A Nigiri (Sushi) Candle

To properly understand nigiri, you first have to have a basic understanding of sushi. In the Japanese culinary culture, sushi refers to the use of vinegared short grain “sticky” rice. Short grain rice is always used to make sushi because the glutinous qualities of this rice make the individual grains stick together in a way that long grain rice cannot. The rice is steamed and mixed with sugar and vinegar to give it a sweet and sour flavor.

When rolled in nori, roasted seaweed, we get maki. Maki is sushi rice with a single extra ingredient that’s rolled in seaweed. In contrast,  futomaki is a fatter roll that includes multiple ingredients. A California roll is an example of futomaki.

Sashimi is raw seafood. It’s typically served as the first course or sometimes the main dish of a meal. It is traditionally served in thin slices with a garnish such as shredded white radish or shiso leaves which are also known as purple mint. In the picture above right, the sashimi is being served with thinly sliced cucumbers.

Nigiri is a combination of sashimi and sushi rice. The rice is formed into an oblong ball and a slice of raw seafood is laid over it.

I found this nigiri mold through FlexibleMolds, an on-line Etsy store. I initially used it for the rice and bound together four different nigiri molds to create a bed of rice to make this shioyaki candle of grilled fish.

I have since used this mold to create nigiri.

To make a candle, I put two nigiri together. Since the rice on the sides have a slight outwards bulge, after adding hot wax to “glue” these pieces together, I wound up with what would have looked like a mound of rice sandwiched between the nigiri. To avoid just having a mound of sushi rice in the center, I used a butter knife to spread semi-gelled wax on top. I then used acrylic paints to to simulate tuna on the outer ends with salmon over the middle piece. The nigiri was then topped with a jumbo shrimp.

The shrimp was made by combining two molded pieces together. Since this mold was developed for use with fondant and not with wax models, the mold was a bit shallow and the pieces broke after coming out of the silicone. I omitted the legs and glued the pieces together using warm wax. Given how cumbersome this process was, I likely will not be creating more shrimp using these particular molds.

This candle was scented with ginger, lemon grass, and a touch of bacon. Since fresh fish has a briny smell, I’ve ordered an ocean breeze fragrance to see if I can closer approximate the aroma of fresh fish.

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