While in Orlando last month, my daughter really wanted me to go to her favorite little sushi restaurant. She knows me so well and she swore that there were things that I would like if I'd just give it a chance. I decided if she could eat it...I just might be wrong.
When I thought of sushi, I thought "raw fish". I have found in conversations since coming home, most people who say they won't eat it think the same thing. I had no idea of the options available that weren't raw and many aren't even fish.
The above first picture is the pretty platter my husband and I shared in Orlando. There is nothing raw on the plate. One roll is made with a tempura (fried) shrimp in the middle, one with avocado, one with cucumber and cream cheese and one (with the curly stuff on top) has the fried shrimp along with cream cheese and conch. All have sticky rice and Nori (seaweed) which doesn't really taste much in fresh sushi. We loved it all. I was really nervous to put one of those big bites in my mouth and so pleasantly surprised at how good it was!
In the weeks since, we have had sushi at two other locations closer to home. We can't get it in our town, so I decided to attempt to make it...and it worked! I was able to buy the ingredients at Walmart and didn't buy any special equipment, although most would suggest buying a bamboo rolling mat to help roll the sushi. I used parchment paper with plastic wrap and it worked just fine. I didn't attempt to do any shrimp frying. I opted to make veggie sushi.
The ingredients are few and inexpensive. I found them in the Asian section of the store. Sushi rice, Nori, rice vinegar, a little sugar,sesame seeds and whatever veggies you want to put in the middle. I used avocado, cucumber, carrot and cream cheese in various arrangements.
Step one: A sheet of parchment paper covered with plastic wrap.
Step 2: Cook the rice. You can find many recipes online for preparing the rice. After it cooks, it is mixed with a small amount of the rice vinegar mixed with sugar (my recipe mixed the two and microwaved them for 30 seconds) and then it has to cool at room temperature. This is the step that takes a while but has no work involved.
Some sushi has the rice on the inside and the Nori on the outside, some is reversed. I made both. The rice is very sticky, so you wet your hands and pat it on the nori. If you want the rice on the outside, simply place another sheet of plastic wrap over the top and flip it over. The rice will still stick.
Slice your veggies into long strips.
Cream cheese and avocado-rice on the outside.
Cucumber and carrot-rice on the inside.
Slicing the cream cheese.
Using the plastic wrap to help, slowly roll the Nori into a tight roll. Take it slowly and press the roll together as you go along. When the roll is complete, dampen the edge of the Nori with a little water and seal it to itself. You can immediately slice the roll into slices, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with wasabi or soy sauce.
Mine isn't nearly as beautiful as what we got in the restaurants, but it turned out pretty well for my first try. My husband said he thought it tasted very much like the restaurant sushi. I thought it was good. I was a little heavy handed with the rice and it was a bit too thick. I also think the Nori at the restauants had less of a taste than the dried I bought at the grocery store. It was actually fun to make!