Making Sushi

A few weeks ago, I was drawn into the deli section of Sprouts, and was delighted to find Avocado Cucumber Sushi Rolls. They were a great, light, healthy snack, and I’ve found myself spending a little extra of my Blow Money on these rolls each week ($4.69 for 7 little rolls!). It’s worse than a Starbucks addiction.

So, I’ve decided to give it a go at home!

I scoured the internet for a relatively simple Quinoa Roll recipe, because I knew we’d need a little extra protein. I’ve learned, in the 2 months of this new lifestyle, that getting protein anywhere you can is a MUST. Otherwise your energy is in the dumps and the kids growth is halted!

However, I served leftover pasta for the kids while the Hubby and I dined on the floor like we were in a real life Japanese joint. Shoes optional. Next time, I’m thinkin’ saki-bombs.

I also read in a few places that if you are new to rolling sushi, you should watch a YouTube video. I didn’t, and I survived.

I have to admit, I felt somewhat overwhelmed at all the steps in preparing to make these very simple looking rolls. Not only did I have to do all the prep of the grain and veggies, I also pickled my own ginger (YUM!) and had to make the vinegar dressing that the grain is mixed with to make it “sticky”. I laid all of my ingredients out, and balked at the number of things that needed to get done! But I was determined.

First, you need to make the tezu dressing.

Tezu Dressing

Adapted from turntablekitchen.com

For the quinoa dressing (Tezu):

2 tablespoons of  rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of sea salt

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside until you are ready to dress your quinoa.

Quinoa Sushi

Adapted from turntablekitchen.com

1 1/2 cups of quinoa
3 cups of water
1 avocado
1/2 English Cucumber
1 Medium Carrot
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
sesame seeds, toasted
nori sheets

Condiments

pickled ginger (recipe below)

soy sauce

Wasabi

Lemon Slices

1. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then dial down the heat and simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes (or until all of the water has absorbed). When done, transfer the quinoa to a large platter (I used my broiling pan) and let cool.

2. Slice all of your vegetables into very thin strips. If desired, squirt some lemon juice onto your avocado so it doesn’t get brown.  Lay out all of your vegetables on a cutting board near where you’ll be rolling the sushi.

3. Add the tezu to the slightly cooled quinoa and gently toss to coat. Then, let cool completely.

4. Once the quinoa has cooled, prepare your workspace: place a small bowl of water near your station; you’ll want to dip your hands in there as you work. Place the bowl of quinoa and vegetables next to you and prepare a cutting board on which you’ll roll the sushi.

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5. Next, place a sushi mat on your cutting board. Top with a sheet of nori (shiny side down) almost to the edge of the mat that’s closest to you.

6. Dip your hands in the bowl of water and use them to take some quinoa from the bowl and evenly spread it over the nori. Leave a small border along the edge that is furthest from you. As I got more confident, I put a thicker layer of the quinoa and brought it further out to the edges.

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7. Arrange the vegetables in a thin line running through the center of the mat. Be careful to not overfill, otherwise your roll will burst.

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7. Holding the edge of the mat with your thumbs, lift it along with the filling and roll away from you. Hold the filling as you roll and gently pull the mat as you continue rolling. Once you have a neat roll, fold your hands over the mat to tighten the roll. Moisten the edge of the nori with water to seal.

8. Slide the roll off of the mat and use a very sharp knife to cut it into individual pieces. I actually sharpened my knife immediately before I cut into my first roll. It was like slicing through paper!

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9. Put the two end pieces on a separate plate if you choose to eat them. Sure, they aren’t pretty, and the fall apart because the yummy goodies aren’t as prolific as they are in the center cuts, but DANG. They still taste good!

10. Do a silly little dance in your kitchen for having had the balls to attempt such a dish, and start to get excited when your friends and family marvel at your abilities!

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11. Serve sushi alongside pickled ginger, Wasabi Paste (if you want to clear those sinuses!), and soy sauce.

12. Share the love with friends and family (that’s how you’ll get the kudos!). Besides, you’ll have a gazillion pieces of sushi and there is no possible way you’ll eat them all!

Pickled Ginger

Adapted from japanesefood.about.com

  • 1 bulb fresh young ginger (shin shoga)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 9 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 6 tbsp sugar

Preparation:

Wash young ginger root and rub off skin. Slice the ginger thinly and salt them. Leave salted ginger slices in a bowl for about one hour. Dry the ginger slices with paper towels and put them in a sterilized, heat-resistant container/jar. Mix rice vinegar and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot mixture of vinegar and sugar over the ginger slices. Cool them. Pickled ginger changes its color to light pink. (If you are using old ginger, it might not turn pink naturally.) Cover the jar and store it in the refrigerator.
If you are making these rolls for a crowd, you can easily multiply this recipe to account for more ginger. The important part is the 3:2 ratio of the vinegar and sugar. And make sure the salt is evenly distributed on the ginger slices to make them “sweat”. You may need to add a dash more to coat them.
**Review**
We REALLY enjoyed these rolls. The process seemed long, but now that I’ve done it, it doesn’t seem as scary. I’ll also mix up what I put in each of the rolls to keep my tastebuds guessing. WE also weren’t huge fans of the carrots because of the crunch, but that’s a personal preference. The Hubby suggested we use some mandarin oranges next time I make them. I think the possibilites are endless!

What would you put in a roll if you were making them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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