Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mom's Sushi Rolls

What it's All About:

No, I am no kinds of oriental, but my Dad's trips out of the country, and my Mom's friendships with interesting people yielded an interesting childhood. I was encouraged to try things like grilled octopus and rotting Chinese cabbage.

This brings me to sushi. Way before Cali hooked onto the craze, my mom was rolling up sushi in our kitchen. And those that attended my high school World Cultures class circa 1988 may remember her sushi fondly.

By the time sushi it the grocery stores, it was old news to me. My mom had made it for at least a decade. Here is her recipe for this yummy gluten free food.

A note about my recipes: You may notice my recipes don’t include a ¼ teaspoon of anything. This method of recipe writing frees the reader to use their instincts, follow their gut, and find their inner chef. I mean, would anyone really notice a dash more salt in a vat of soup? Alright, go ahead and put it in, just taste it as you go OK?

Stuff to grab

  • Seaweed paper -   Here is the same stuff my mom used in 1982. Well, not the same exact stuff, that would be gross. Edozen - Seaweed Sushi Nori - (10 Full Sheets) - 0.88 Oz - for Sushi or Hand Roll
  • Sushi Rice - You'll need about a cup per roll. Sushi rice is much stickier than Jasmin or other types of white rice, which helps your roll to hold together. This is the same type of rice my mother used.
  • Bamboo Mat - This flexible, yet sturdy mat keeps the rice tightly packed into the roll. You can pick one up cheaply and it is worth it to get a sushi roll that won't fall apart. You can find this essential for less than 5 bucks. Helen's Asian Kitchen Bamboo Sushi Mat with Paddle
  • Sharp Knife - Non-serrated please
  • Tamanoi - Otherwise known as sushi rice mix powder, this goes a long way. One package flavors up to 16 cups of rice. Make sure you seal the leftovers as the powder is damaged by moisture.
  • Fillings -
Mild Version:
  • Sea Stick - 2 should do it. They are pre-cooked and you can find this in the deli or seafood section of your local grocery store. Because this is a processed food, be sure to ask them for an ingredient list.
  • Avocado - 1/2 should do
Hot Version:
  • Chinese Giant Pickled Radish - You can get these at an Asian market and Mom says there is no substitute for this spicy root veggie. It's flavored with ginger, garlic and other spices, as well as fish, fruit and sugar.
  • Wasabi Powder - Mix this with water to make a thick paste, about the thickness of icing. You can get this at many grocery stores in the specialty food section.
Cook the rice according to the package directions. Sprinkle the Tamanoi on top of the rice and stir in. Use this sparingly unless you really like vinegar.

Grab your bamboo mat and pull out a sheet of the seaweed paper and place it on the bamboo mat. Spread the rice on the paper about 1/2 inch thick leaving about a 1 inch space on one edge for sealing. cut your fillings in 1/2 inch thick sticks. Making sure that you place the fillings in the same direction as the bamboo sticks in the mat, place sticks of radish, sea stick and/or avocado about 1/3 of the way from the rolling end. Spread Wasabi sauce over the filling.

Roll the mat and paper around the filling, making sure to apply even pressure as you go. As the edge of the mat reaches the rice, roll back the mat and roll the paper into the rice. When you get to the edge, dampen slightly and seal. You should trim off any excess, but we just wrapped the extra around the roll. it was better than trying to figure out how to trim seaweed paper on the mat without cutting the mat. Now remove the mat and place your roll on a cutting board and carefully slice the roll with a sharp non-serrated knife. Have a serving plate ready to set them on.

 Notice there is no raw fish in this recipe. The Chinese dish Sashimi is raw and while you can put sashimi into a sushi roll, it is not necessary to enjoy this gluten free specialty food.

Now Let's go have some fun!

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