Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sushi!

  I LOVE sushi.  Before I tried sushi, I was totally grossed out by the thought of it... like most people are about vegan food :P  But I tried it and it stuck.  NOW, I don't eat meat (fish IS meat, in case you didn't know), so I made vegan sushi tonight.

  I've always wanted to TRY making sushi, but I never liked to touch meat (hubby pretty much did all the cooking "before") so I just never took time to figure it out.  Well.  My office has a quarterly meeting and pot-luck lunch.  Since I am the only plant-based person in the office, whatever I take is pretty much what I have to eat.  Not that I'm complaining, I can turn out some pretty good stuff!  Our meeting is this Thursday and I decided I wanted something "fancy," so sushi it is!

  I've learned a few things in my quest to make sushi.  1.  Many recipes say you HAVE to use sushi rice.  That is a lie.  I used long grain brown rice.  I've seen recipes with quinoa.  Use what you have, it'll turn out fine.  2.  Rice is gluten free.  I have a lady in my office that is allergic to gluten, so I try to make whatever I take to these meetings gluten free, because she's pretty much in the same boat I am - you only eat what you take.  Also, Hubby has decided he wants us to have less gluten in our diet because it can effect the intensity of gout symptoms.  You chances of getting gout can be increased by genetics, and hubby's grandfather has it.  So, we're taking precautions.  3.  Sushi is NOT hard to make.  And on that note, let's dive in.

  I went to my local Asian market and picked up a bamboo sushi mat and some nori.  I don't know if I could have gotten the nori at another store, I didn't even look, so I can't give any other guidance as to where to find it.  A lot of the recipes I read for sushi said I needed to soak my mat for a bit to make the rice not stick to it, but I found one how-to video where the chef just put the mat in a plastic bag.  It worked in the video, and seemed easier than soaking and then cleaning... so I used the bag method.  If you do this, you don't need to seal the bag.  If you try that, you will not be able to roll your sushi correctly.  Trust me.  I tried it.....

  Next, the rice.  I made my brown rice per the package instructions, but used 1/4 cup less water.  I read one recipe that said to use 2 tbsp sushi vinegar or to make your own.  I've never seen sushi vinegar, so I made it:
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
Simmer until sugar is dissolved, take off heat, add to rice.
I didn't feel like dirtying a whole pot for 2 tbsp of vinegar, so I just microwaved it for 15 seconds and called it good.
  For the innards, you can use really whatever veggies you want.  I used cucumber, carrot, poblano pepper, and avocado.  I had planned on using mushroom too, but I forgot to buy some :(  I've heard asparagus is good, okra, squash...the possibilities are truly endless.  Someone even suggested just peanuts and avocado.  Whatever you want to use, go for it!  You want your veggies to be sliced pretty small, whatever veggies you choose.  I used a julienne peeler for the carrots.  I TRIED the julienne peeler on the cucumber.... just trust me when I say it's not the greatest idea.  You can just slice all your veggies thin if you don't have a julienne peeler.

  So, you place a sheet of nori on your bamboo mat and put rice on it.  If you're doing a traditional roll (rice INSIDE the roll), don't spread it all the way to the edges.  If you want an inside-out roll (rice on the OUTSIDE), spread the rice all the way to the edges and then flip the sheet over so that your rice is on the bamboo mat.  Also, before you flip, you can sprinkle some sesame seeds over the rice.  I did that and used black sesame seeds.  At this point, you put your veggies on the roll.  Use as much or as little of everything as you want.  don't use TOO much, because you still have to get the thing to close :P  You want to put your veggies nearly in the middle of the roll, but a little closer to you.  Not much, just a little.  Then roll it up.  You want to make sure you're rolling nice and tight, and with even pressure across the whole roll.  Otherwise, you will end up with a funky looking roll that has the veggies falling out in places.  This will make you sad, trust me.

  I read a few recipes that said to let the roll set for a bit before you cut it, and others that didn't.  I chose NOT to wait.  You want to be sure to have a VERY sharp knife.
  You will cut your ends off - this is not a huge part of the roll.  You can see the ends of my roll in the picture here - just a little off each side, right at the point where the roll is tight.  Then cut the roll in half.  Then cut the halves in half.  Then cut those in half.  This will give you 8 pieces of approximately the same size.  OR, just cut the roll into pieces of your desired thickness.
  If you wanted to top them with sauce, or ginger, or avocado, go right ahead.  I didn't because I had to squish my rolls into to-go bowls to take dinner to Hubby.  Whatever you do, make this delicious for YOU.  If you don't like avocado, then don't use it.  If you like cauliflour, then go right ahead and add it.  This is your dinner, so enjoy it!!