Chef's Kitchen: Umi's Crunchy Hako Roll

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 07, 2017, 1:25 PM EST

Umi Japanese Restaurant in Winter Park is getting away from the "ho-hum" when it comes to sushi. So they introduced us to an Osaka-style of sushi using "hako."

"It's a new thing and not popular in a lot of sushi restaurants," said Blake Cain of Umi. "We're one of the few in town to do it."

Instead of rolling the sushi in the traditional way, hako - a box-like sushi maker - allows it to be pressed.

"It's very pleasureable, texturally," Cain smiled.

The "crunch" in Umi's Crunchy Hako Roll comes from a Japanese rice cracker. The spicy tuna mixture is jam-packed with flavors of sesame oil, togarashi and sriracha.

As for the creamy honey-tabasco aioli drizzled on top, it's one of the best parts of every bite, and one of the reasons the servers keep recommending this roll.

Let's start packin'!

Crunchy Hako Roll

Boxed style sushi (Hako Sushi) is a traditional form of sushi unique to the Osaka region. They are not made with the hands and instead use a square or rectangular shaped sushi box (oshigata) which acts as a mold.

1 cup - 70 % Sushi rice, 30% Rice cracker mixture
1 cup - Spicy Tuna mixture
2 Tbs - Honey-tabasco aioli
Pickled Japanese Cucumber
Chopped Scallions
Micro Arugula

1. Press sushi and rice cracker mixture into Hako (unique Japanese sushi maker) case firmly.
2. Top evenly with spicy tuna mixture.
3. Carefully line your roll with thinly sliced pickled Japanese cucumbers.
4. Top with micro arugula and chopped scallions to finish.