Candle Cafe Hand Rolls

  • Makes : 16 rolls

  • Servings : 8

We make hand rolls, Japanese style, by rolling tasty fillings with brown rice or sushi rice in sheets of toasted nori. They make delicious and beautiful appetizers or party fare when accompanied by Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce.


  • 2 cups cooked brown or white sushi rice
  • 4 large sheets toasted nori seaweed (dried laver), each cut into 4 squares
  • 1 recipe Umeboshi-Marinated Tofu, below
  • 1 recipe Burdock and Hiziki Filling, below

Umeboshi-Marinated Tofu Filling

makes 16 strips
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon umeboshi paste
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion
  • 1/2 pound extra-firm tofu, well drained and cut lengthwise into quarters

Burdock and Hiziki Filling

makes 3 cups
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 10-inch-long, 1-inch-wide piece of burdock root, peeled and julienned
  • 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 2 tablespoons hiziki, soaked in water to cover for 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu or tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • 2 scallions, julienned and cut into 1-inch lenghts


Umeboshi-Marinated Tofu Filling

Step 1

In a large bowl, mix together the sesame oil, umeboshi paste, mirin, shoyu or tamari soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water, and scallion. Pour over the tofu and let marinate for an hour.

Step 2

Grill or broil the tofu quarters until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and cut into thin strips. The filling is now ready to use in making hand rolls.

Burdock and Hiziki Filling

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Step 2

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the burdock root and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, and hiziki, cover and cook over low heat for an additional 20 minutes.

Step 3

In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup water, mirin, shoyu or tamari soy sauce and brown rice syrup.

Step 4

Toss the cooked burdock root mixture together on a baking sheet and spoon the mirin mixture over it. Bake for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Step 5

Let cool and stir in the scallions. The filing is now ready for use in making hand rolls.

Making the Hand Rolls

Step 1

Put 2 tablespoons rice in a long triangle shape on a nori square. Make a dent in the rice, place a strip of the tofu and about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the dent. Roll the nori over and around the tofu strip and filling to make a cone shape. Garnish the rolls with a scoop of Burdock and Hiziki Filling.

Recipe Source: The Candle Cafe Cookbook
Reprinted with permission from Benay Vynerib.
Photograph © Wanda Embar.

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