The best bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, and simchas all have one thing in common…food, and more specifically carbs (besides awkwardly seeing your long-lost family and the constant pressure to find a spouse)! Platters of bagels and schmear, enough challah to feed an army, and…a platter of sushi for your snacks while you sail away from your great-aunt. Although sushi probably doesn’t come to mind when you hear “Jewish food”, there is a special connection between Jews and sushi that isn’t just a love for a bit of food!
The roots of sushi date back to the early 1800s, when the sushi we know today became one of the earliest “fast food” options in Japanese culture. Fast forward to the early 1900s when sushi migrated west via Japanese immigrants, where traditional recipes were adapted to appeal to a new audience. Ingredients like cooked meat, cream cheese and imitation crab became favorite additions. Kosher sushi restaurants have popped up steadily over the past 30 years in historically Jewish neighborhoods, with dishes that fit the unique tastes and dietary needs of its new clientele.
Although not all sushi is kosher, it is an easily adaptable dish that can cater to kosher diets. For fish to be considered kosher, it must have both fins and scales, which means eel, catfish, and shrimp are off the table. But rolls stuffed with tuna, salmon, flounder and vegetables galore are a perfect snack or meal that can be eaten any time of the day. Jews are no strangers to eating raw fish – smoked salmon, gravlax and pickled herring go way back. There are even similarities between sushi and classic Jewish foods. The lox is often sandwiched between two halves of a sushi-like bagel where the lox is rolled in rice. Pickled herring is a dried fish eaten as a snack or appetizer, like a quick piece of nigiri or sashimi. Gefilte fish is served with spicy horseradish, much like wasabi.
Famous Jewish comedian Jackie Mason often jokes, “Did you know Jews invented sushi? That’s right – two Jews bought a restaurant without a kitchen. While sushi has no roots in Judaism, there’s no doubt that it’s a beloved dish.
This Jewish roll is a total mix, taking our beloved bagels and lox and turning it into the perfect Jewish sushi roll.
Lox & Schmear Sushi Roll
Makes 2 rolls
This take on a sushi roll is inspired by your breakfast bite stuffed with schmear, smoked salmon, dill and crispy cucumber on an all bagel!
- 2 cups sushi rice, cooked, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 sheets of nori
- 2 tablespoons bagel seasoning
- 8 pieces of smoked salmon
- 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup cream cheese
- ½ English cucumber, cut into strips
- 4 sprigs of dill
- 4 nori sheets
- Plastic wrap
- Sushi mat, optional
1. Gather your ingredients. Combine sushi rice and rice vinegar in a bowl, stirring until incorporated.
2. Cover a sushi mat with plastic wrap, if necessary.
3. Place a piece of nori on the sushi mat or plastic wrap, smooth side down.
4. Dip your fingers in the water and place 1 cup of rice on the nori. Use your fingers to spread and flatten the rice, leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Make sure the rice is in an even layer. Sprinkle the rice with the bagel spice and flip it over so the nori is on top.
5. Add toppings in a horizontal line about 1 inch wide.
6. Roll the sushi by lifting one edge, rolling tightly and folding in as you go. Seal and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until all rolls are done.
7. Use a very sharp knife to cut the roll into 8-10 pieces. Serve with ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.