At our house, we have a saying..."Don't yuk my yum!". We are trying to raise kids that aren't picky eaters by exposing them to many different kinds of food. It wasn't that long ago that one of my kids asked "Why can't you cook food like everyone else? Like tater tot hotdish?" The reason? It's not very healthy or creative and I think it's kind of gross. I don't cook like that. I like to use fresh, healthy ingredients to make great tasting good for you dishes. I've created this blog to share my favorite recipes with you.

Follow my kitchen adventures from using up vegetables from our weekly CSA box to baking and creative cooking.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Make Your Own Sushi

Last week we took a quick trip up to Winnipeg to show the kids what another country is like.  Their observations?  The roads were bad, and there were a lot of sushi restaurants.  Living in rural Minnesota, sushi restaurants are few and far between, so in order to get my fix, I have to make it.  Last fall, my mom and I got a lesson from a friend (thanks Brandi!).  That day we made Spicy Tuna Rolls and California Rolls.  While I thought both were delicious and will definitely make Spicy Tuna Rolls again, the California Rolls are much more palatable for people who are iffy about eating raw fish. 

For New Years Eve with the family, I made some California Rolls, which were enjoyed by adults and children alike at our little gathering.  Phil finished off the leftovers tonight and promptly asked when I'm making it again.  Honestly, it's going to be awhile.  To make it worthwhile, you need to make a lot and while it's not difficult to make, it takes a lot of time.

Usually if you look up directions for how to make sushi it will tell you you need some sort of mat and a few other ingredients.  Don't worry about those, you don't really need them, just pick up the groceries and use your hands for the rest. 

Ingredients needed:
Nori (I buy the roasted seaweed flavor)
sushi rice (2-4 c. per pack of nori)
soy sauce

For the Spicy Tuna Rolls:
1 lb. sushi grade tuna
a cucumber or shredded carrots for crunch
a few Tbsp. Mayonnaise
Sriracha sauce, to taste

For the California Rolls:
10 Fake crab sticks
2 avocados
1 cucumber
shredded carrots

To get many of the ingredients, you probably need to go to an Asian grocery store.  I went to the big one on Main St. in Fargo.  I have to admit, it was a little intimidating, I'm not used to being in the minority.  The store was busy and I was the only Minnesota native in the building.  I enjoyed browsing the unfamiliar ingredients and stocking up on some new items to try.  I hear there is a good Asian grocery in Grand Forks as well.

California Rolls ingredients.  Nori (seaweed wrappers), sushi rice, avocado, cucumber, fake crab sticks, rice vinegar, wasabi and soy sauce (not pictured).

For the Spicy Tuna Rolls, you will need the above Nori, rice and rice vinegar, plus raw sushi grade tuna, mayo (not Miracle Whip) and Sriracha sauce (not pictured).

To start with, you need to cook the rice.  A rice cooker would come in handy, but I don't have one, so I used the stove.  For 10 nori wrappers, you need 2 c. of raw rice to put the rice on one side of the wrapper and 4 c. of raw rice to put the rice on both sides of the wrapper.  To cook the rice on the stove, for each cup of rice, you need 2 c. water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until water is evaporated.  Immediately spread rice on cookie sheet to cool.  When cool, sprinkle with a few Tablespoons of rice vinegar and mix well. 

Rice on cookie sheet.  Cool then sprinkle with rice vinegar. 
Prepare the other ingredients while the rice is cooking.  For the vegetables, aim for long and skinny.  I use cucumbers, avocados and sometimes shredded carrots.  For the crab meat, I usually just cut the sticks in half lengthwise.  With the tuna, you need to cut it into a very fine dice, as shown below.  As you cut it, remove the thin membranes as we can't chew them very well.  Mix the tuna with a little bit of mayo and as much Sriracha sauce as you want.  Be careful, it's spicy!

While the rice is still warm, but not hot, start making your rolls.  Lay a nori sheet shiny side down on the counter (make sure the counter is clean!).  Using a wooden spoon or a plastic spatula, spread rice on one or both sides of the nori.  I have never tried to do both sides, so that part could be tricky.  You would do both sides to get a true inside out roll like in the restaurants.  Leave a little strip of green at one end, as shown below on the bottom left. 

Spread/place the ingredients just below the bare strip.  The one below (top right) has only tuna, but you would do the same with other ingredients.  For the California Rolls, lay down 1 1/2 crab sticks, a few strips of cucumber and avocado.  

Roll the nori around the ingredients, tucking in the bare strip under the ingredients.  Roll all the way into a tube.   

The 10 across is what one package of nori would make.
 Cut each roll into bite sized pieces (about 8) and serve with soy sauce and wasabi, if desired.

This plate has the spicy tuna and the California rolls.  The California rolls have cucumber, avocado and shredded carrots. 
Obviously, if you don't eat these right away, they need to be stored in the refrigerator.  They do keep for a few days, so if they don't all get eaten, they are good leftover. 

On a side note, you could put pretty much anything in a roll, so go with the flow.  Think chicken with some veggies sounds good?  Do it.  How about just some veggies?  Do it.  Make sure you cook everything you are unsure of though, I don't want you to get sick because you read it on my blog!

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