Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sushi? Oh Yeah!

Simple, elegant, and delicious, Sushi definitely makes the 'top 10 favourites' list for both of our families!

But, before we get to the recipe and preparation, allow us to clarify something that you may be asking....

"Isn't this a vegetarian/vegan recipe site, and doesn't sushi mean raw fish?"

Great question, and here is our answer:

"While there are many types of Sushi that include raw fish and seafood (Sashimi), there is also a wide variety of vegetarian/vegan friendly Sushi."

We usually prepare the following types:

Onigirizushi - rice with other ingredients rolled into a ball.
Nigirizushi - hand formed Sushi.
Makizushi - rolled Sushi, which is the type you see in the photos.
Inarizushi - rice stuffed into fried tofu pockets.

Regardless of the type you make, all you have to do is choose your favourite veggies and make a variety of rolls.
We used a combination of Avocado, Carrot, Baked or Fried Tofu, and Cucumber in the photos shown. The possibilities are endless. Once you get the hang of making Sushi, it will be a quick and satisfying meal!

Ingredients for Sticky Rice:

3 cups Sushi Rice
4 cups Water1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp Honey (or sweetener of choice)
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Nori - seaweed sheets either toasted or dried
Soy Wraps - the light green sushi in picture above

Filling Ingredients:

Carrots, shredded or sliced
Avocados, thinly sliced
Baked or Fried Tofu, sliced
Cucumbers, remove seeds and slice thin

Cook rice in rice cooker with water.
While rice is cooking, mix rice vinegar, honey, and salt in small saucepan on low heat 'till combined. Set aside.

When rice is done, transfer to wooden, stainless steel, or glass bowl.

While still hot, pour rice vinegar mixture over rice and fold with wooden spatula, being careful not to smash the rice.
If you can use a fan while folding the rice, it will makes rice shiny and sticky. If you can't, just fan it manually, i.e, with a mock paper fan.
When cool to touch, wet hands, (not dripping, but just wet) form rice into tennis sized balls (- a bit) and lay out on top of Nori sheets....conveyor belt style.
Wet your hands again, getting any rice off, and spread the rice balls out gently with your finger tips pushing the rice out in all directions until nori is covered just right. Use the photo below as a gauge for just how much rice to use (I used a little too much in this roll).
Place your fillings a little lower then in the middle (closer to you), then roll 'em up using two non - rice covered hands.
If you need help with the rolling part, you can use a bamboo mat, sold at most Asian markets.
Once your sushi's are rolled up nice and tight, slice them into even circles with a clean, sharp, and slightly damp knife.

You may need to clean your knife in between slices, as rice will stick to the knife and will make it diff
icult to cut the Sushi neatly.

P.S. Sushi makes the perfect lunch for your kiddos to take to school! Ours love it and request it(more like demand it) weekly. Several of their friends always try to make a 'trade' with them for a piece of their Sushi or Inari, I don't think they are too successful though!

Here is our method to making it an easy and quick lunch to prepare in the morning when your time is - let's say.... limited.

When you make it for dinner, make sure you set aside a good amount of Sushi Rice in a container after rice has cooled sufficiently. We like to leave it out (in the container) overnight because we dislike like the consistency of the rice after it has been refrigerated. We did some research on this, and have learned that the rice will not spoil in that short amount of time due to the added vinegar. We also save time by storing any left over carrot slices in water in the refrigerator, so they're all ready to go in the morning.

We use the rice and chopped veggies to prepare a roll or two for each kiddo -including our husbands :) and we make sure to fill up a pouch of Inari with rice, or else we'll here about it later.
Don't forget the Soy Sauce (we use Bragg's liquid Amino's). Put some in an air tight container and their lunch is set.

Sushi Tips
If the rice doesn't stick to Nori, or roll does not stick together when rolled, you most likely did not use enough vinegar in your rice. The rice should be very sticky, annoyingly so. Keep a small bowl of water close by when preparing your sushi. You'll need to wet your hands frequently during the process, as it prevents the rice from sticking to your hands.

If your roll is too thick, or does not hold together well, you probably used too much rice, or packed it down too tightly. The rice should be spread on the nori and should not cover the nori completely. You should be able to see nori between the rice....use just a bit less then the amount shown in the picture above.

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