!) Make another roll with the remaining ingredients.
Invert one strawberry sheet over the first sushi roll. Leave the plastic wrap in place and press the strawberries onto the roll with the bamboo mat. Repeat with the second roll.
Wet the tip of a very sharp knife. Leaving the plastic wrap in place, slice each roll into 8 pieces. Use the mat to press the strawberries into the roll again before removing plastic wrap. Arrange the pieces on a serving tray. Drizzle with Vegetarian Eel Sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.