Rinse the rice and soak in the cooking water for at least 30 minutes. Use just a little less water than usual, to cook rice that's a bit on the dry side.
Combine the ◆ ingredients and microwave for 20 seconds at 500 W. Mix together well until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Finely chop the sweet onion and put in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes. Drain, then wrap in paper towels and dry well.
Cut the ham slices into half, and the cream cheese into 1-2 cm dice.
if you're using toppings: Take the stem ends off the cherry tomatoes and cut into wedges. Slice the cucumber thinly.
Put the freshly cooked rice in a bowl, add the sushi vinegar and onion and mix in using a cutting motion. Let cool.
Spread out a sheet of plastic wrap, and layer on the ham, cheese and sushi rice in that order.
Twist the plastic wrap to make a little ball (temarizushi). Make 12 of these.
Line the temarizushi on a serving plate. Optionally top with tomato and cucumber, sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
The ham is salty so these are good just as-is, but you can dip them in salt or soy sauce to taste when eating.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to think up a spring-inspired sushi recipe. Sashimi can be expensive if you buy several varieties, and it doesn't keep either, so I tried using cured ham that can be stored in the refrigerator. The result is a salad-like, spring themed sushi!
Make sure to drain the sweet onion very well before mixing into the rice, or the rice will become watery! You can make these with smoked salmon instead of ham. I recommend topping the sushi with lemon slices in that case. You could make two kinds of temari sushi and line them up on a big plate - it will be the star of a party!