Dec 15, 2011

vegetable sushi

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 A few years ago, my friends in Georgia introduced me to sushi.  They took me out to a sushi restaurant.  It scared me just a little because I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  When I thought "sushi", I was sure that my friends were going to make me eat raw fish, which I was less than prepared to do.

But, there were plenty of non-fish options at the restaurant.  And they helped me order.  And it was delicious.

Now, I love sushi.  (Thank you Georgia friends!)  This would be a good thing, except for the fact that sushi is so darn expensive at a restaurant or grocery store.  Unless you make it yourself.  So, I learned how to make it myself.

At our house, I'm the sushi rice maker and my husband is the sushi roller/cutter (those aren't my man-hands in the picture, silly!).  It's actually pretty easy to make and tastes as good as the expensive restaurant delights.  You don't actually need any of the fancy sushi equipment shown below, but it makes the experience feel more authentic.

Don't be afraid of sushi anymore.  Make it at home with whatever fillings you'd like, knowing that you don't need to do the whole raw fish thing today.  Baby steps...

 Vegetable Sushi
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown


-2 c. sushi rice (short or medium grain white rice)
-2 c. water
-2 tbsp rice vinegar (found in the Asian or vinegar aisle)
-2 tbsp sugar
-1 tbsp salt
-6 sheets seaweed wrappers (sushi nori)
-cucumber, avocado, carrots, or whatever you'd like to use for filling
-soy sauce and wasabi for dipping

This recipe makes approximately 6 rolls, so we usually half it for the 2 of us.  Start by measuring the dry rice into a medium-sized sauce pan.  Rinse the rice with cool water, dumping the milky water down the drain, until the water is fairly clear.  This usually takes 6-8 times.  Drain as much water out as possible (without losing the rice down the drain).  Now, add the appropriate amount of water to the rice.  Put it on high heat and bring to a boil uncovered.  Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover.  Continue to cook for about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the rice stand for 10 more minutes.  Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl.  Microwave that mixture 30-45 seconds and gently cut it into the rice until all of the rice is coated.  Let the rice cool to room temperature before continuing.

When the rice is ready, put about 1/6 of it onto a sheet of seaweed paper.  Have a cup of water nearby to use to keep your fingers wet as you work with the rice.  It keeps the rice from sticking to your hands.  With wet fingers, gently press the rice evenly into the sushi paper, spreading it fairly close to all of the edges.  Either grate the vegetable(s) of choice or finely julienne vegetable(s) into skinny sticks.  I prefer to grate them, because they all turn out fairly uniform and I'm not the best julienner in the world.  This time, we just used cucumbers (avoiding the seeds, of course), but feel free to mix and match veggies.  Place the veggies in a line down the center of the roll.

Next, get your husband to finish the process (...I guess that's just what I do, but you can do this yourself.  I'm sure of it!).  Finally, roll the sushi (so that the veggies are parallel to your rolling).  Roll it as tightly as possible.  My husband prefers to use the bamboo placemat to help with the rolling, but we've also rolled sushi without it and it's turned out just fine.  Use a little water to seal the seaweed at the end, if the roll isn't holding well.  Next, get a big chef knife and put it in your glass of water.  You need to constantly wet the knife, so the sushi rice doesn't stick to it.  Cut the roll into 6 or so sushi pieces, keeping in mind that you'll need to wet the knife before each cut.  Place the sushi on a pretty plate and serve with soy sauce (with wasabi mixed in, if you like a little spice) and enjoy the bite-sized pieces of Asian love.

 Rinse the rice

 Add the vinegar mixture

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