I’m definitely no sushi master, but it’s rather fun to make and truly not that difficult once you get started. It had been quite some time since the one and only time I’d ever made sushi, so of course that needed to be changed.
Unlike Chinese food, which I get sick of before I even leave the restaurant, I could consume sushi several times a week and never tire of it. Plus, I always feel so light and refreshed after eating it. Like my dad always says, it’s best to leave the dinner table still a little hungry. That feeling of fullness will hit you soon enough, and if you happen to find yourself with a little extra room in your stomach a few hours later, it’s nothing a good dessert can’t easily cure. I think that’s why I never get worn out of sushi. Rarely am I left from a sushi night feeling weighed down, and plus, I always appreciate a good excuse to eat dessert. 🙂
I had a few friends over the other weekend for some sushi and sangria (anyone else think saké’ tastes like pee?), and it made me realize that sushi is the perfect dinner party activity. Our sushi didn’t look perfect, but it tasted amazing, which is what counts in my kitchen. There will definitely be some more sushi-making going down in the near future. Making the rolls yourself allows you to get creative and have fun with what goes inside. Plus, you can utilize healthy, whole grain rice, which makes sushi that much more of an excellent lunch/dinner item.
I had a bunch of summer produce picked from my CSA job, so we went with several summer veggie sushi creations, like beets and mint, and cucumber and squash. We paired nearly every combo with avocado because for me, avocado is the key to vegetarian sushi. It adds the kick of richness needed to make sushi stand out, and that tender creaminess that raw fish would normally lend. If you want, feel free to experiment with some seafood combinations too, but I can’t say I’m daring enough to trust my local seafood spots. Besides, the raw beet/mint/avocado combo. looked nearly like a tuna roll, and tasted just as good (and fresh) to me!
So grab a sushi mat and get rolling (and rockin’) and let me know of what your favorite combinations turn out to be!
- For the rice:
- -1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
- -3 cups cold water
- -1 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
- -1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- For the sushi:
- -Bamboo sushi mat
- -5-7 toasted nori sheets
- -1 cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks
- -2 avocados, diced
- -1 beet, cut into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks
- -8-10 leaves of mint, cut into thin strips
- -One small summer squash, cut into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks
- -Soy sauce
- -Pickled ginger, optional
- -Other optional add-ins: Scallions, red onions, carrots, kohlrabi, roasted beets, baked tofu, roasted eggplant, sauteed mushrooms, radishes, steamed sweet potatoes
- For the rice:
- Place rice, water, and 1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce in a saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook 45 minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit at least 10 minutes.
- Transfer rice to large bowl, preferably not metal*. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce and rice vinegar. Cover, and chill until rice is at least room temperature.
- *Metal can react with the vinegar, and infuse a strange taste into the rice.
- Preparing the sushi: Fill a large bowl with water, and set aside.
- Place sushi mat with slats running horizontal. Lay one sheet of nori, shine side down, onto the mat, lining up the long edge of the sheet with the edge closest to you. Wet fingers in water. Spread a thin layer of rice across nori sheet, leaving 1-inch border on side farthest from you.
- Choose 2-3 veggies of your choice, and arrange them in an even strip horizontally across the rice, starting about an inch and a half closest to you. (Suggestions: Avocado and cucumber, or avocado, cucumber, and squash, or avocado, beets, and mint, or avocado, cucumber, and pickled ginger).
- Grab hold of edge of mat closest to you with your thumbs and use your remaining fingers to hold veggie fillings in place as you fold mat over so that the upper and lower edges of rice meet. Give the rolled mat a gentle squeeze, open the mat, and then continue rolling. Dampen fingertips and seal the outer edge of nori sheet to the roll.
- Place roll seal side down onto a cutting board. Cut roll in half. Cut each half in half. Finish by making a cut down the center of each individual piece of the roll. Serve with wasabi paste, soy sauce, and ginger.