While most people think that the most important ingredient in sushi is the fish, the rice is really
the heart of good sushi and this roll is an example. It’s also a great way to use up whatever you have already in your refrigerator to make a kid-friendly sushi dinner that everyone can help prepare! In this recipe I use a ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, but just about any cooked chicken, steak or pork chop would work as well.
Crush the sesame seeds with the sugar with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the soy sauce and ginger and mix until combined. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Set aside.
Seed the cucumber and cut into strips about 1/8 inch wide and 4 inches long.
Lay a half nori sheet textured-side up (smooth/shiny-side down) on a cutting board with one of the longer sides closest to you. Moisten your fingers with ice water and gently spread 1/2 cup of the prepared sushi rice evenly over most of the nori, leaving a 1-inch strip without rice on one short edge. Rotate the nori so the short edge with rice is closest to you.
Place 1 ounce of the chicken in a line over the rice. Lay 3 to 4 pieces of the cucumber next to the chicken. Slip your thumbs under the close edge of the nori and roll the sushi roll away from you with gentle pressure until the edge with no rice is on the bottom creating a seam. Let the sushi roll sit on the seam for a few seconds. The roll should seal itself; if it doesn’t, dip one finger into the ice water and swipe a very small amount of water along the bare strip of nori and let the roll sit on the seam far a few seconds. If you like, use a makisu (sushi rolling mat) to help shape and finish the roll.
Dip the tip of a knife into the ice water and allow the water to run down the blade. Slice the roll into 6 even pieces. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, making a total of 4 rolls.
Garnish the rolls with toasted sesame seeds and serve with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi, if desired.
Just about any filling ingredients will work! Have fun and get creative with combinations using leftovers. Use the same technique to roll up whatever is taking up space in the fridge!