Sushi hack: Make and slice this layered sushi into perfect bite-sized hors d'oeuvres

Mackensy Lunsford
Southern Kitchen
Slicing the sushi.

Craving sushi but haven't mastered the art of the roll? Here's a great, easy way to make sushi squares. 

When I owned a catering company, I made this all the time. The smoked salmon works better on an hors d'oeuvres platter than raw fish would. It's more accessible to everyone, and it can hold at room temperature for longer — though not forever. 

You build this sushi like a layer cake, adding toppings in layers over the nori and then repeating the process. Then you'll slice it into tiny squares. Letting the whole sushi "cake" rest in the refrigerator would make it easier to slice, though it's not necessary. 

Serve your sushi plain, or add wasabi and pickled ginger on the side.

If you'd like to make this vegetarian, you may substitute thinly sliced smoked tofu for the fish. 

Layered sushi tastes just as good as the round stuff does.

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2 cups uncooked sushi rice

2 cups water

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

8 ounces of cold-smoked salmon

1 (8-ounce) container of whipped cream cheese (you likely won't use all of it)

Nori sheets


Cook the rice

First, rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear, at least 30 seconds. Then, put the rice and 2 cups of cold water in a saucepan and bring water to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low, cover rice, and steam for 10 minutes. Then, remove the covered pot from the heat and let it continue to steam while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 

In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar. Do not boil. Set aside. When the rice has rested at least 10 minutes, gently fold in the vinegar solution with a spatula.

Let rice cool to room temperature. 

Build the sushi

Put a sheet of nori on a cutting board. With moist hands, gently spread a thin layer of rice over the sheet. Keeping a bowl of water nearby can help with this.

Spread cream cheese over the rice with a knife. This will help more evenly distribute the rice. 

Place a thin layer of smoked salmon over the rice. Then add another sheet of nori, then repeat the process with more rice, cream cheese and smoked salmon. Make three layers, and then finish the top with another sheet of nori. 

Press gently on your finished sushi to compress it. With a sharp knife, preferably a sushi knife, slice off the sides to eliminate the rough edges. Cut sushi into bite-sized squares like you would a sheet cake; slice from top to bottom several times, then slice from side to side to make small squares.

You may garnish this with pickled ginger and wasabi or just eat as-is.  

Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.

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