Nothing’s going to make sushi connoisseurs everywhere roll their eyes in disdain like these Teriyaki Steak Sushi Burgers! And isn’t that just the BEST? 🙂 I mean these are burger “buns” made out of seasoned sushi rice, with perfectly cooked, glossy, caramelized, sweet teriyaki flank steak in the middle, and then decoratively wrapped in a strip of roasted seaweed. As someone who loves inspired cooking, I adore this marriage of two distinct food cultures! (RECIPE + VIDEO)
(Post updated April 03, 2016)
Sushi bars are everywhere in Australia. Some places are fancier than others and feature “sushi-go-rounds” (or sushi trains) while others serve a distinctly fast food culture where they sell them by the roll for take away. This latter kind is of course cheaper (with standard fillings and flavours, and no caviar) but just as delicious. For a while they were my fast food meal of choice (especially with some pickled ginger). Yum! I found them to be a tastier and healthier alternative to burgers (which were also everywhere!), that didn’t leave me with a greasy feeling of guilt inside. (Not that I’m opposed to greasy food. Heck, I’m not opposed to any kind of food! How sacrilegious would that be? It’s just that greasy fast food has a time and place, and lunch break every day didn’t seem like it.)
Then one day, when I was away from home for work, I came across an invention that you could only have expected from a fast food restaurant chain (MOS burger) that originated in Japan. Sushi burgers! For a whole week my lunch was Sushi burgers, and I’ve been waiting to try them at home since then. For far too long now, I should add. The wait is no more. Behold these Teriyaki Flank Steak Sushi Burgers!
So what’s a sushi burger? It’s like your regular burger (well, not really), except that the burger “buns” here are made of sushi rice. You can either have a sushi type filling or a burger type filling in the middle. You can wrap the whole “burger” with Nori (seaweed) or just sprinkle some Nori Furikake seasoning. Basically, it’s the kind of thing that will have sushi connoisseurs everywhere rolling their eyes in disdain.
And as you can tell, the star of my filling was Teriyaki steak. Now, I’ve had teriyaki before, which I’m sure everyone who likes Asian food has at some point. The problem though is that I’ve had way too many watered down, pale brown versions of “teriyaki” meat. Not the authentic, glistening, sweet, grilled meat (which incidentally is what teriyaki translates to; shiny/glossy, grilled or broiled meat). The shine comes from the sugars and the mirin (sauce).
You can use flank steak (which is my favourite cut for the sushi burger), or skirt steak. But I have used other cuts too, like top round. You can even use tenderloin or New York strip if you want to. The main thing is to use a cut that you can slice thinly, against the grain so that it remains tender after being grilled.
The teriyaki marinade is so easy to put together and can also be used for chicken (which I did by the way and was delicious!). I added some cayenne pepper to give it a little bit of heat, and also to balance the sweetness. This teriyaki recipe is very versatile. You can cook the teriyaki sauce and store it in the fridge to be used as a dipping sauce, marinade or stirfry sauce. Or use the mix as a marinade, before cooking it off.
If I don’t have teriyaki marinade in the fridge, I sometimes mix up a smaller amount of the ingredients and marinade the meat directly in it and cook it all off at the end.
The glossy, caramelized meat looked and smelled (and tasted) incredible and you better believe it when I say that it was sheer will power that kept us from finishing off the meat (on its own) before we could assemble the burgers! In my husband’s case it was me slapping him away that kept him from finishing the meat! 🙂
A note on Sushi rice – I used to be intimidated by sushi rice. I can cook rice like Basmati in a rice cooker without measuring out the rice and water with a cup, but sushi rice? I was not so sure. But then I did make it, and it turned out to be just as easy! And now I wonder what I was afraid of for so long! Of course I don’t have any traditional utensils to cook sushi rice, but I make do with what I have.
To make the Sushi “Buns” by hand, you need to make sure you have clean hands (obviously!) and a bowl of cool water that you can dip your hands in before handling the rice. This prevents the rice from sticking to your hands.
Another way (my preferred way), is to use egg rings. Place the portioned sushi rice in a moistened egg ring, and press the rice into it using a wet spoon until it has been molded and packed in. Then when you remove the ring, you have perfect rice “buns”!
Here’s another knowledge bomb. Traditional “Sushi” is named as such because of the seasoned rice. If you roll up bread with stuff inside – that ain’t sushi, because there’s no actual sushi in it (the seasoned rice).
I love the idea of a sushi burger. As someone who loves inspired cooking and food, this marriage of two distinct food cultures/styles is an amusingly clever idea. It is a little messy as you can imagine (after all, the “burger buns” are made of tightly packed sushi rice and they do fall apart a little), but isn’t that always the case with a good burger? I eat mine with chopsticks, whereas my husband enjoys his with a fork and knife. It’s not the traditional way to eat a burger but it’s not a traditional burger either!
I’ve even made a chicken version of the sushi burger – Chicken Katsu Sushi Burger – with perfectly cooked Chicken Katsu, a cheat’s Tonkatsu sauce, and a fluffy and delicious Asian spring onion omelet! So go ahead and get the recipe now!
My version of the steak Sushi Burger has Teriyaki sauce, Wasabi Mayonnaise, a runny egg, Nori furikake, and Pickled Ginger. I absolutely adore pickled ginger – I am guilty of eating it straight from the Jar, and stealing extra packets from Sushi bars! I also love having mine with an egg – to me there is something glorious about a golden runny yolk being soaked up by a sweet, vinegary rice “bun”! However, if you decide to skip the egg, that’s okay too.
That’s how my husband liked his and I still sort of like him. He has since come to the dark side, and loves his with a runny egg too!
Or you could have it as an open sandwich, with just one sushi rice bun and the meat filling, egg and nori, lettuce and pickled ginger on top – This is my way of eating this burger most of the time. Since two “buns” can be too much for me.
No matter how you decide to eat it, the flavours are absolutely incomparable! The sushi rice is seasoned really well and the perfectly cooked steak strips and marinade are incredibly flavourful and impart their flavour on the rice as well. Even though you do add a fair amount of sugar into the teriyaki sauce, it’s not too sweet at all. It tastes perfect, and the spices help balance the sweetness too.
- 12 oz Flank Steak, Skirt Steak, or your favourite cut, sliced thinly against the grain.
- 1 cup soy sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup mirin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper (reduce the amount if you prefer less heat)
- 1 ½ cups of Sushi rice, washed until the water runs clear
- 1 ½ cups of cold water
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds (optional)
- ¼ cup mirin
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ cup of Kewpie Mayonnaise or Regular Mayonnaise
- 2 tsp of Wasabi
- 1-2 Nori sheets cut into quarters
- 3 fried sunny side eggs
- Nori Furikake seasoning
- Pickled Ginger
- Avacado (optional)
- Cucumber (optional)
- Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a saucepan and heat gently on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the sugar has completely dissolved, let it come to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer for a longer time.
- Let it cool to room temperature. Store in an air tight jar/container.
- Mix ½ cup of the teriyaki sauce with the flank steak. Let it marinade for about an hour. (Alternatively, you can add the ½ cup of the Teriyaki sauce ingredients mixed well together, without cooking)
- Brush a non stick frying pan with some peanut oil generously and heat till the oil starts to shimmer.
- Grill the steak strips in batches (do not over-crowd the pan), 30 seconds on each side (longer depending on how thick the slices are). If any steak or marinade juices accumulate in the pan, remove this before adding another batch, as the meat will not caramelize properly with moisture in the pan.
- Let the steak rest for about 5-10 minutes.
- If there is leftover uncooked marinade, this can be added to the hot (clean) pan, to be reduced slightly to be used as a glaze for the Rice Buns.
- Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat on medium heat. Stir to make sure the sugar and salt dissolve. Once it comes to a light boil, remove from the heat and set aside.
- Let the washed rice dry in a colander or sieve for about 10 minutes. Place the rice and the water in a rice cooker and let it cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the rice warm.
- Please note that sushi rice is best eaten on the day it is cooked. It can dry out and taste extremely stale. Therefore, cook the rice and keep it warm until ready to be mixed in with the seasoning.
- When you're ready to make the sushi burgers, spread the rice in a larger bowl or container (bamboo container is better, but I used a glass container). Sprinkle ¼ cup of black sesame seeds on top. Keep a wet cloth handy.
- Measure out roughly ⅓ of a cup of the sushi seasoning and sprinkle on top of the rice, and using a wide spoon (like a rice paddle) “chop” and fold the rice lightly, taking care not to squash or break the rice.
- Roughly divide the rice into 6 equal portions.
- Shaping Buns by hand - Using wet hands shape each portion into a burger bun. Keep them on a plate covered with the wet cloth.
- Shaping Buns with an Egg ring - Place wet egg rings on a parchment paper and place a portion of rice in the egg ring. Using a wet spoon, press the rice into the egg rings until it forms a compact, molded rice "bun".
- In a small non stick frying pan, brush some oil and sear just one side of each rice bun for about 5 minutes on medium heat, or until it starts to caramelize a little. Set aside and keep covered with a wet cloth.
- Mix the Mayonnaise and wasabi together until mixed thouroughly. Cover and keep it in the fridge till needed.
- On the bottom sushi burger bun, brush some Teriyaki glaze/teriyaki sauce. Place some teriyaki steak strips on top and place the egg on top of the steak, followed by lettuce and/or Nori. Brush the top Sushi burger "bun" with some teriyaki sauce and spread some Wasabi Mayonnaise. Place this ontop of the lettuce. Top the Sushi burger with Nori Furikake and Pickled Ginger.
- Other optional fillings - teriyaki chicken, avocado, grilled mushroom, cucumber.
- Wrap with foil or parchment paper until ready to eat.
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Photos from the first version of the Teriyaki Flank Steak Sushi Burger published in 2015.