Eczema-Friendly Sushi Balls

dairy free gluten free low amine low salicylate moderate salicylates vegan

Sushi skin friend image

These tasty little rice balls are a great alternative for when you’re feeling like sushi but need an easier, salicylate friendly version.

Sushi balls are a great option for kids following the eczema diet (or the new Eczema Detox) as they can be a bit of fun. Kids can choose their own toppings, arrange them how they like on a plate and dunk them in our tasty sauce.

For the rice, you will need...

  • 2 cups sushi rice rice – this will make a lot of rice so halve the recipe if you want a smaller batch (note it must be sushi rice as it needs to be sticky... brown rice will not work)
  • 3 cups filtered water (or follow packet instructions)

To stir in after rice is cooked

  • 4 tablespoons filtered water 
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or use less)

Choose your own toppings from the following:

You can use our photos for inspiration or make up your own. The following ingredients can be used but how to slice and decorate can be up to you.

  • Crispy firm tofu: Rolled in 1 tablespoon of chickpea flour, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of salt
  • Peeled thin carrot (contains moderate salicylates!)
  • Purple or green cabbage
  • Beetroot, thinly peeled (moderate salicylates!)
  • Mung beans (the green round ones)
  • Spring onion (scallions, green onions, green parts)
  • Chia seeds (moderate salicylates and amines!)

Non-vegan options:


  • Crispy chicken: Chicken tenderloins, rolled in 1 tablespoon of chickpea flour, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, then lightly fried in a little oil
  • Salmon: Thinly sliced and lightly cooked both sides in a small amount of rice bran oil and a sprinkle of garlic powder

      For the dressings

      We have given you the option of trying 2 dressings (or you can eat the sushi plain).

      Our Maple Dressing you can find here. This dressing is slightly sweet with a carob garlicy taste and can give a nice sweetness to the savoury sushi (and it looks like soy sauce).

      Our shallot garlic dressing will give a nice garlic/onion kick and has a more savoury tasting. The complete recipes can be found below.

      Sushi eczema-friendly


      Rinse sushi rice well in a colander until water runs clear. 

      Add to a pot with 3 cups of filtered water (cover with a lid) and bring to a soft boil, turn to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is soft. If the rice is not completely cooked, add a bit more water and continuing to cook briefly. 

      When rice is cooked, take it from the heat and leave to sit with the lid on for 5 minutes, then scoop into a rectangular shaped bowl or similar and use a fork to gently separate the rice and move around a bit. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

      In a cup or jug add 4 tablespoons water, the maple syrup and salt. Pour this mixture into the rice evenly and mix around gently with a fork. Leave rice to cool completely.

      Meanwhile you can prepare your toppings.


      If using tofu:

      Slice the tofu into long thin cubes. Place them into a sealable plastic bag or container along with garlic powder, salt and chickpea flour and shake ingredients together until there is a nice coating over the tofu. You will need to shake gently to avoid breaking the tofu. 

      Place a pan on medium heat with splash or rice bran oil and cook the tofu until slightly browned and cooked well.

      If using chicken:

      Follow the above instructions and substitute the tofu with chicken. 

      Making the balls:

      When the rice has completely cooled grab a bowl of water a chopping board and your topping ingredients.

      Wet your hands in the bowl shaking off excess water then grab a small handful or rice and mould in into a ball about the size of a gold ball and place it on a plate or board, slightly flatten the top and repeat until you have made the amount of balls you want.

      Top each ball with your topping of choice, you can get as creative as you like! you can make flowers out of vegetables and use as many different colours as you wish. Arrange on a plate and serve with your dressing of choice

      For the shallot garlic dressing

      2 heaped tablespoons of shallots chopped
      1 garlic clove crushed
      ½ pear diced and peeled
      2 tablespoons rice bran oil
      ½ tablespoon maple syrup
      1-tablespoon water
      1-teaspoon garlic powder
      ½ teaspoon salt

      Place pan on medium heat and add a splash or rice bran oil, add chopped shallots and stir until they begin to sautée. Add crushed garlic, diced pear and stir for about 5 minutes or until lightly cooked.

      Add garlic powder and salt and begin to cook for about another 5 minutes, adjust heat if needed.

      Take off heat, stir in maple syrup and allow to cool slightly, then add mixture to a blender with the water and blend on high until well combined. The shallots may not blend completely but this is fine. Adjust to your taste then remove and place in small dipping bowl. If this is to serve a larger family, you want leftovers or love some extra sauce then you may want to double or triple the recipe.

      Want to take things to the next level?

      For the sushi experts or the cooks seeking more of a challenge we also trialled nori free sushi and it worked really well. It is a little harder and fidgety due to tit being seaweed-free (seaweed is very rich in salicylates and natural MSG so it can make people with eczema very itchy so we have omitted it from the recipe). 

      Here are our tips to help you end up with a nice roll instead of deconstructed sushi:

      • Cook the rice as above as this sticks well 
      • Do not overfill your sushi, as it can become too large and break apart
      • Place a sushi mat on a chopping board and cover the mat with cling wrap that hangs over the edges (see below for images), bringing the cling wrap in at the sides to straighten the sushi works well, place them back after it is straight don't keep it on top of the rice or it will end up in the roll
      • Ensure your hands are wet when handling the rice; this makes it less sticky to handle.

        This one uses a rice paper wrap to hold it on the outside. It worked well. 


      • Fill your rice to about ¾ of the way on your mat and leave room at the top otherwise you will end up with a lot of rice and an uneven roll
      • Use whatever eczema friendly ingredients you like. We used crispy chicken, red cabbage and thinly sliced carrot and it was very tasty
      • Press down firmly when rolling on the cling wrap to ensure the ingredients stay intact and the roll stays firm
      • Rice paper wraps worked the best to hold the sushi roll together, we used 2 overlapping wraps and wrapped each side of the role with one rice paper roll
      • Cut off any overlapping rice paper wrap
      • Ensure your knife it wet when cutting the sushi roll into individual mini rolls, I washed off any excess rice each time before cutting and this made it super easy to cut.

      • Recipe by Katie Layland who works with me at the Eczema Life Clinic in Sydney. If you have any questions post them below.


        At Eczema Life, we recommend nutritionist Karen Fischer's low food chemical program (The Eczema Detox) along with additive-free supplements for skin health and wellbeing. Click on the images to view more details:



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