Sushi is one of those dishes that’s as much fun to make as it is to eat, especially when you’re trying to master the art of the “inside out roll” with the rice on the outside of the filling. As it turns out, it’s not as difficult as you might think, especially if you have a good set of instructions and are prepared. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I found a great guide at the Food Network, which I use as the basis for the steps below.
Also, while brown rice would undoubtedly be healthier, it’s harder to get it the right stickiness as sushi rice, so I’ve used the latter in the recipe. (Also, a good quality rice makes a difference; I use Nishiki brand.) If you know of a good brand of brown sushi rice or a good technique to make brown rice sticky enough for this sort of challenge, let me know in the comments.
Prep time: 30 minutes (longer if you roast your yams, per prep options below)
Cook time: You don’t cook sushi, silly…
Makes: Approx. 5-6 rolls = 25 or so pieces
- 2 cups (uncooked) Sushi rice
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of sweetness (I used coconut nectar)
- Pinch of salt
- Nori sheets
- Sesame seeds (we used black!)
- Filling(s) of your choice. Kind of like pizza, what you put in your sushi rolls is only limited by your imagination. For this version, I used the following (in assorted combinations but the mango, yam, avocado combo is my favorite!):
- Yams (try to find a couple that are long and thin, rather than the big fat ones)
- Mushrooms (I used cremini)
- Green onion
- Mango (place a chunk on top of each piece for sweet sushi)
- Sprouts (alfalfa)
- Pickled ginger
- Braggs soy amminos, tamari or soy sauce
- Start the rice.
- Combine the vinegar, sweet, and salt.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare your other ingredients:
- Yams: A quick and easy way is to cut the yams sideways into long, thin, flat pieces, steam them in a shallow pan for a few minutes and, once cool, slice them into strips. For a bit more flavour (but taking more time), roast them whole and slice them later: Poke the yams all over with a fork, rub a bit of olive oil on them and salt and pepper, wrap in foil and roast until “al dente” (about 40m).
- Slice and saute mushrooms until just soft.
- Slice everything else into thin strips (but, especially the avocado, not so thin that you can’t manipulate them).
- When the rice is done, fold in the vinegar mix in stages until it’s a good sticky consistency and let sit for a few minutes.
- If everything else is ready (i.e., the yams), move on to making the rolls…
Making the Rolls
- Cover a bamboo sushi mat with plastic wrap and place a nori sheet rough-side up on the mat.
- Moisten your hands and scoop a handful of rice onto the nori. Press the rice to spread it evenly up to the edges of the nori, either with your fingers (moistening them as you go) or with a fork.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Flip the nori so it’s rice-side down on the mat, arranged with the short end facing you.
- Spread a bit of wasabi paste in a line about one-third of the way up the nori. (Use it sparingly unless you really need to clear your sinuses!)
- Arrange the fillings in a tight pile in the lower third of the sheet. Don’t worry if the vegetables extend over the edges of the nori. It’s art.
- Roll the sushi away from you with your hands (just the roll, not the mat, as you would do with inverted rolls), tucking in the vegetables as you go.
- Take the mat from under the roll, place it on top and press the roll into a compact rectangular log (another option is to wrap the mat around the roll and roll it in the mat a few times to tighten it up).
- Cut the sushi roll into 4 to 6 pieces. Use a thin, sharp knife (rinse the knife in hot water frequently as you go).
- Repeat until you run out of things.
- Serve with pickled ginger, Braggs, tamari or soy sauce and wasabi paste.