Octopus Sushi (Cooked Sushi Recipe)

Octopus Sushi (Cooked Sushi Recipe) Recipe

We've been setting up my little sis-in-law’s school lunch menu as she's about to enter 1st grade tomorrow. She participated in the entire process. The little munchkin mentioned that she loves sushi and wanted to have some for lunch this school year. It's a fast and easy way for her to have a quick lunch, so I was happy to oblige. She also mentioned she loves baby octopus but she doesn't want to scare her friends away with weird food so I coarsely chopped them and used them as the filling along with other vegetables. I cooked each ingredient separately, let them cool completely and then combined then into sushi rolls. The sushi got an “A” from my sis-in-law, so I'll definitely be packing them for her this school year.

Involving children in preparing their own food encourages them to eat with more enthusiasm. Cooking in a fun environment is also a way to learn. If your kids aren’t adventurous enough for octopus, you can try some of my other school lunch recipe ideas.


Yields: 12 sushi rolls

½ cup Japanese short-grained sushi rice , cooked, warm
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 baby octopus, frozen
2 tablespoons caramelized onions
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons red cabbage, thinly shredded
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 yellow squash, cut into quarters, lengthwise
3 mini zucchini, cut into quarters, lengthwise
1 ounce firm tofu
½ cup ponzu soy sauce, + extra for serving
3 small toasted nori sheets
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground


For the rice: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon rice vinegar over the warm rice. Using chopsticks, gently separate the rice without breaking the grains of rice. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the tofu (I add left-over fried tofu):

Drain any liquid from the tofu. Pat dry with a paper towel. Slice the piece of tofu into thin slices. In a non-stick pan, heat some oil and fry the tofu slices and transfer to a plate, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan. Once the tofu is cool enough to handle, cut the pieces into ½" strips. Set aside.

For the octopus:

Blanch the octopus for 1 minute in boiling water with caramelized onions then transfer into an ice bath. Drain thoroughly, then pat dry on a paper towel and coarsely chop. Do not overcook, as the octopus will continue to cook in soy sauce later; it should be still tender or you'll have chewy, over-cooked seafood.

In the same pan, add the garlic. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, add the shiitake mushrooms. Cook until slightly translucent. Add the octopus, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.

Prepping the cabbage: Combine the cabbage with 1 tablespoon vinegar. Toss thoroughly. Drain and discard any liquid. Add sugar and set aside.

For the veggies and tofu:

Add more oil if necessary. Repeat the same procedure for the carrot (cook for about 2 minutes, add soy sauce). Transfer to a plate. Repeat the same procedure for the zucchini and yellow squash (separately). You might want to add a drizzle of water for the zucchini and squash to become tender.

Lastly, add the tofu and the rest of the soy sauce and braise the tofu until brown.

Set the plates aside.

Assembly time:

Line a sushi mat with plastic-wrap on both sides.

Place a small nori sheet on the mat. Wet your hands with warm water and take one handful of rice. Divide it in half. Put one half in the nori sheet and spread it evenly, stopping ½-inch before the end of the rectangle. Gently press so the rice adheres to the nori sheet.

Place long strips of carrots, the zucchini matchsticks and one long piece of yellow squash in the center of the nori sheet. Complete with red cabbage, octopus and shiitake mushrooms. Using the sushi mat as a guide, tightly and slowly roll the sushi mat away from you until the rice meets the other end of the rice to seal the sushi. Press gently with both your hands for  about 10 seconds. Remove the rolled sushi and transfer to a cutting board, seam side down. Dip a very sharp kitchen knife in hot water, wipe it clean. Cut the sushi roll in half, then cut each half in half one more time. You'll obtain 4 pieces. Repeat the same procedure with the 2 remaining nori sheets, wiping the knife clean after slicing each roll.

Serve at room temperature with ponzu soy sauce on the side.



Don't over-stuff the nori sheet or the sushi roll will burst; the diameter of the roll should measure about 2 inches.

For flavor reasons (they're less salty), our family prefers the (seaweed) nori sheets sold in small packages. They're small nori sheets, sold in (6 x 0.17-ounce) packages. Look for the Wang brand. We always have toasted nori sheets in the pantry. It's a great source of protein and iron. The girls love munching on it as a snack.

Yellow Squash Recipe with Picture

I added yellow summer squash from our garden.

I use these particular vegetables but you can add any other vegetables that are in season.

You can find all the ingredients listed above in Korean / Japanese markets.

You can prepare the ingredients in advance, chill in the refrigerator and assemble the sushi in the next morning.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 18, 2010.


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