Ditch the Ham This Christmas for DIY Holiday-Themed Sushi

Not everyone is into firing up the oven and loading up on flour and sugar to make festive treats for the holidays. If you’re the type who’d rather have sashimi than sweets, then you’ll love this holiday sushi created by Simon Feil, owner of Sushi by Simon, which specializes in interactive sushi events for groups. His fun creations will definitely get you in the holiday spirit:

While Feil’s sushi would be a little tough to recreate at home, it is possible (especially if you have experience making maki rolls and inside-out rolls). Start with sushi rice seasoned with rice vinegar. You’ll want to thoroughly mix in enough vinegar so that the rice feels moldable. Then, let it a bit before moving on to the more detailed instructions on each specific design below. Keep in mind that keeping your hands wet and using saran wrap will help prevent the rice from sticking to your hands as you go—and that you can find some of the more unusual ingredients below at an Asian market.
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Snowman
1. Start by molding two balls of seasoned rice, one smaller than the other. You’ll want to place a piece of saran wrap in your hand (so the rice doesn’t stick to your hands), put some rice on top of it, then wrap the saran warp around the piece and twist the edges tightly to help form the balls. Flatten the smaller ball a bit so you’ll be able to place the cucumber “hat” on it later.

2. Place two skinny pieces of brown burdock root into the larger rice ball for the snowman’s arms, and wrap a piece of salmon around his neck for a scarf (Feil recommends slicing a piece of salmon lengthwise but leave it attached at one end).

3. Use thin cross-sections of brown burdock root topped with black sesame seeds for eyes and a small piece of orange burdock root for a “carrot” nose. Finish with a thin piece of nori for the snowman’s smile, and chop off the edge of a cucumber for a hat.

Santa
1. Using a similar technique to the one outlined above for the snowman, place a chunk of seasoned rice in saran wrap, and shape it into a triangle with soft edges. Then, take a triangular piece of tuna cut at an angle that matches the rice, and place it on the rice to be the red section of Santa’s hat. Use a strip of crab stick (the white section) wrapped around the rice as the white part of Santa’s hat.

2. Use thin cross-sections of brown burdock root topped with black sesame seeds for eyes and a thin cross-section of orange burdock root for a nose. Finish with a thin piece of nori for the mouth and bigger cross-sections of orange burdock root for the rosy cheeks.

Menorah
1. Make maki rolls (with nori on the outside) with cucumber, crab sticks (don’t worry—it’s imitation!), and tuna. Cut all but one roll into six pieces.

2. Using the uncut role as the middle of the menorah, arrange all of the other pieces around it to form the shape of a menorah. Use pieces of salmon for the flames (and a piece of tuna as the flame for the shamash).

Festive Sushi
1. Start making an inside-out roll, and cover half of the roll with green tobiko (a.k.a. fish eggs) and the other half with red tobiko. Use salmon to fill the roll, then roll up and cut into six pieces.

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