I'm kind of a huge pain to go to a sushi restaurant with.
This is in part because I have an inexplicable distaste for scallops, lobster, and crab, and there is a lot of crab in sushi rolls.
(Don't even get me started on imitation crab. Or, for that matter, cream cheese, which is a blight on the textural delight that sushi rolls are meant to be.)
I do, however, love tuna in my sushi in absolutely any incarnation. My friend Jeannie and I used to order hamachi nigiri as dessert at our favorite local sushi spot. Which happens to also be the place that I discovered the spicy tuna hand roll.
It might surprise some people to know that my Deep South hometown has a fair number of fair sushi counters, but I daresay Jinsei is the best. Unfortunately, these days I mostly drive by and stare at it longingly, because I can't afford to eat there on the regular.
The hand roll isn't on the menu, but if you ask for it they'll wrap it right up for you on the spot. Hand rolls aren't traditional log rolls of sushi; they are cones of nori wrapped around all imaginable kinds of goodness. They got their name because they were originally meant to be eaten immediately, passed from the sushi chef right into your hot little hands, and then promptly devoured.
Jinsei's spicy tuna hand roll is a soft sheet of seaweed curled up with a little bit of sticky rice, cucumber, avocado, daikon, and spicy tuna (generally a mix of the fish with some mayo and sriracha). Sometimes it was garnished with a little seaweed salad; sometimes a smattering of sesame seeds. This one is really at the chef's discretion.
Alas, sushi-grade tuna is simply not a realistic aspiration for a weeknight meal on the Woodside. It requires enough funds and enough of a commute to be a special occasion item. Instead, I tried to just grab at those flavors and textures that I love without aiming very closely at all to the original inspiration.
In an effort to lighten things up I omitted the rice here, but it would be a delicious addition. And I will admit that I purchased pre-made coleslaw mix at the store because I am only one lady and I can never, ever finish an entire head of cabbage.
Nor would anyone appreciate that, I'd wager.
Because I can't keep my grubby little hands off anything I see in the store that's new, I'd bought these seaweed snacks a few days before, and they turned out to be a nice little taste of the ocean to energize those store-bought shrimp. Nothing really says "sushi" more than nori, and these are very lightly salty and flavored with sesame. (When I grabbed that link I discovered that there is also a wasabi version, which my store sadly does not yet stock!)
These were medium shrimp. The larger ones in my market were head-on, and I just didn't have the wherewithal to tackle that task on a Tuesday night. These were only nominally medium shrimp, when they should have perhaps been labeled shrimpy shrimp.
In other words, they were leetle guys. I poured the whole shebang into my grill pan, marinade and all, which let the soy sauce get syrupy and slightly sweet, a nice counterpoint to the BANG of wasabi.
I'm going to call for anywhere between 1 and 3 tablespoons of sriracha here—I went with three, and it was powerful hot. Just taste taste taste and see where your magic number is.
Wasabi Shrimp Hand Roll Bowl
1 (14-ounce) bag coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
3 green onions, chopped
¼ cup light mayonnaise
1 to 3 tablespoons sriracha
½ pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 avocado, chopped
Garnish: sliced nori, chopped green onions
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Whisk together soy sauce and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined; add shrimp, tossing to coat. Marinate 10 minutes.
3. Grill shrimp in grill pan over medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Pour marinade over shrimp during last minute of cooking. Place shrimp and marinade in a medium bowl, and toss with sesame seeds.
4. Divide reserved spicy coleslaw among 4 serving bowls. Top evenly with shrimp and avocado, Garnish, if desired. Makes 4 servings.