Every spring, I make it a point to celebrate with sakura blossoms. These blush-pink blooms mark the arrival of another sunny time of year, and of course, picnic or hanami season!
Many imagine the flavor of sakura blossoms as being cherry-like, but because the flowers are pickled, it’s actually much more of a salty flavor. Although the blooms have some floral undertones, sakura blossoms taste nothing like cherries.
Since we eat with our eyes, I thought it might be a good idea to feature sakura blossoms atop a savory dish like sushi. For those new to sakura, this is a great way of hinting at what you should expect to taste.
The rice of this sushi is flavored with Sakura Denbu, or flaked cod, which gives a mild fish taste to the rice. Like the blossoms themselves, this pinkish powder is both savory and sweet, and also tints the rice the prettiest shade of ballerina pink.
I like to use a thin sheet of green soy wrapper to provide a color contrast to the beautiful blossoms. The crepe-like look is especially delicate, making the rolls almost resemble little cakes!
Serve these with a hot cup of Sencha or even some of the sakura tea leftover after hydrating the blossoms. Even better, take these along for a picnic under a canopy cherry blossoms. There isn’t a better meal to celebrate springtime with!
Makes 8 pieces.
|- 1 cup cooked white rice|
|- 3 Tbsp Sakura Denbu|
|- 1 green soy wrapper (I used Yamamotoyama’s Soy Wrappers)|
|- 8 sakura blossoms|
1. Soak the blossoms in a cup of hot water for about 5 minutes. Remove the blossoms from the water, shake off any excess water, and set aside. The leftover liquid can be diluted with more hot water to create a sakura tea.
2. Scatter the Sakura Denbu in with the rice and mix together. Place the soy wrapper on a sushi mat. With wet hands, distribute the rice on the lower half of a soy wrapper sheet. Roll the mat upwards to create a tight roll. Cut the roll into 8 equal pieces.
3. Place a blossom atop each roll. Enjoy alone or as a side dish.