How To Make Kombu Salmon Rolls (Simmered Kelp Rolls)-Japanese Taste

How To Make Kombu Salmon Rolls (Simmered Kelp Rolls)

by Megumi Moriya

Appetizer Side dish Kombu Salmon Make Ahead Meal Prep Osechi Ryori Seafood Simmered Food Winter

Are you consuming enough seaweed daily? If not, why not consider preparing a delightful dish known as the "Kombu Salmon Roll" for your everyday meals?

Kombu, a type of kelp, is renowned for its crucial role in making Dashi (soup stock). However, in Japanese cuisine, Kombu is also enjoyed in various forms such as "Tsukudani" (Kombu simmered in sweetened soy sauce) and "Oden" (a Japanese stew). One of the most well-known Kombu dishes we would like to introduce in this recipe is the "Kombu Roll."

The Kombu roll is crafted using Kombu, fish, and Kanpyo (dried gourd strips). The fish is wrapped with Kombu and secured with Kanpyo. The Kombu roll is then simmered in a soy sauce-based seasoning, allowing you to savor the Umami flavor of Kombu and fish infused with the savory taste of soy sauce.

Traditionally, Kombu rolls are prepared for Osechi, a traditional Japanese New Year's dish. Herring is commonly used for Kombu rolls during Osechi, as it is considered an auspicious ingredient. However, for this recipe, we will be using salmon, a readily available and commonly used ingredient for Kombu rolls in supermarkets.

In Japan, autumn is the ideal season to relish salmon. During this time, as salmon return to the rivers to spawn, their meat is lean yet exceptionally flavorful. Japanese refer to this season's salmon as "Aki-zake" or autumn salmon, making it the perfect time to try the Kombu Salmon Roll!

Returning to the topic of Osechi, each Osechi dish carries its unique symbolic meaning.

Regarding the Kombu Roll, it is believed that the word "Kombu" rhymes with "Yorokobu" (meaning happiness). Additionally, Kombu is thought to symbolize fertility and family prosperity due to its phonetic association in Kanji characters. Hence, Kombu rolls are a favored addition to Osechi.

When preparing Kombu rolls, it's important to note that there are different varieties of Kombu, such as Ma-kombu, Rausu-kombu, and Rishiri-kombu. For Kombu rolls, "Hidaka Kombu", known for its soft texture and minimal fiber is typically preferred.

In this recipe, we will be using "Hidaka Kombu." With this type of Kombu, you can create soft and flavorful Kombu rolls. This Kombu variety complements dishes like Kombu rolls, Oden, and is, of course, perfect for making Dashi soup stock. Enjoy preparing delectable Kombu dishes with this exceptional Kombu variety!


Prep time: 45 mins

Cook time: 1hr 30mins

Total time: 2hrs 15mins

Total servings: 3

Difficulty: Easy

  • 5 Pieces of Dried Kombu (20-30cm length each)
  • 200g Salmon, unsalted (2 pieces)
  • 13g (about 2m length) Dried Kanpyo (dried gourd strips)
  • 1 Liter Water (for Kombu)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (for Kanpyo)
  • 2 Tbsp Sake (for simmering)
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar (for simmering)
  • 2.5 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2.5 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Mirin

Expert's Tip

How To Make Kombu Salmon Rolls (Simmered Kelp Rolls)

Dried Kombu is an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine, and with numerous types of Kombu available, it can be challenging to select the right one for your dishes. If you find yourself in such a situation, Hidaka Kombu is the ideal choice. With its soft texture and rich flavor, J Taste Hidaka Kombu is versatile and suitable for both making Dashi and consuming in various dishes, making it stand out as the most versatile Kombu option.


1) Gathering the Ingredients

Gather the ingredients together.

2) Preparing the Dried Kanpyo

Briefly soak Kanpyo strips in additional water and gently rub it with salt. Afterwards, thoroughly rinse off the salt with another round of water and then squeeze it.

3) Soaking the Kombu and Kanpyo

Soak both the Kombu and the prepared Kanpyo in a large bowl containing 1 liter of water. Be careful not to damage the fragile dried Kombu. Allow them to sit for approximately 30 minutes.

After the 30-minute soaking period, remove them from the water. Squeeze excess water from the Kanpyo and, if necessary, cut it in half widthwise for easier tying.

Tip: Remember to retain the soaking water, as it contains the Umami essence of the Kombu, which will be utilized later in this recipe.

4) Preparing the Salmon

Use fish bone tweezers to get rid of any small bones in the salmon.

To remove the skin, slide a knife from the left to the right between the skin and the salmon meat, as shown in the pictures.

Subsequently, cut the salmon in half lengthwise and then into stick-sized pieces.

5) Rolling Up the Salmon Inside of the Kombu

Lay a sheet of Kombu and position a piece of salmon on it. Roll up the salmon tightly with the Kombu, following the example in the pictures.

If the salmon stick is uneven, consider using two pieces to ensure an even thickness.

Fold down the end of the roll and secure it with Kanpyo. Trim any excess Kanpyo with kitchen scissors.

If you have leftover Kanpyo, you can tie knots and simmer it along with the salmon Kombu rolls.

6) Simmering the Salmon Kombu Rolls

In a 20cm pot or frying pan, combine approximately 500ml (or more) of the Kombu dashi prepared in step 3, along with vinegar and sake.

Select a pot or pan where the Kombu rolls won't overlap. Pour enough Kombu water to completely cover the Kombu rolls completely.

Place the Kombu rolls in the liquid and heat them over medium heat.

Once the water comes to a boil, remove any lye (impurities) and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the rolls for approximately 1 hour, placing a piece of aluminum foil directly onto the Kombu rolls. Periodically check the level of Kombu water to ensure that the Kombu rolls remain submerged. If the Kombu water decreases, add more as needed.

7) Adding Additional Seasonings

After simmering for 1 hour, add sugar to the pot and continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Following this, add the remaining seasonings and simmer for approximately 25 more minutes.

Tip: Please take note that well-simmered Kombu becomes very soft, so exercise caution not to damage its surface when handling it with chopsticks.

8) Cutting the Salmon Kombu Rolls into Smaller Pieces & Serving

Slice the salmon Kombu rolls into bite-sized pieces, then arrange them on a plate and serve! We hope you enjoy our Kombu Salmon Roll recipe!

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