Seashore Chicken Swirls

Tori no Isobé Maki


Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

This is a classic Japanese appetizer meant to be served on its own or in a boxed collection with other bite-size savories, such as Japanese-Style Breaded Fried Oysters or Seashore Flowers. This particular version was given to me by Hisako Masubuchi, a dear friend in Tokyo and a fabulous cook.


Chicken Mixture

  • 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • ½ medium egg, beaten
  • 1 ½ tablespoons shiro miso (light fermented bean paste)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced scallions OR chives
  • 1 teaspoon saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon usukuchi shōyu (light soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 full sheets yaki-zushi nori (toasted paper-thin seaweed)
  • 1–2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • soy sauce, for dipping (optional)


Cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks and put them in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse-process to chop the meat fine. Add the egg and fermented bean paste, and process to incorporate. Add the scallions or chives, rice wine, salt, and light soy sauce and process to a fairly smooth paste. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the mixture and process until combined.

Spread one sheet of seaweed out on a clean, dry surface. Arrange the seaweed so that one of the shorter ends faces you. The rougher-textured side of the seaweed should face up. With a spatula or butter knife, spread half the chicken mixture evenly on the seaweed, leaving a 2-inch border clear on the far side. Gently roll the seaweed away from you, as you would a jelly roll. Don’t roll too snugly, since the seaweed shrinks a bit when sautéed and might open up. Seal the far edge with a drop of water or oil, and let the roll rest, seam side down, for a minute or more. Repeat to make another roll.

Lightly oil a skillet and warm it over medium heat. Sear the rolls, seam side down, then shake the pan to keep the rolls moving. Sauté for 1–2 minutes, shaking frequently. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and cook for 6–7 more minutes. The rolls should be firm when cooked through. Let them cool completely on paper towels. Cut each roll into fifteen slices, exposing the swirl pattern on each piece. Serve at room temperature, with soy sauce for dipping if you wish.