These Easy Recipes Are SO Much Better Than Takeout

Photographed by Paul Sirisalee.
With fans ranging from sorority girls to diehard Jiro fans, sushi has long enjoyed massive popularity stateside. It's the type of food served at swanky parties — and it's the takeout you crave after a long day at work. People go to great lengths to acquire the sushi of their dreams: This writer once woke up at the crack of dawn to stand in line for a piece of fatty tuna roll at Tokyo's Tsukiji Market.

If you don't have time to hunt down the perfect hole-in-the-wall or conveyor belt sushi joint, we suggest taking matters into your own hands. Despite what the intricate-looking spider rolls or firecracker specials might have led you to believe, real sushi is surprisingly easy to make. With the help of food blogger Amy Sherman, we've gathered three super-convenient recipes you can make with five store-bought ingredients or less — no bamboo mats necessary. Your office lunch is about to get very interesting.
Photographed by Paul Sirisalee.
Chirashi Sushi Bowl
Serves 1

This fuss-free recipe is ideal for beginners and people who always order burrito bowls at Chipotle. The word chirashi means "scattered" in Japanese — yet, the presentation is anything but. Fresh pieces of raw fish and vegetables are artfully layered to complement the sticky texture of lukewarm rice. This salad-like creation also leaves room for customization: To make a veggie version, substitute the seafood with chunks of avocado or thin slices of cucumber. Mix in some salmon roe (also known as red caviar) if you're feeling fancy.
1 cup cooked short grain or sushi rice
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
3 snow peas, each cut into 3 diagonal slices
3 oz seafood, at least two varieties (sushi-grade tuna, smoked salmon, crab sticks, cooked shrimp)
Furikake seasoning, sheet of nori cut into thin strips, or sesame seeds (for garnish)
Photographed by Paul Sirisalee.
1. Heat the rice in the microwave and lay it out on a nonstick cookie sheet or large pan.

2. Sprinkle the seasoned rice vinegar on the rice and use a fork to stir and spread evenly. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Cut the fish or crab sticks into thin, bite-sized pieces and fold or roll larger pieces of fish into rosettes.

4. Place the rice in a bowl and arrange the snow peas and seafood on top. Garnish with the furikake, nori, or sesame seeds.
Photographed by Paul Sirisalee.
Naruto Roll
Serves 2

Here's a shocker: You don't need seaweed to make authentic sushi. In a naruto maki, fresh, crunchy cucumber skin gets more play. Our version of the roll goes a step further for those without a rice cooker, by substituting the grain with smoked salmon. The results make for a creamy, satisfying summer appetizer for your rooftop parties.

1 English cucumber
2 oz very thinly sliced smoked salmon
2 tsp cream cheese
Photographed by Paul Sirisalee.
1. Peel the cucumber and cut four 1-inch pieces.

2. Grip the cucumber piece in one hand and, using a vegetable peeler, very carefully and slowly peel the cucumber, creating a long, thin strip of cucumber.

3. Lay the cucumber on a paper towel and top it with about 1/2 ounce of smoked salmon, trimmed to fit.

4. Roll 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese into a small log and place it on the smoked salmon, on one end of the cucumber.

5. Roll the cucumber so that the cream cheese is in the middle. Slice the roll in half and place the cut side facing up on a serving plate.

Photographed by Paul Sirisalee.
Tuna Hand Roll
Serves 1

If you haven't heard about "temakerias," you will soon. These trendy establishments offer takeout hand rolls (temaki) for busy city-dwellers. The cone-shaped creations are a bit trickier to eat than their cylindrical counterparts, but they make up for it with the no-brainer procedure. Just remember to pack your nori — another word for seaweed sheets — separately before you're ready to eat, so they don't get soggy.

1 nori sheet
1 can of tuna in olive oil
1/4 of an avocado

Photographed by Paul Sirisalee.
1. Lay the nori sheet flat on a table and moisten very lightly with water. Drain your can of tuna, put the fish in a bowl, and mash well.

2. Cut 1/4 of an avocado lengthwise.

3. Lay your sliced avocado in the middle of the nori sheet and place a spoonful or two of tuna on top of the avocado.

4. Roll the nori to make a cone. Serve.

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