Sushi- what happens after a trip to the international food store (what to do with a little avocado and rice)

Happy Friday!

I will admit it: sushi is a bit of a scary word. For those of you who have never eaten sushi- please read with an open mind…and stomach. Raw fish can be a bit of a turn-off. The good news: sushi does not always mean raw fish. Sushi, in its most basic form, means rice roll. The process: spread sticky rice out on a seaweed wrap, lay veggies and/or meat in a line in the middle, roll the whole thing up, cut into slices, dip in soy sauce and enjoy! The following is a picture diary of our sushi-making adventure- there is no raw fish involved! (ps- this would be a great kitchen adventure for children, there’s a lot of playing with food, and it would be a fun way to introduce them to food from other cultures…)

One of the most important ingredients in making sushi is seaweed. Not just any seaweed will do. It has to be pre-formed sheets of seaweed. I have only found seaweed at international stores, never in a regular old cookie-cutter grocery store. I need to find one here in Colorado! This sheet is important as it holds all of the ingredients in place, and keeps things from getting really messy. The other key ingredient is rice- not just any old rice, but sticky rice. I didn’t know this and we bought jasmine rice. Sticky rice is actually a kind of rice that cooks up really starchy and thus sticky. I cooked the rice and then added a bit of water over low heat until the whole dish got really sticky. Next comes the rice vinegar and a bit of sugar- a tablespoon of the vinegar and a few teaspoons of the sugar. Please don’t read this like a recipe- I would probably just put a few splashes and dashes in… Leave the rice out in a bowl so that it can cool down, nobody likes hot rice in their hands!

Ask some friends over and let the fun begin! Lay down your sushi mat (yea right, who has a sushi mat?!)…or a place mat, or a kitchen towel. Put down cling wrap to keep your place mat clean and assist in the rolling of the sushi. Lay down your sheet of seaweed. Dip your hands in a bowl of water and pat a layer of sticky rice onto the seaweed. If your fingers get sticky, dip them in the water again. Carefully flip the seaweed/rice sheet over so the rice is on the bottom. Line up your filling ingredients in the center of the sheet. We used avocado slices, cream cheese, and imitation crab meat. Carrots, cucumbers, apple slices, red peppers…the ingredient list is endless!

Next use the cling wrap to lift one edge of the seaweed/rice sheet and lay it over the fillings. Start rolling the roll using the cling wrap, but not rolling the wrap into the sushi. The result should be a tightly rolled rice wrap with cling wrap only on the outside. Wrap this up in your place mat and roll until it feels like the ingredients are evenly distributed and the roll is shaped nicely. (Don’t push too hard, rice is squishy.)

Remove the plastic wrap from the sushi rolls and place them on a cutting board. Take a sharp knife (you may need a bowl of water here too) and cut each roll into 6 pieces. Arrange onto a plate so you can see your handiwork.
Pour a little bowl of aged soy sauce, dip and enjoy! We had the sushi as an appetizer and partner to our bowls of stir-fried turkey with broccoli, onions and peppers over rice noodles. Yum!