Kumamoto Nankan-age Ginger Rice Sushi Rolls

Kumamoto Nankan-age Ginger Rice Sushi Rolls

I turned sushi rice packed with spring ginger pickled in sweet vinegar and sesame seeds into sushi rolls wrapped with sweet and salty simmered Nankan-age, a type of thin fried tofu that's the pride of Kumamoto prefecture.

Ingredients: 4 servings

◎Japanese dashi stock
100 ml
◎ Soy sauce
1 tablespoon
◎ Usukuchi soy sauce
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon
Raw rice
3 rice cooker cups (540 ml)
● Sushi Vinegar (store bought)
90 ml
●Toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons
● Sweet pickled ginger (handmade)
60 g
・Imitation crab sticks
・Canned tuna
1 small can
1 teaspoon
Soy sauce
1 teaspoon


1. Pour hot water over the Nankan-age to remove excess oil on the surface.
2. Add ◎ ingredients - dashi, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to the de-oiled Nankan-age in a pan. Cover with a small lid that fits right on top of the contents (a drop lid or otoshibuta) and simmer gently until the nankan-age absorbs the flavors.
3. Cook the rice. Mix the ● ingredients (sushi vinegar, ground sesame, and minced sweet-pickled ginger) into the freshly cooked rice using a cut-and-fold motion.
4. Boil the asparagus and set aside. Drain the oil from the canned tuna, and mix in 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Stir-fry the tuna in a dry pan until crumbly.
5. Spread plastic wrap on a sushi mat, lay the the simmered Nankan-age on top, and spread it with the mixed sushi rice from step 3.
6. Place the boiled asparagus, crab sticks and cooked tuna in the middle and roll up the Nankan-age and rice as you would a sushi roll.
7. Neaten the roll by pressing it over the plastic wrap that you spread out under the roll.

Story Behind this Recipe

Nankan-age is a type of flat fried tofu or aburaage, that is a traditional food speciality from the town of Nankan in Kumamoto prefecture. Each piece of Nankan-age is big, about 30cm long. They keep well, and have a different texture from regular aburaage. I combined sushi rice flavored with homemade new harvest ginger pickled in sweet vinegar and fragrant roasted sesame seeds with sweet-salty simmered Nankan-age for a "aburaage sushi roll with a twist."