Buffalo Chicken Sushi
I am going to hell for this post. I know that, you know that, and as long as we’re all okay with the idea of my soul’s condemnation to the eternal flames, let’s now work on protecting me from a nation of angry Japanese who will surely want to seal my fate.
On the other hand, FRAT BOYS UNITE! I did this for you and your drunken pitbulls.
Mike promised you that we’d be providing plenty of football friendly finger foods to get you through to Superbowl, but somehow I think you may have been thinking more along the lines of sliders and bean dip than sushi. I get that. But what if sushi wasn’t just raw fish and gelatinous mustard colored sea urchin with pretty packaging? What if sushi could incorporate some of your favorite game time snacks like Doritos and Buffalo chicken? Well, my friends, that time has come. Let’s get ready.
It’s Buffalo Chicken Sushi Time.
What started out as kind of a joke rapidly became our dinner last night, and I don’t know who was more shocked about how freaking good these things were. I mean, I created the Frankenstein sushi that should never have been born, but it was based on an (unfortunate) joke by Mike, so I kind of blame him for putting the worm in my brain. However, we take equal accountability for eating 4 of the 5 rolls in one sitting.
This is the kind of appetizer that makes me wish I was a tantalizing 20 year old co-ed going to Columbia, because these would surely get me regular action of the biblical kind. More importantly, if you’re looking for cross-over sports snacks that aren’t smoth’rd and cov’rd but still bring the flavors that you love in a modern and somewhat more healthful packaging, this one’s for you. See? Something for everyone. That’s just what I bring.
(The fires have started to lick at my heels)
Buffalo Chicken Sushi
Makes approximately 36 pieces
- 5 sheets nori
- 2 small chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, divided
- few handfuls Doritos (3/4 cup crushed) *
- 2 cups uncooked sushi rice **
- 2.25 cups cold water
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 ribs celery
- 2 small carrots
- 3 oz (85) g blue cheese, optional but recommended ***
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
* This is not a joke. Never thought you’d see a sushi recipe with Doritos? Well, you have now. Any variety of nacho chip will do, but I was particularly pleased with the zesty nacho cheese flavored Doritos.
** Sushi rice is a chubby, short grained glutinous (sticky) rice. Long grain rices will not stick in the same way and should be avoided.
*** If you absolutely hate blue cheese (whatever. Blue cheese doesn’t like you either) I suppose that you could sub in a thin line of really thick and gloopy ranch or caesar salad dressing, but not the thin kind out of a squeezy bottle. That’s just gross.
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry. Slather the chicken with 3 tablespoons of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Leave the chicken to marinate for 2-4 hours.
Bake the chicken in a 400ºF oven for 20 minutes, or pan fry it over medium heat until it’s done if you want to save electricity. Set the chicken aside to cool.
When the chicken has rested for at least 10 minutes and is cool enough to handle, slice it into long 1/4″ strips (or thereabouts) and toss them with an additional 2 tbsp of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.
Put a few handfuls of Doritos into a freezer bag, sealing it most of the way but leaving a gap open for air to escape. Trust me, that comes from someone who once unintentionally created a corn chip bomb. Smash the Doritos with a rolling pin until they’re crumb-sized.
Next stop is sushi vinegar. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Don’t let the mixture boil, and cook it only until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Take it off the heat and let the vinegar mixture cool until you’re ready to use it.
Finally, peel the carrots and chop them into 3″ lengths. Slice each chunk of carrot vertically into a fairly fat (1/8″) matchstick.
Whisk the remaining Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (there should be roughly 3 tbsp left) with the soy sauce and set this aside.
Now that all of the prep work has been done, all we have left is the rice. Rinse the sushi rice several times under cool running water until the water runs clear. Leave the rice to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
If you’re using a rice cooker, put the rice and water in and press that magic stress-free button. If you’re doing the rice on your stovetop, bring the water and rice to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Place a tight fitting lid on the pot and turn the heat down to minimum. Let the rice steam, undisturbed (no lifting of lids allowed!), for 18-20 minutes.
Spread the hot steamed rice into a large fairly flat bottomed bowl. The traditional Japanese method is to use a large flat bottomed wooden bowl (hangiri or sushi-oke), but in the absence of that just do your best and make sure that it is non-metallic to prevent interaction with the vinegar. I used a broad and shallow pasta serving bowl.
Drizzle the vinegar mixture over the rice and use a large flat spatula to “mix”.
Let’s be clear here; you don’t actually “mix” the rice or stir it. What you want to do is rapidly but gently slice the rice and then use the spatula to turn it over. Fan the rice (you can use a piece of cardboard) for about 5-10 seconds, and then repeat the slicing and flipping. The goal here is to coat each grain of rice evenly with the vinegar while cooling the rice down to room temperature, and if you’ve done it correctly the rice will have a gorgeous gloss to reward your efforts. What you don’t want to do is stir the rice or beat it because that will break up the grains and make it mushy.
While the sushi rice is tepid (not hot, not cold and hard), assemble everything that you’ll need for the buffalo chicken rolls. Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl and set a bowl of water aside for your hands. Gather up the sliced vegetables, spicy chicken and Dorito crumbs. Finally, lay a bamboo mat (tatami) on your cutting board with a sheet of nori with the rough side facing up.
A quick note on the nori: If your sheet of nori has any visible tears or raggedy ends, put it aside and don’t use it to make sushi rolls. It’s not worth the heartache.
Moisten your hands thoroughly and grab a large handful of sushi rice, between 3/4 – 1 cup. Gather it into a ball and use your index finger to make a hole or well down the center. Place the rice ‘hole side down’ (that sounds filthy, but I assume that you know what I mean) on the nori and pat it out evenly. You want the rice to come evenly out to each edge with the exception of the top where you’ll leave about 3/4 – 1″ of plain nori. When things get sticky, which they will, moisten your hands with more water.
Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of the Dorito flakes horizontally along the center of the rice. Lay a few slices of chicken on top, being sure that the row is roughly 2 pieces of chicken thick. Lay down a few slices of carrot on one side and celery on the other. Add a crumble of blue cheese right down the middle (you might now want to be as generous as in the picture shown, but it’s up to you).
Moisten the naked nori edge with a little bit of water which will help the edges to adhere when rolled.
Using your fingers to hold the filling in, grab the bottom of the mat and roll it almost all of the way over until you have a tube with only the naked nori end exposed. Squeeze and pat the roll into a tight round shape.
Loosen the mat and continue rolling the sushi so that the moist nori contacts the rest of the roll and ‘glues’ itself on.
Repeat the process until you have five rolls.
Use a thin, sharp knife to slice the rolls cleanly into lengths of approximately 3/4 – 1″. Periodically clean your knife with a wet cloth to prevent sticking or tearing of the rolls.
Serve the rolls garnished with any leftover carrot and celery, with the Red Hot dipping sauce on the side.
Leftover sushi doesn’t refrigerate well and the rice tends to get hard unless it is well sealed, so I recommend that you eat these all immediately.
You might doubt me now, but just wait….you’ll find that immediate consumption won’t really be a problem.