How to make veggie sushi
The first time I tasted veggie sushi, I knew I’d found a new favorite! And my son has been begging me for weeks to make some. So, today was the day to surprise him.
But it seemed to me that it is very complicated and also, Where would one find a bamboo rolling mat, after all? Not at my local grocery store, that’s for sure! They do sell sticky rice, though, and the seaweed sheets called nori and even the special seasoned rice vinegar that gives sushi its distinctive flavor, so I decided to go for it. And if my homemade sushi looked weird and tasted worse, hey, I’d have had fun experimenting, anyway.
I am here to tell you that making sushi (especially veggie sushi) is not difficult at all
So. First you need to buy some sushi sticky rice. I think it can also be called sweet rice. Then cook it according to package directions. But apparently you don’t be too intimidated about the rice. Just don’t try to do this with that nasty quick cooking “rice” that crowds typical supermarket shelves. Use real rice. The kind rice-eating peoples around the world use. That said, the sticky rice was really, really sticky and I think using it made making these much easier.
While the rice is cooking is a good time to prepare the long, thin strips of sushi fillings. I used cucumber (the part without the seeds), avocado (obviously these can’t be “long” strips), carrot (use a vegetable peeler) and cucumber, thin long strips.
So, here’s my shopping list:
seasoned rice vinegar
nori–sheets of dried seaweed
the vegetables: a carrot, an avocado, a cucumber
Okay, that doesn’t look so scary, after all. Hey, if I can do this, so can you!
Once the rice was cooked, I emptied it out into a large metal bowl, measured and stirred in the appropriate amount of seasoned rice vinegar (the bottle label tells how much to use). I stirred and spread it out at intervals while the rice cooled enough that it wouldn’t cook my fillings. Be warned, though, that the cooler the rice got, the gloppier and harder to spread it got.
Now comes the part where I make sushi without a special bamboo rolling mat. It was surprisingly easy! I came as close as I could, though, to including the traditional bamboo in the prep–I rolled them over a bamboo cutting board. Hee, hee. But a piece of plastic wrap worked perfectly fine…and I’m not 100% sure even that was necessary.
So, we begin. First lay down a piece of plastic wrap. On top of that goes a sheet of the dry seaweed–rough side up to make it easier for the rice to stick to it (I think). On top of the seaweed, use wet hands to spread out a very thin layer of rice up to about an inch or so from the farthest-away edge. It doesn’t go far enough in this picture because it was my last sushi roll and I ran out of rice!
Now that the rice is spread on the nori, it’s time to lay the strips of fillings across the rice. I piled the fillings in a bit from the very edge of the rice. You can use any combination of fillings that you like.
Now comes what (next to choosing the rice) is probably the most intimidating part of making sushi–actually rolling this flat rice and mound of stuff.
Hint #1 is to squish the bottom pieces right into the rice. Then, starting at the bottom and using that handy piece of plastic wrap as needed to help, just roll it all up. Hint #2 is to be sure to press firmly as you roll.
You want your nice sushi roll to stay rolled, so dip a couple fingers into that handy bowl of water and moisten the seaweed along the far edge. Then continue rolling and press the seaweed together. Press the rice and fillings in at the ends, too. Set the roll aside (with the stuck together edge down) for a bit while you assemble the rest of your sushi rolls.
Using a clean, sharp, serrated knife, cut the extra fillings off the ends of your rolls. Then, regularly cleaning the sticky rice off the knife, cut your rolls into approximately 1 inch thick slices. You’ll have to clean the knife a lot–that stuff is really sticky! I made some slices thicker and some thinner and we decided that we like thinner sushi better than thicker. It’s up to you.
For a diversion, flip the nori with the rice on the bottom and fill the veggies . It will have the rice on the outside and it’s just prettier and looks like a variety on the plate, while you have only just 1 type of filling.
Arrange your beautiful sushi on a plate
with a small dish of soy sauce (and wasabi, in my case). Some saki would go really nice with it.