Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sushi Time!

Finally had a decent me weekend. After all the travel and all the time spent with other people. Friday, I came home and I actually spent my evening alone, in the dark relaxing. I didn't think about anything or anyone, just had some time to shut down. I don't know if this is a normal thing to want or not, but for me, I like to have this time. I guess it is kind of like my form of meditation. Sometimes it just feels like I can't get my thoughts together. I stop listening to myself and I go from day to day just reacting to everything. I had an overwhelming urge to make life stop for a bit.. so that is exactly what I did on Friday and it felt awesome.

Saturday, I made my swim practice (a miracle on its own for me) and I got to hang out with my olds at their garage sale. Sometimes I feel like I fit in more with them than I do with my own friends. It might be that their favourite pastimes are complaining and sitting around doing nothing. These are my kind of people. Although I was planning to avoid my family this weekend, I did make it over to my sisters and hung out with the kids. She lured me over with kale chips and homemade hummus. It was worth it.

Today, I went to yoga for the first time and it definitely felt good to stretch everything out, but the room was kind of warm and it was really hard for me to concentrate on anything other than wondering why the temperature was so high. I think with the trend of warm and hot yoga, it is easier for the studios to keep the temperate higher than room temp so they can get it to the right temperature quickly for the hot classes. I remember before hot yoga was around here that I would be really cold before class started and then feel warm when I was done. Now, I am sweating before class starts...  Maybe it is just me being completely out of shape.... but I didn't like it either way. Might be time to do these things at home instead. After yoga, I went down to Clever Rabbit, with a plan of coffee and a snack. When i showed up, they had french toast. I have been trying to get this dish there for weeks and have been unsuccessful. I had to order it. I have failed a few times at making a vegan french toast and I had to see if theirs would do the trick. So amazing.. the only words I could describe it... They have figured it out and I think now that I have tasted theirs, I have figured it out. I am hopefully going to make a new attempt at vegan french toast this week. I am so excited about it. It was curing a 3 year craving.

As excited as I was to make french toast, this was not the night for it. I had already deemed this night sushi night. At the garage sale on Saturday, I came across a sushi set. The olds let me take it for free and I felt like I needed to try it out right away, otherwise it would end up in the grave yard of the many kitchen gadgets I have bought and never bothered to try over the years.

I cannot believe I have never made sushi before. I have been eating it for years and there are so many places out there with really good veggie sushi. I was always a little scared of making my own sushi. It seems so simple, but if it was, sushi chefs wouldn't require years of training to be a professional roller, would they?

So I did lots of research (i.e. I googled it..) and now here is the story of my first attempt at sushi.

First thing that seems to be so important is the sushi rice. Everything I read said to use specifically sushi rice. This is what I bought, but it looked to me just like a short grain rice. I know that to make proper sushi, it needs to be sticky and you need a short grain for this.

Every blog and website I went on had a different way to cook the rice. Some said you want to boil it for 7 minutes so that you burn the bottom of your pan. Others said to just cook it like any other white rice, others said only cook for 10 minutes. One site said don't add the rice until the water is boiling... Honestly it was really confusing. I decided to cook it like I always cook rice. Boil the water, 15 minute simmer and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

Sushi rice

  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Rinse the sushi really well in a sieve. You want to rinse until the water is almost clear. Once you get to that, drain the rice well and a put it in a large pot. Add the water and cover it. Have one burner on high and place the pot on it and bring the rice to a boil. While you are waiting for that to happen, put a second burner on simmer (low). When the rice comes to a full boil, move it to the other burner and cook for about 15 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it sit another 5-10 minutes.

Rinsing the rice. Very important. 

Final step, add the vinegar mixture.

Now while you are waiting again, combine the remaining ingredients into a bowl. Microwave for 35-45 seconds or until the sugar is dissolved. Move the rice to a bowl (a wooden rice bowl is recommended online, but I don't have this. I just used a plastic bowl) Add the vinegar and fold it into the rice. Now let it cool to room temperature.

For the filling, use whatever you want really. Here is what I used:

Sushi I - Carrot, Cucumber on Aioli
  • Carrots, julienned thin
  • cucumber, julienned thin
  • leftover aioli (vegan mayo would be good too)
Sushi II - Umeboshi-Apple
  • Apple, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 1 Tbsp Umeboshi plum vinegar
  • 1 handful walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet pea shoots
  • Toasted sesame seeds

For both sushi's (maki actually), chop up the vegetables. You want them to be sort of a matchstick size. If you have mandolin, I think this would be a nice time to break it out if it has the blade for it. I don't so I have to chop by hand. For the apple, you can skin if you want, but you don't have to. I didn't... I'd say it was to get all the healthy stuff from eating the skin, but let's be honest, it was pure laziness!

Step 1 - Add rice on top of the nori

To roll the sushi, you want to get your sushi mat and cover it with plastic wrap (Not totally necessary for maki with the nori on the outside, but if you want the rice on the outside, this is a must! Cover the nori with about a cup or so of rice from the edge to about 2/3 of the way down. Put the fillings in the centre of the nori (not centre of where the rice is).

Get the toppings on it, in the centre of the nori sheet

Now the tricky part, take the sushi mat and lift it up with the nori and rice on it. Make sure that the rice sticks or else you will need to make your rice more sticky! Fold it over to where the filling in and roll it so that there is just a little nori now left.
Prepare to roll!

Lift the bamboo roller

Roll over top of the filling

Squeeze it so it sticks together

Get some grains of rice and place them on the end of the nori, it makes a glue to keep it together. if this doesn't work, you can dab the nori with a damp paper towel after you roll it. The moisture will make it stick.

Now for the second sushi roll, I attempted a reverse roll, which means the rice is on the outside and the nori is in the middle. First thing which is very important, line the sushi roller in plastic wrap. This will stop the rice from sticking to it. Now, put down the nori just like you did in the first one and cover about 2/3 of it in rice. Top the rice with toasted sesame seeds. Now take the nori and flip it over so that the rice is now face down.
Something about the seeds helps this roll stay together. I don't know
why, but seems important!

Get the fillings and start with the umeboshi plum paste and spread it down the middle of the nori. now add the sliced apples and finally the sweet pea shoots. I trimmed them so it was mostly the leaves and less of the stem.
Rice is underneath

Now just roll it the same way as the first one. Make sure to put some strength into it so the rice sticks really well.
Easy, rolled without any trouble!

So, now you have a bunch of rolls. Cutting should be easy, but you need to make sure of two things. First, get a really sharp knife. If you have a sharpener, use it before cutting. Second get a damp paper towel and before cutting, wipe the knife with it. This will help get through the nori. Try to cut straight down so the roll stays together.
Tada! Not bad for the first attempt! Looks very pretty!

That's it! Have a side of shoyu, wasabi and candied ginger. They are good just on their own too.

I can't believe how well this worked. These pictures are of my first time making sushi. I am definitely going to make this again. Sure, they aren't perfect, but they taste good and they stick together. Practice I am sure makes perfect, so keep trying if they didn't come out right the first time. Experiment with fillings too. My original plan for the first sushi was to use potatoes. It was Tony's suggestion. I unfortunately forgot to make potatoes, but I think next time, that would be kind of cool to try. I also want to try it with some tofu or tempeh..

This would be a great thing to make with a friend or date. Especially when taking pictures... trust me it is not easy to take pictures of rolling sushi on your own!


  1. the rolls look amazing! how did you think of the filling combos?

  2. The first one was from Tony, I asked him about his favourite vegetables. It was actually supposed to have potato in it too, but I got lazy. The aioli I made earlier and just had it left over.

    The second one was adapted sort of out of the Kind Diet.. there is a recipe in there for a leftover nori cone thing. I could never get it to work, but it had apple and umeboshi.

    Seriously this was a lot easier than I thought it would be