I’ve always had a penchant for the whimsical. My parents were kind enough to gift me with a vast library of gorgeous children books brimming with illustrations of magical kingdoms, wish-granting fishes and fanciful food items never seen on this earth. These early experiences of peering into the imaginations of others impacted not only the art I make but also the recipes I think up and these Mango Enoki Maki Rolls are no exception.
Of course, when testing a recipe, taste is paramount but I do find myself spending an almost unhealthy amount of time agonizing over how a recipe will look when it’s complete. I want to feel at least a touch of that wonder I felt looking at those illustrations when I look at my food. This is, of course, a work in progress.
When devising the Mango Enoki Maki Rolls I knew I wanted to work with enoki. Enoki looks like something Alice or Dorthy would come across in their adventures. The mango, avocado and cucumber were added because I think they’re the holy trinity of pleasing colours, tastes and textures. The butter lettuce gave a softer texture (both in terms of look and eating experience ) to the roll that charmed me.
I knew I had hit whimisical food pay dirt with these rolls when my friend Molly commented that it looked like I had placed a garden in the middle of each roll. Then, becuase I’m unable to celebrate any victory, I was concerned I had made “pretty food” that historically does not live up to the way it looks in terms of flavor. I usually reserve this designation for fondant-clad cakes and those “edible” silver ball sprinkle-thingies that are hell-bent on murdering crowns and fillings. I’m happy to announce that these Mango Enoki Maki Rolls do not belong in the “pretty food” category. I would gladly eat them all the time if I was brave enough to make sushi all the time.
- 3 cups prepared sushi rice (Lady & Pups held my hand through this)
- 5 sheets of nori
- 1 cluster of enoki mushrooms
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into thick strips
- 1 avocado, pitted and cut into thick strips
- 1/4 of cucumber, cut into thick strips
- 1 head butter lettuce, washed
- 1 batch spicy mayo
- 1/2 cup Kewpie Mayonnaise
- 1/8 cup sriracha
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- Place a piece nori on a sushi mat wrapped in plastic wrap.
- Cover the nori in a thin layer of sushi rice leaving 1-inch of the edge farthest away from you exposed.
- Place two leaves of butter lettuce in the center of the nori sheet. Top lettuce with mango, avocado and enoki mushrooms. Keep everything compact and close together.
- Drizzle the vegetables with spicy mayo.
- Dab your finger in a little water and run it across the exposed edge of the nori sheet.
- Using the sushi mat, roll the dressed nori sheet away from you until the roll is sealed.
- Refine the shape of sushi roll by pressing the sushi mat on top of the maki and apply pressure evenly.
- Slice finished roll into 6-8 pieces. If you find your knife gets sticky while you're slicing, wipe it down with a piece of paper towel soaked in rice vinegar.
- Repeat with remaining sheets of nori or until the toppings run out.
- Serve immediately with pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi and lots of sake.