Monday, September 12, 2011

COOKING: Homemade Veggie Sushi

I adore veggie sushi and it's one of my top five most crave-able foods, so when I need a fix, I need a fix. I don't always feel like dropping a chunk of change for this somewhat pricey palate pleaser, so I usually whip up a few rolls at home. It's a lot easier than you might think and once you get the hang of it, you'll find yourself coming up with all kinds of creative fillings. Here's a quick rundown of how I make veggie sushi at home:
Ingredients
Short grain sushi rice (I used Sushi Chef brand)
Nori (I used Sushi Chef brand)
Seasoned Rice Vinegar
Fillings (I used an avocado, sweet potato and mango (not pictured)
Wasabi or wasabi paste made to package directions (optional)
Soy sauce (optional)
Pickled ginger (optional)
note: these ingredients are available in the Asian foods aisle at most regular grocery stores.

Supplies
Large cutting board
Sharp kitchen knife
Bamboo sushi rolling mat (I picked this up for around $2 at a kitchen supply store)
Plastic wrap

STEP 1: Prepare
Prepare sushi rice according to package directions. For 5 rolls (a whole package of nori sheets) I use about 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of water. When cooked, add 1 TBSP or so of seasoned rice vinegar into the rice and mix. Peel, chop and prep any veggies you are using for filling. I chopped the avocado and mango into about 1" pieces. I then chopped the sweet potato into about 1/2" pieces and fried it lightly in veggie oil for about 5 minutes, until soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
STEP 2: Assemble the Rolls

Lay one nori sheet (shiny side down - yes, both sides are shiny, but one is shinier) lengthwise on top of the bamboo rolling mat. I lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the mat before placing the nori because it makes for easier cleanup. Place the sushi rice on the nori sheet , covering it about 75% of the way with a thin coating of rice. Leave the rest of the sheet empty at the end furthest from you, as this part will be used to "seal" the roll when you're done. At the end closest to you, add your veggies in a line across your nori, right on top of the rice. If you have more than one veggie add it in another row above the first veggie.
STEP 3: Roll, Roll, Roll
You're ready to get rollin'! Pick up the end of the bamboo mat closest to you and curl it over with the nori, rice and fillings inside of it. Continue to roll the nori inside the mat, being careful not to actually get the mat incorporated into your sushi roll. The mat is more of a guide used to gradually roll the nori until only the empty portion of nori remains. Press this empty portion into the rest of the roll and it should stick to itself. I like to then place the mat over the top and sides of the roll and give it a gentle squeeze to sort of seal it all in. When you're done with all five rolls you should have something like this:
STEP 4: Slice 'Em Up
Are you still with me? Good! Now all you need to do is cut those rolls up. Place one roll on a cutting board and get your knife (super sharp is best) a little wet with a water soaked paper towel. This helps it cut into the nori more easily. Cut each roll into six even pieces. I usually cut it once in the center and cut each half into three pieces to make it a little easier. The smoother the cut the better, but sometimes a gentle sawing motion is needed. 
STEP 5: Embellish, Eat & Enjoy
Pile up those pieces on a plate and enjoy with soy sauce, wasabi (I made mine from Sushi Chef brand wasabi powder) and/or pickled ginger. Enjoy!


xoxo,
Michelle

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