Smoked salmon temari zushi: Ball-shaped sushi


Following up on the previous recipe for shell shaped sushi, here is another kind of sushi that’s great for parties. Temari are small cloth balls made from leftover scraps of kimono fabric, and temari zushi are meant to look like these colorful toys. You can make temari zushi with any number of things, such as thinly sliced sashimi grade fish, boiled and butterflied shrimp, thinly sliced and cooked or uncooked vegetables, and even thin slices of cheese.

For these, I’ve used thinly cut slices of pale pink smoked salmon, with tiny amount of cream cheese inside, rather in the same vein as a New York Roll - quite non-traditional but it’s a great combination. The key is to make the temari zushi on the small side since they are quite rich.

As with the hamaguri-zushi, these don’t require any soy sauce for dipping.

Smoked salmon temari zushi


  • Tiny bowl or small teacup with about 1/3 to 1/2 cup cup capacity
  • Plastic cling film

The procedure for making these is the same as for Onigiri 2.0, but even easier. A small teacup is lined with plastic wrap, then a slice of salmon, and filled with rice. Everything is gathered up and squeezed in the plastic wrap, and formed into a little ball.

salmontemarizushistep1.square.jpgLine the cup or little bowl (I used a tiny glass bowl that I use for holding small amounts of ingredients and such when cooking) with plastic cling film, then a slice of smoked salmon.

salmontemarizushistep2.square.jpgFill with sushi rice. Poke a hole in the middle and put about 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese in there. I used a kind with olive bits in it, which makes it even more interesting.

salmontemarizushistep3.square.jpgGather up the cling film and twist tightly, and form into a ball. Unmold and sprinkle a tiny bit of green if desired.

If you are bringing these to a picnic or something, leave the plastic wrap on. Try to keep cool until you eat it, since this amount of smoked salmon on the outside will get nastily greasy if left too warm.


The pale pink sushi rice makes a subtle yet nice contrast to regular white sushi rice. You can make little balls alternating both, for a pretty display, to serve as a side dish or as the rice part of your bento box.


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6 comments so far...

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Hi Maki, I’ve been a long

Hi Maki,

I’ve been a long time reader of your blog. I have to say I love these sushi balls, they’re so cute. They look positively poppable. One thing though, I’ve never seen pink smoked salmon before. The color’s rather refreshing :)


Elaine | 4 March, 2007 - 22:08

smoked salmon

Hmm..I’ve seen smoked salmon in colors ranging from bright salmon-pink to pale pink. (the kind I used for the temari sushi is ‘wild Atlantic salmon’ from a Norwegian company, bought at the supermarket.) It would work with any color smoked salmon or lox though!

maki | 4 March, 2007 - 22:27


yuuuuuuuuuummm!!! now, i know hat to make for dinner tonight!!

Riana | 5 March, 2007 - 10:21

Salmon for sushi

Hello, I woul like to know, what’s the name of the Salmon used for suhi, what I mean is, how to buy it…I know is a “special one”…I need help pleaseeeee

Thank you!

Monica | 26 May, 2007 - 00:29

salmon for sushi

I don’t know where you are Monica, but it might be a bit hard to find salmon that is suitable for sushi. As a matter of fact many people in Japan stay away from raw salmon (it’s often salted, or cured (salted and marinated in vinegar)), believing it to have parasites which need to be dealt with.

In the event you can though I guess if you are in the U.S. look for sushi grade salmon (or any other kind of raw fish) - never never_ use any kind of raw fish that is not labeled this way. In Japan you’d look for salmon sashimi, which is not that commonly sold. (namazake_ is ‘raw salmon’ in Japanese).

maki | 26 May, 2007 - 10:25

Awesome stuff

Hey Maki — I made these yesterday for a 4th of July party, just a casual thing with a couple friends. I followed your technique on sushi rice and these lovely little balls, and it turned out great. I also made some wrapped in super-thin cucumber slices, as we had some left over from making cucumber sandwiches; they were good ,but next time I will salt the cucumber and maybe pickle it a little to help break down its structure and get it to wrap more tightly. At any rate, these temari zushi are officially in my repertory. Thanks!

Sean | 5 July, 2007 - 18:55

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