The Sushi-fication Of The Paella

Like a lot of small, densely populated metropolitan Asian cities, traffic, both human and vehicular, is a daily fixture in Manila.  If you have been to Bangkok, then you have a very good idea of what traffic is like here in Manila. The traffic here is so horrendous that it pretty much eats up a large chunk of one's time.  A simple 30-minute, 8-mile  (13 km) journey on a weekday is a butt soar-inducing and mind numbing ordeal that  takes a minimum of 1.5 hours.  I thought the traffic back home in Los Angeles was pretty bad, but nothing prepared me for Manila traffic when I first moved here.  Take my word for it, it's pretty energy-zapping to sit for that long in a car doing nothing but wait for the car in front of you to move half an inch. 

paella temaki
Paella Temakizushi

By the time I get home from work, my soar booty is too tired to cook something.  To get around this, I double the amount of whatever I cook over the weekend or I make something that freezes very well such as  potstickers or spring rolls.

Unfortunately, paella, that's right, the one that I blogged about in my previous post, doesn't freeze very well.  After eating it for two days in a row, I figured Señorita Paella needed a cosmetic makeover since she was starting to age in my eyes.

Playing the culinary cosmetic surgeon, I decided to give the Señorita a Japanese makeover by "sushifying" her.

paella temaki

Traditionally, fermented rice was used as a way of preserving the fish before the days of refrigeration. The rice was usually discarded, only the fish was eaten. I've always been amazed by how the sushi, a very Japanese dish, has transcended its "Japanese-ness"  through its phenomenal rise in popularity beyond the fatherland. 

 I believe the sushi has now followed the fate of  Chinese food in that every region where it appears has its own definition of what a sushi (or Chinese food) should be. The sushi, where ever it may appear, takes on a local flavor that is based on the gustatory predilection of the inhabitants  and the ingredients available.  In other words, the sushi has now been bastardized in the same way that Chinese food has been due to the fusion of cultures and the trend of fusion cuisine within the culinary sphere.     

Sushi Española
Paella makizushi or paella roll

The California roll comes to mind.  Avocado isn't a Japanese ingredient but a very Californian one.  The Philadelphia roll, anyone?  Cream cheese with rice?  That would make any Japanese grandfather (women weren't allowed to be sushi chefs) spin in their graves.  Here in Manila, with the mango being the national fruit and pretty much available througout the year, the sushi rolls usually contain mango topped with mayonnaise.


Because my imagination can be a bit overactive at times, okay, most of the time, I'm an artist, I can't help it!.  I got around to thinking what a sushi bar in Spain would come up with.  I decided to make a paella te-maki (cone shaped sushi) and a maki (rolls). 

I've never made any kind of sushi prior to this.  I must confess that it was harder than I thought.  It looks so easy when I watch those sushi chefs.  It was challenging to wrap the paella as the rice kept on falling out since the grains aren't sticky.

paella temaki
Paella Temakizushi

The Sushification Process:


leftover paella
nori sheets, cut into 4 squares

bamboo rolling mat


Separate the rice from the rest of the paella ingredients.

Remove the shellfish from their shells.

Peel shrimps / prawns.

Chop chicken and chorizo into small chunks.

Over a low-medium flame, pass the nori sheets over the flame.  This will give them that crunch.

How to assemble a te-maki.

My first attempt at assembling a te-maki.     Make sure your hands are dry.  Wet/damp hands
will soften the nori sheets .

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