Ground Beef Maki Sushi

Since I realised clumsy, but delicious maki sushi is very easy to make at home, I have been preparing it quite often. In the summer refreshing, light rolls become a staple. Even though I never put raw fish inside (I am not sure if the fish I buy and cook has the required freshness or/and quality for a raw use), I play with different ingredients and often add what I happen to find in my fridge.

A couple of days ago I craved maki sushi and, apart from the cucumber, I didn’t have any of my usual filling ingredients (I often use canned tuna, avocado and cucumber). I spotted however a tiny amount of ground beef, left over from the previous night’s hamburger dinner. This is how I had this risky idea to fry it and put into my rolls. The experiment was a big success and even the presence of cumin, dried coriander and chili didn’t spoil the surprising flavours’ harmony. I added lots of cucumber for a refreshing and crunchy touch (and also because I love cucumber). Now I know nori can resist even the weirdest pairings!

You might also like these maki sushi versions:

Asparagus Maki Sushi
Asparagus Maki Sushi
Maki with Shrimp, Avocado and Cucumber
Maki with Shrimp, Avocado and Cucumber
Maki sushi with Canned Tuna and Cucumber
Maki sushi with Canned Tuna and Cucumber

TIP: I always put much less rice than most people do (I tend to eat too much rice…), so if you prefer standard rolls with a normal amount of rice, cook 500g (about 17,5 oz) instead of 300g (about 10,5 oz).

When you buy nori sheets, pay attention to their transparency and colour. I was told in Japan that darker and less transparent nori means better quality (of course there are more sophisticated criteria to judge the quality once the nori is dark and opaque enough to be considered good quality, but I found the above tip a good way to discard low-quality products).

Special equipment:

rice cooker (unless you know how to cook the rice in a “normal” pan)

maki rolling mat or a special futomaki roller

Preparation: 20 minutes (+ 1 hour for rice cooking and cooling)

Ingredients (serves 2 – 3):

5 nori seaweed sheets

300g (about 10,5 oz) sushi rice (or 500g/about 17,5 oz if you prefer “standard”  rolls)

Rice mixture:

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

100 g ground beef

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 big cucumber

grilled white sesame seeds

soy sauce+wasabi

marinated ginger

a bowl of rice vinegar

Cook the rice in the rice cooker (or in a pan if you know how to do it!). Put the hot rice into a bowl and add the rice mixture ingredients. Stir well and leave to cool down.

In the meantime heat some oil in a frying pan, add the ground beef, the coriander, the cumin, the chili and some soy sauce. Fry until the beef is well cooked. Put aside and let it cool down.

Cut the cucumber into thin, long pieces.

When the rice has cooled down to the room temperature (it can’t be completely cold! otherwise it won’t be sticky enough), put a nori sheet vertically on the rolling mat, shiny side down.

With fingers dipped in a bowl of rice vinegar spread 1/5th of the rice evenly, leaving a 1 cm gap on the top, far edge.

Arrange the beef and the cucumber on the rice, in a horizontal line, close to the bottom edge.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Roll the maki starting from the bottom edge, gently pressing after each turn.

Moist with rice vinegar the upper edge before doing the last turn.

Press gently the roll and put it aside.

In order to obtain more or less similarly sized pieces, cut the roll first in two parts, then put them in a row and cut them in two parts, etc.

(It is easier to cut these rolls with a moist knife blade.)

Arrange them on a plate and serve with wasabi, soy sauce and marinated ginger.

35 Replies to “Ground Beef Maki Sushi”

    1. Arigato, Nami! I am happy you like them (although I am conscious of their vague, funny shape 😉 )

    1. I am not a big fan of salmon, but I love raw tuna. Avocados are always welcome everywhere 🙂

    1. Minced curry sounds like a great idea! I have also tried maki with different strange things. Most of them works. Nori is very versatile, isn’t it?

    1. Thank you, Greg! I know that the Japanese also like mixing Western food with traditional Japanese dishes! (I have already seen very weird unorthodox makis made by the Japanese).

  1. Yum! Your rolls remind me of the ones my Mom would make for us, though I never attempted to make nori rolls, because the process always seem long and complicated. I bet the combination of ground beef, seasoning and cucumber is a great one!

    1. Thank you, Jeno. If it was complicated I wouldn’t make them very often 😉 They are very easy to make. The only problem is waiting for the rice to cool down a bit. I am sure though that your mum’s maki look perfect and neat.

  2. I’ve never thought of eating beef in a sushi roll, but I love both components so I’m sure it would be delicious! I’m not a cucumber fan either. Just the smell of it makes me cringe, ha!

    1. Thank you, Caroline! I love cucumbers, but I know some people who aren’t fans. Here the cucumber acts only as a crunchy, refreshing ingredient, so it can be substituted quite easily.

  3. Beautiful maki rolls Sissi – there’s nothing clumsy about those! I tried making maki and various other “sushi-like” stuff before but the damn rice gets everywhere… sticks all over your hands – SO infuriating! (Yeah, I know – you’re supposed to keep a bowl of cold water on hand, but it didn’t seem to work for me. My damp hands just seemed to encourage a rice-glue to form!).

    Reminds me of a Korean place near me called “Rollifornia” which sells Bulgogi Maki! Really yummy 🙂

    1. Thank you, so much, Charles. You are very kind 🙂 In fact, I don’t use my hands to spread the rice, but the back of a tablespoon. I spread it without pressing too hard so that the grains aren’t completely squashed. I put really small amounts of rice (I prefer to eat lots of very light maki, rather than just a few big ones).
      Now you gave me an idea with the bulgogi! I have never made it, but love it, so I suppose something similar to bulgogi should taste great in a maki. Thanks! (You are so lucky to live close to such a wonderful place!).

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever come across beef maki before and it made me smile. This is the beauty of homespun food – you can turn it into anything you like (and I think I remember you saying something about being a devout carnivore at some point – so seeing the beef in the sushi made me smile…). These rolls look pretty perfect and enormously satisfying to me. Great job!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! Yes, I’m a carnivore, although beef is far from being my favourite meat. I prefer chicken and pork (apparently a typically feminine preference 😉 ).

    2. I am wondering… do you have such a great memory or do you read my posts attentively? In both cases I am impressed and very flattered you remembered me writing about my meat eating.

      1. I have a fairly good memory which is both a blessing and a curse (I think it’s part of the maudlin Irish inheritance :)) and, having poured over many contracts in my lawyering days, tend to pick things up. Having said all that, I do very much enjoy reading your posts!

        1. I am very happy you like my posts (sometimes I think I am sooooo boring!).
          I wish I had such a great memory. I must exercise it more often.

  5. Sissi, you are so right about putting rice a little bit. I can’t stand the big fat sushi rolls sell in the supermarket here… the rice is way too much!! Your rolls look perfect and yes, we make various kind of rolls at home. We make yakiniku rolls (korean bbq) and it’s a big hit for my kids!

    1. Thank you, Nami! I have always thought my maki rolls look a bit weird. I love them so much, I always want to eat lots of them, but without feeling guilty and frankly I even prefer the taste of the maki with less rice. You are so sweet saying “perfect” 🙂 but I know my maki rolls or any dishes requiring dexterity will never be perfect. Yakiniku rolls sound fabulous! (I would have to make the Korean barbecue first… have you ever thought about posting the yakiniku recipe? i have never seen it on your blog!).

    1. I think there must be some other people who have tried it too… but I have never heard about it either.

  6. I started eating sushi after few frequent travels to Japan. I tried making these at home and it didn’t taste good at all. I am inspired at this and how lovely it looks.

    1. Thank you, Kankana! I have never been to Japan, but apart from the raw fish makis, most of my home-made makis taste better than the ones I buy in Switzerland (although they don’t look as neat as they should!). I suppose it’s a question of rice.

  7. I love that you used what you had on hand and were willing to experiment! I’m sure ground beef maki is not for everyone but I think it’s so great that you made it!

    1. Thank you, EB! Actually I think maybe it’s a good way to convince someone who is afraid of raw fish maki…

    1. Thank you, Robert-Gilles. I was surprised at how good the result was (I’m not a big beef amateur) and happy to use leftover meat 🙂

    1. These look really awful… though the taste is excellent. I must make the photograph once more… Thank you so much for kind words.

Comments are closed.