May 12

Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, & Jalapeno Temaki Sushi—aka, “How to make temaki sushi out of a bagel.”

in Japanese, Oyatsu/Snack, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type, Rice & Noodles

When I was in middle school a bagel shop opened up in town called The Bagel Peddler.  I remember my mom taking my brothers and me there on several occasions, and I remember that my favorite bagel was their jalapeno bagel.  On one occasion, I remember getting a jalapeno bagel and eating it toasted, slathered with cream cheese, and topped with smoked salmon.  I don’t remember if I ordered it that way, or if I added those toppings at home—all I remember is that it was GOOD.  A chewy bagel with a bit of tangy heat from jalapenos, mixed with the creaminess of cream cheese and the smokey richness of smoked salmon is a winning combination.  I was thinking about that combination a couple of days ago when I went to the grocery store to buy some nori (dried sheets of seaweed), which we were out of, and the thought occurred to me that the same combination might work well in sushi.  Yesterday the girls and I tried out the idea, making temaki sushi (hand-rolled cones of nori filled with sushi rice and other ingredients) and serving them with a simple baby arugula salad.

Temaki Sushi

The rolls were fantastic.  I filled them with strips of cream cheese, smoked salmon, and lightly pickled sliced jalapeno peppers.  This delivered all of the same things that I loved so much in that bagel—chewiness from the rice and nori, a bit of tangy heat from the jalapenos, creaminess from the cream cheese, and the smokey rich flavor of smoked salmon.  For the salad, I dressed some baby arugula with a bit of the leftover sushi-zu (vinegar mixture used to make sushi rice).  The nuttiness of the baby arugula flavored with the tangy sweet dressing complimented the rolls nicely.  Not only did I like them, but Squirrel liked them as well.  Giving Squirrel temaki sushi and baby arugula salad for lunch guarantees a very happy little girl.

Smoked Salmon & Baby Arugula Make Squirrel Happy

I think Bug will be following in her big sister’s footsteps, because yesterday we determined that she definitely loves smoked salmon.

Smoked Salmon Makes Bug Happy

One of the things I love about sushi, is that it is actually very economical to make at home.  When using more expensive ingredients, like smoked salmon, a small amount goes a long way.  Plus, if you make it at home, you can put whatever you want in it—making it a great vehicle to introduce new ingredients to kids.  I have found that temaki sushi is especially fun with kids because it’s like giving them a savory ice cream cone.  The shape adds appeal for them, and it’s easy to eat and hold because it’s a hands-on activity, no chopsticks required.

How To Make Temaki Sushi

Making temaki is so easy.  First prepare your sushi rice and slice your ingredients that you are using to fill your rolls with into long strips.  For these rolls, I sliced up smoked salmon, jarred pickled jalapeno peppers, and part of a block of cream cheese.  Then cut full sheets of nori in half lengthwise.  You will need one half sheet of nori for each cone that you make.

Slice temaki sushi ingredients into strips

When I fill my rolls, I usually do so holding the nori in my left hand, but for purposes of showing you how to do this, I did it on a cutting board.  Lay your nori horizontally, with the rough side facing up (or hold the sheet horizontally with one hand, rough side facing up).

Lay nori horizontally and rough side up

Slightly dampen your other hand with water (this helps prevent the rice from sticking to your hand) and spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sushi rice on the left side of the nori.

Spread sushi rice on left side of nori

Arrange your other fillings on top of the rice.  I find that it helps with the rolling of the cones to lay the fillings diagonally across the rice, pointing up towards the top left corner of the nori.

Lay ingredients diagonally across the rice pointing towards the top left corner

Wipe your damp hand on the right hand side of the nori (this will act as a glue to hold the cone together when you roll it).  Then fold the bottom left-hand corner of the nori over the fillings and tuck it under the other side.  This will start to form your cone shape.

Rolling temaki sushi

Then roll the remainder of the nori around to finish the cone shape.

Temaki Sushi closeup


Coming Next: Sushi-su and sushi rice!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs. Jen B May 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I am currently making up a “101 things to do in 1001 days” list and one of my items is learning to make my own sushi! I am so happy that you’re featuring this!! I loooove smoked salmon – yum!


Kayte May 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Such a fun post…great food…great photos…and great smiles on those precious little faces. I could do this one, I think, yes, indeed I believe I could. Thanks for the great instructions.


Paula - bell'alimento May 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Can we put these on the LONG list of things to make when I come to visit ; )


Lyndsey May 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I wanted to try to make a hand roll, thanks. I’ve made crab salad nigiri sushi(next time I’m using a rice ball mold) and I still have to post some other rolls that I made. I agree, one of the best things about making your own sushi is you can put what you want in it. Your tutorial is great!


Josie - Daydreamer Desserts May 12, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Sushi, smoked salmon, jalapeño, and cream cheese… these are a few of my favorite things. Oh wait, it’s only spring…. eh, still works. :)


Fuji Papa May 12, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Rache, this looks really great. Can’t go wrong with that combination.


cocopuff1212 May 13, 2010 at 4:34 am

I’m worried about your daughters… They will be so disappointed with their school lunches :D

Seriously, thank you for the great idea! I’m about to invite some friends for dinner; I think I’ll do “make your own temaki”. Will definitely put this one on the menu :)


Maria May 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

We love sushi and have made it at home a few times. It is so much fun and a lot cheaper too. It is always fun to make for dinner parties. Great tutorial, thanks!


Maggy May 13, 2010 at 8:13 am

These look delicious! What a great idea – I actually think I could do that. Thanks for making it accessible for all levels :)


Jen @ How To: Simplify May 13, 2010 at 9:24 am

You had me at smoked salmon…it’s one of my favorite foods! What a great recipe!


Tracy May 13, 2010 at 9:55 am

I love anything to do with sushi – and these look so easy!


Jenny Flake May 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm

WOW! Beautiful Rachael, can I please come over for lunch?!! :)


Gaby May 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I love making sushi! Hand rolls are the best since they are pretty easy to roll… you should see my full sushi rolls… they need some serious help!! Can we have a sushi party soon?


Christie A. May 13, 2010 at 4:11 pm

There’s a sushi roll exactly like this that I had in Vegas! Except the jalapenos were deep fried. It was called “The Mommy Bomb”. Spicy, creamy, salty, cheesy. Yum.


Michelle {Brown Eyed Baker} May 13, 2010 at 4:32 pm

What a creative and fun way to make sushi! Great for kids!


Linn @ Swedish home cooking May 14, 2010 at 4:46 am

Oh, that looks like a great and simple way to make sushi at home! Looks super delicious.


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 14, 2010 at 7:12 am



Drick May 14, 2010 at 7:17 am

beautiful children my friend and wonderful presentation on the sushi, nice to see you and congrats on top 9


Simply Life May 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Oh that’s so creative- looks great!


Cookin' Canuck May 14, 2010 at 1:44 pm

What a fun idea! I adore smoked salmon and cream cheese – will definitely try with jalapeno next time.


Gisele aka LA2LAChef September 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Smart kids to love smoked salmon- all that salty, oily goodness!

Looking forward to trying your Temaki Sushi,




Monica December 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

We made this today and the whole family loved it! My kids wanted more and more. I am so glad you put this post up. I am want to mention your site and this recipe on my blog. So easy, so good, AND so healthy!


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