Sweet potato sushi happened to be the first dish that I actually liked when I started to try sushi years ago. If it weren't for this dish I don't know when I would have actually picked up the sushi habit. Maybe I never would have? Anyway, sweet potato sushi is really approachable as far as ingredients go and easy to find at any old sushi joint, so starting your sushi experience here is a good idea. When I want to sell someone on sushi for the first time I usually get them to try this before anything else. (It has never failed.) Since sweet potato sushi is approachable at a restaurant, I figure it is a good place to start making at home as well as most everyone will like it.
Now I have made sushi in the past and I have to admit it has never been up to my standards. This is actually the first time I got the rolling down right and could actually sit down to eat without being unhappy with my results. You should know that you will most probably fail at making sushi look nice your first few tries, but it is an experience worth having in the end. With that said, I do want to make it a little easier on you so I am going to pass along some of the techniques I used to make this particular round of sushi.
The best tip I have to give you is the inside-out rolling technique. It looks and sounds difficult but after many tries I have found that this is the easiest and best way to start rolling your sushi. Inside-out keeps the nori on the inside so that the rice can stick everything together in the end. I found this video pretty useful as the chef explains how to roll it properly using three steps.
For some reason, most people say it should be one fluid motion, but I completely disagree. Watch this video and you'll see that the chef rolls once to lock in the ingredients, a second time to make the roll, and a third time to finish off the roll. Follow his technique and you'll be good to go in a few tries.
My second tip is about the bamboo mat. You really don't need one so don't let not having one prohibit you from making your own sushi at home. I use a kitchen towel with plastic wrap on top and I actually prefer it to the bamboo mat. When you are rolling be sure to evenly tamp down the roll in the towel by pinching and pushing down with your fingers.
The last tip I have is specific to this recipe. If you don't have the time to make the tempura, that is fine. Boil or microwave the sweet potato and mash it, then spread it onto the nori before you roll it. It can be that simple if you wish, but I really suggest trying to "cruchify" your sweet potato sushi by doing the tempura.
1/2 nori sheet
1/2 cup sushi rice
A few pieces of sweet potato tempura, or 1/4 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
1. Cover a bamboo mat or kitchen towel with plastic wrap. Place the nori on top and the rice on top of the nori.
2. Spread the rice evenly with wet fingertips until you have an even layer of rice covering all of the nori. Flip the nori over and evenly spread the filling in the middle of the rectangle.
3. Roll the nori once to catch all the filling, then again to make the roll, and use a last roll to seal and finish off the sushi. Use a wet, sharp knife to cut the sushi into 3/4 inch slices and then plate with the desired amount of sauces.