Wild Thistle Kitchen: Spicy Salmon Sushi Rolls

These spicy salmon rolls are so fun to make at home. If you’re like me and my family and you are severely missing going out for sushi, let me tell you: these will fix you right up! I am thrilled to be bringing you another recipe in partnership with Kvarøy Arctic. If you missed it, I created this epic Bagel Brunch Board earlier this month and I’m still dreaming about it.

So, sushi. I love it, my husband loves it, our teens love it. We used to go out pretty often to our favorite sushi joint, but it has been closed to eat-in diners for months. So when I set out to create some recipes for Kvarøy Arctic, I knew that a raw/sushi application was definitely happening with their beautiful salmon fillet.

Q: Can I make sushi at home? A: Yes! You can! And you should!

There are lots and lots of myths and fears surrounding sushi-grade fish and what it actually means. I’m not going to get into it too much here. I am by no means an authority or expert on the subject, but I am an avid researcher. I urge you to do your own research. Find reputable sources and pretend you’re researching your college thesis. I found these articles to be extremely useful and informative: “What Is ‘Sushi-Grade’ Anyway?” and “The ‘Sushi-Grade’ Myth.”

One big, big misconception is that sushi-grade fish has never been frozen. Let me tell you, almost ALL of the fish and seafood we consume is flash frozen within moments of catch. If you are buying it nonfrozen, it will almost always say “previously frozen.” In fact, the FDA dictates that, for raw consumption, fish should be “super frozen.” Read more about all of it in the articles I’ve linked above.

The main takeaway for me is that, if you are at all concerned about the safety of raw fish, stick with tuna or use farm-raised. Of course, you can cook it first. But if you are after raw sushi like I am, then you can feel confident using farmed salmon. Kvarøy is a company I trust and will be using exclusively for our sushi-at-home nights. You can order their beautiful salmon and salmon products from fultonfishmarket.com or pick some up at many Whole Foods locations.

Q: What should I put in my sushi? A: Well, whatever you love!

My husband, my teens and I all love spicy-anything rolls, so I decided to make spicy salmon rolls. I love the added crunch and contrast of cucumber in my rolls — and will often ask for it to be added if we are dining out — so I made sure to add some to our rolls. That’s the fun of homemade sushi, too: it is totally customizable!

I got a little fancy for the holiday and New Year and added some black tobiko caviar. Isn’t it glamorous? And I love the little briny pops as I’m eating it. But you definitely don’t have to add it.

And don’t worry — nothing I’m using here is hard to find. All of the ingredients I used (even the tobiko!) I found at my local supermarket and I don’t live in a major city. Of course, if you had a hard time finding anything, online ordering is always an option.

Q: Is it cheaper to make your own sushi? A: Yes. Let me repeat: YES!

As much as I miss eating at our beloved sushi bar, we have saved a TON making it at home. Once they reopen, we will absolutely go back and support them, but making sushi at home will be a regular thing as well.

Tips for making these spicy salmon rolls …

  • The rice is sticky! Our first couple rolls were not the prettiest and I felt a little discouraged. But push on! Have a bowl of water nearby and keep your fingertips wet as you are pushing the rice out onto the nori.
  • Don’t overstuff them. You just want a thin line of fillings that you will wrap and roll the nori around. Likewise with the rice, just a thin layer.
  • Sharpen your best, sharpest knife before beginning. A thin blade is helpful, too. And wipe the knife down between slices, so you get nice clean cuts and your nori doesn’t tear.
  • Another tip: make sure to plan ahead and thaw your fish in the refrigerator. It is actually a lot easier to slice and dice if it is still a tiny bit frozen. Just please handle it with care and do not leave it at room temp to thaw. Safety first with all raw proteins, please!

That’s it! Now go make some spicy salmon rolls!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year full of hope, love and so much good food! If you make this sushi or any of my recipes, let me know! I love seeing my recipes in your kitchens.

xo — Anita



Spicy Salmon Sushi Rolls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 4 spicy salmon rolls

Special requirement: 1 bamboo rolling mat



4 or more sheets of nori (they usually come about 9 in a pack)

For rice:

2 cups short-grain rice

2 ¼ cups water

For rice seasoning:

1 cup rice vinegar

1 2-inch square kombu

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoons kosher salt

For spicy mayo:

1 cup Kewpie mayo

2 tablespoons sriracha

2 teaspoon gochujang (optional, but really good!)

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Salt to taste

A couple drops of sesame oil

For spicy salmon filling:

3 tablespoons spicy mayo mix

8 oz. Kvarøy Arctic Salmon

2 teaspoons furikake seasoning

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sriracha

1 or 2 cucumber sticks per roll

For garnish:

Sliced green onions

Sesame seeds


Spicy mayo

Tobiko (optional but so fun!)



Prepare rice by combining rice and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a full boil, then reduce to lowest simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off heat, crack lid and allow to cool to room temperature.

While rice is cooking, prepare rice seasoning by combining ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to just below a boil, then turn heat off and allow to sit and cool to room temperature. Strain and discard kombu.

When rice is at warm room temperature and rice seasoning has cooled, combine them. I like to use a fork, so I don’t mash up the rice too much. Just drizzle the seasoning around and fluff the rice with a fork as you go.

For the spicy mayo, put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Place in fridge if not using right away. If you want to be extra fancy, put some in a little squeeze bottle so you can feel like a real sushi chef.

On to the salmon! Remove skin from fillet and discard (or save for another use, if you prefer). Slice the salmon into long strips and then slice those strips into small cubes. I prefer them to be about ¼ inch wide, but you can make them larger or smaller depending on your preference.

Place salmon in a mixing bowl, add remaining spicy salmon filling ingredients and stir to combine. Place in fridge if not using right away.

To assemble the rolls, lay a sheet of nori on your bamboo mat with the dull side facing up. Spread a thin layer of rice on the surface, making sure to keep your fingertips moist so the rice doesn’t stick.

Next, place a small amount of filling in a thin strip from left to right on the side closest to you. Place a few strips of cucumber on top, sprinkle with sesame seeds or furikake seasoning and roll away from you, using the bamboo mat to help keep the roll nice and tight.

HERE is a helpful video: “How to Roll Sushi”

Once it is rolled, place on a cutting board and slice into rounds. The ends might be a little messy, but they are just as delicious.

Place your pieces of sushi onto a serving plate or board, drizzle with LOTS of spicy mayo, garnish with tobiko, green onions, sesame seeds and furikake and ENJOY!

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Wild Thistle Kitchen.



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