Black sushi rice bowl with salmon, pickled fennel and avocado

On a weekly basis I really spend way too much money on sushi, not to mention how many times I check the list of runners for the grand national so I can start betting. I am not talking good quality, dining out sort, but the grab-and-go white rice, overly sweet kind with pretty average quality veg. Considering I have to eat it soy-less, its been a habit ingrained in routine, rather than enjoyment.

As a way to cut back on this expensive and not very healthy food, I decided to revisit an old favourite. Sushi bowls. A  For most people, making sushi at home seems a daunting prospect but with these little beauties you get all to great taste, without any of the rolling faff.

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I have also opted to use rice syrup in this recipe to sweeten the rice in place of the regular sugar option, as I had a jar to hand. Here I wouldn’t recommend any other substitutes like maple or honey because the favour is too strong. If you don;t have rice syrup you can use an equal amount of regular sugar, or coconut palm sugar.

Black sushi rice bowl with salmon, pickled fennel and avocado, tess ward, recipe, sushi, easy, healthyBlack sushi rice bowl with salmon, pickled fennel and avocado

In this recipe I have cheated a bit and used a cured salmon that I bought from my local farmers market, in place of this you can use chopped sushi grade salmon, tuna, or even smoked salmon (although I find the smokey flavour a bit overpowering for this)

Serves 2 (as main)

  • 100g / 1 cup black or short grain brown rice
  • 325ml/ 1 3/4 cups water, plus extra for rinsing rice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons rice syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, shaved
  • 1/4 cucumber, finely diced
  • 50ml rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon rice syrup
  • a big pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pickled ginger
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tsps toasted sesame seeds, to serve
  • 1/2 sheet nori seaweed, cut in thin strips, to serve

For the pickled fennel and cucumber 

Mix the rice vinegar and sugar together in a bowl, to melt the syrup into the rice. Finely slice the fennel bulb using a mandoline, then add the fennel and the diced cucumber to a bowl with the rice vinegar and sugar, season with a large pinch of sea salt. Toss to combine, then leave to pickle, whilst you prepare the rice

For the rice

Add the rice to a mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Mix to wash off the starch and then pour off the water, using a sieve to catch the rice. Repeat this process 2 times, or until the water runs clear

Add the black rice (or brown if using) to a saucepan with the water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover it with a lid. Cook the rice for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for a further 10 minutes.

Combine the rice vinegar, rice syrup and sea salt in a small bowl and mix it together until fully combined. Transfer the rice into a large mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture.

To assemble the bowls

Halve the avocado, remove the pip and chop into a dice the same size as the cucumber. Add the bowl with the pickled cucumber and fennel and toss to combine.

Once fully cooked, divide the sticky rice between two bowls, add the pickled veg and finally fan over a few slices of salmon.

Take the nori seaweed and fold it over several times. Use a sharp pair of scissors to snip along the seaweed, getting nice wisps. Scatter some of these over the sushi bowls, along with the toasted sesame seeds.

Black sushi rice bowl with salmon, pickled fennel and avocado, tess ward, recipe, sushi, easy, healthy


  • In place of the fish another option would be a semi soft centred boiled egg.
  • For the veg, it is totally up to you if you want to use fennel and cucumber. Shaved carrot, radish and finely shredded spring onions would also be nice additions.


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