Tuesday, May 18, 2010

California Rolls

So this past Mother's Day I gave my mom the gift of sushi, one of her favorite foods. I really don't make sushi that often, mostly because I'm not a fan of nori (though it is starting to grow on me). I really don't think it's necessary to buy a bamboo mat or sushi kit though unless you plan on making a lot of sushi on a regular basis. Since I don't, I found that the plastic wrap method works quite well for me. I did a step-by-step thing here so beginners can get an idea of what it takes to make a roll (or 5 or 10).

A few helpful hints:
  • Have rice cooked and cooled to room temperature
  • Have vegetables chopped and prepared
  • Have sesame seeds and wasabi already toasted/prepared
I'm not gonna lie, I think the sushi tastes better when it's had time to blend it's flavors together in the fridge. I've also included a recipe for dipping sauce that Mom and my boyfriend liked a lot, in addition to the usual wasabi.

California Rolls:
For the rice:
2 c. sushi rice
6 c. water
1/4 c. SEASONED rice vinegar

For the rolls:
1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half vertically, seeded, and cut into 1/4 in. wide strips
1 avocado, cut into thin strips
2 carrots, peeled, cut in half vertically, then cut into 1/4 in. wide strips
baked tofu, cut into small strips (about 1 in. wide x 2 in. long)

Toasted sesame seeds

1. Cook rice, stir in the rice vinegar while it's still hot, and let it cool to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, cut up all the veggies and tofu.
3. Assemble rolls.

First, using tongs, toast the nori over a burner on the oven for about a minute. Make sure to get both sides.

Place seaweed rough side up, the longer edge facing you. Spread the rice over it. Sprinkle it with sesame seeds, the cover it with a section of plastic wrap. Press firmly to attach the plastic wrap to the rice. Flip the seaweed over.

Add the wasabi paste in a thin strip down the middle (very thin!!!). I usually just dab it here and there then spread it out with my finger. Add the rest of the prepped ingredients to the seaweed, horizontally and to the center.

Roll sushi very tightly and make sure you remove the plastic as you go. I'm not gonna like, roll it like you would a joint (if that helps, lol).

Wrap the finished roll in plastic wrap (I use the same piece) and place in the fridge. Chill until you're ready to eat it.

To cut the sushi, unwrap it then cut it with about 1/2 inch thickness. It helps to use a serrated knife that's dipped in vinegar or water between each slice. Serve chilled with wasabi and your choice of dipping sauces.

Mayo seems to be a popular dipping sauce, but it's not vegan. Here's a easy, peasy version of a mayo-based sauce that goes great with these California rolls:

1/2 c. vegan mayo
1/2 tsp. siracha (hot chili paste)
2-3 drops toasted sesame seed oil

To serve: mix all ingredients together. Chill until eating.

TA-DA! Sushi! And just so you know, this recipe makes a crap ton of sushi! You'll be eating on it for a minute!

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