Oranda Zushi (Hand Rolled Sushi with Dutch Smoked Eel)
Smoked eel fillets are a delicacy easily found in Dutch delicatessens and supermarkets. They are even sold at the airport. Whenever Ro-Ri San stops over Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, he will buy a pack together with my favorite Gouda cheese to bring home. Smoked eel is usually eaten on buttered toast and is offered as part of a Dutch style fish platter with smoked mackerel and other seafood.
The long thin strips of fillet remind me of sushi quality fish suitable for hand rolled sushi. Instead of serving them on toasts, I combined them with Japanese vinegar rice to make a fusion sushi. The creamy wasabi mayo helped bind the two together and the salty capers gave the sushi a contrast of taste and texture. I must say they turned out really well and were a quite a treat!
Why have I called this dish Oranda Sushi? Well, the Dutch were the second group of Europeans after the Portuguese to trade with the Japanese. In the aftermath of the expulsion of the Catholic missionaries from Japan, only the Dutch were allowed to remain at their trading post on an island off the port of Nagasaki. Despite the separation, the Japanese were intrigued by many Dutch things and collectively labeled them “Oranda”, a corruption of the name of Holland. So, there you have it.
This hand rolled method of sushi was adapted from the book, Sushi, Taste and Technique.
- 1 tbsp vegenaise or mayonnaise
- ½ tsp wasabi paste
- 4 strips (2 oz /55g) smoked Dutch eel fillet
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ¼tsp dried dill weed
- 2 cups sushi rice from 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 tsp capers (optional)
Combine vegenaise or mayonnaise with wasabi paste in a small bowl. Set aside. Cut each strip of eel into 4 pieces of 2 inch lengths. Drizzle lemon juice and sprinkle dill weed over eel.
Fill a large bowl with water. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the water. Use this to wet hands to prevent rice from sticking to them. Take a small handful of rice in one hand and gently mold into a rounded oblong. Place it down on a plate.
Lay a piece of eel across fingers and dab a little wasabi mayo on the bottom side. Gently press ball of rice onto eel.
Turn the sushi around so that the topping is on the top. Squeeze the sides of the sushi between index finger and thumb to shape and compact rice. Cup the sushi in left hand and use two fingers to press gently on the topping to further compact it.
Repeat to shape sushi. Decorate with capers if desired.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!