The only thing better than a good recipe? When something is so easy to do that you don’t even need one. Welcome to As simple as that, a column in which we explain the process of preparing food and drinks that we can prepare with our eyes closed.
What is your favorite lockdown food to take with you into the post-pandemic world? Would it be sourdough? banana bread? Dalgona coffee? The answer for me is a trend that hasn’t hit the coast of mainland America in the same way – yet. It’s the sushi casserole, and if there’s a lockdown meal I’ll be happy to repeat it, when I finally ditch sweatpants for real jeans, this is it.
What is a sushi casserole?
Imagine a California style roll but deconstructed, layered, and baked in a casserole format: Seasoned rice is topped with furikake rice seasoning, a creamy, flavorful mayo-laden seafood layer, more furikake, and a dash of mayonnaise and sriracha, and then it’s all heated in the oven. Once it comes out, let it cool long enough before serving servings on Korean-style flavored dried seaweed or gim (also known as a toasted seaweed snack that you can find in stores like Trader Joe’s) with optional toppings of cucumber and avocado.
Where did the sushi casserole come from?
In the early summer of 2020, I first noticed sushi making on my social media feeds. Most of the videos and pictures were from the Philippines, where sushi-making had started in the early days of the lockdown. Not only was it all the rage in household kitchens – there also seemed to be plenty of local shops selling pick-up and delivery sushi casseroles in and around the capital, Manila.
“When the quarantine began, my sister and I recreated recipes from TikTok and other social media platforms,” he says Leiana Time Gowhich was founded in Manila Sushi Lab with her sister, Debbie Ann Go. “The kitchen became our laboratory. It was a way for us to experiment with different flavors from sweet to savory. When the sushi-making craze went viral we tried making our own and it turned out to be so good that we decided to share it with others. “
The sushi casserole has all the hallmarks of a great dish waiting to be brought to a potluck (remember these?): Very divisible; deliciously warm; rich and creamy. And while parties of the usual kind will not be tolerated in the current environment, food that is convenient, fun and enjoyed with your household pod is welcome.
“Filipinos love to eat rice and share a good meal with loved ones,” says Pamela Chuateco, the chef and owner of Taste & Tellwhose sushi baking trays are inspired by Japanese Aburi-style sushi or flame-fried sushi. “Given that everyone spends so much time at home with their families because of the quarantine protocol, the sushi trays have become a huge hit because it’s really easy to share with the whole family.”
According to my friend and former colleague Rebekah DanielsThe Hawaii-raised sushi baker isn’t new, and she’s always called it a simple, people-friendly party dish. “It always seemed like a staple on vacation or special occasions,” she tells me. “And even in a more casual setting it would be at a party or a potluck as it was something to be shared with people. I’m sure there are restaurants or places that sell trays of sushi casseroles, but in my experience they were always homemade, often served cold or at room temperature, or put in the oven for a while to have a warm one and melting texture. “(In my own research I also found some delicious looking uncooked renditions of the sushi casserole in the shape of a”Pan sushi” and a “Poke Pan Sushi“On the website of the popular Hawaiian grocery chain Foodland.)