Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cucumber, Carrot & Avocado Sushi

I love me some veggie sushi!  At work several days ago, it was one of my coworkers days to cook and she decided to make sushi.  It was so simple and seriously delicious.   Unfortunately, I think she underestimated how much we could eat, and only served us each four individual slices.  We ate them so slowly, enjoying each bite.  She served it a little differently than I have had before, with the wasabi mixed in with the tamari.  I usually serve the tamari and wasabi separately, but it was so delicious!

When I went home that night, I was so hungry for more sushi that I decided to make it for dinner too.  Unfortunately, when I opened my wasabi container in the pantry, I discovered that it was old and didn't possess any of the heat that is should.  I had everything else - the nori sheets, the pickled ginger and the rest of the ingredients, but not the wasabi, which to me is one of the most important parts!  Alas, I had to wait till the next day to make it because there are no places in my neighborhood in Brooklyn where I could buy that, and there was no way I was going to hop on the train and trek to a far away store for a small container of wasabi.  So, the next day I made the sushi and it was so delicious that I ate two whole rolls!   Yum!  This is something that would be great to make when you have friends over - you could make a party out of it!

Cucumber, Carrot & Avocado Sushi:

If I Had the Time, I Would Make & Eat This Every Day!

Makes 4-5 Rolls

Sushi Rolling Mat
5 Nori Sheets
1 Avocado, sliced thinly
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned
Tamari/shoyu to dip
Wasabi powder/paste
Pickled Ginger

Sushi Rice:
1 1/2 cups short grain rice
3 cups warm water

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons agave
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1.  To begin, make the sushi rice.  Place the dry rice in a strainer and rinse the rice until the water runs clear.  Place in a medium pot and cover with the 3 cups of water.  Cover the pot with a lid and bring ingredients to a simmer.  Cook for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.  Once is has finished cooking, turn the heat off and allow the rice to continue steaming for 5 minutes with the lid on. 
2.  Once the rice has steamed, remove the lid and get together the remaining ingredients for the rice: whisk together the agave, rice vinegar and salt in a small bowl and pour over top of the rice.  Mix the vinegar mixture into the rice until it is all incorporated.  Now, scoop the rice onto a clean, dry sheet pan and spread out evenly.  This will allow the rice to cool faster. 
3.  While the rice is cooling, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Prep all of the vegetables and place them on a large plate in separate piles.  Get three small ramekins or mini bowls and place a small amount of tamari/shoyu in one, a generous amount of pickled ginger in the second, and in the last, place the wasabi paste, or if you are using powder, mix with a desired amount of filtered water until a paste is formed.  You can bring these three components to your table - they are ready for serving. 
4.  Fill a small bowl with warm water - this is for dipping your hands and fingers while you are making the sushi.  By now, the rice should have cooled sufficiently.  Lay your sushi rolling mat on the counter in front of you.  Place once nori sheet on the mat, shiny side down.  Use a cup to measure 1 cup of the prepared rice.  Place the rice in the center of the nori sheet, and dip your hands and fingers in the bowl of warm water, shaking off the excess.  Press the rice all over the entire surface of the nori sheet, stopping about 1/2" from the very top.  The rice should evenly cover the surface.  Toward the bottom of the rice covered nori, place about 4 strips of each prepped veggie, starting with the flattest one.  This is the tricky part, but it really gets easier the more you do it.  Roll from the bottom to the top, using the mat to guide you.  Once you get past rolling the vegetables, it is easier.  Right before you get to the very top, where you have left about 1/2" free of rice, use your fingers, dipped in the water, to moisten the top.  Continue rolling the nori roll and press firmly onto the moistened portion - this will help seal the nori roll together.  Set the roll aside, seam side down and continue with the remaining rice, nori and vegetables. 
5.  Now it is time to cut the rolls into individual pieces.  Use your longest, sharpest knife here - it is very important that it is sharp.  Carefully slice the roll in half down the center - this makes it easier for portioning purposes.  Slice off each of the ragged ends - these pieces you should eat yourself - don't put them amongst the pretty pieces you serve.  Continue slicing the rolls.  Each roll should be sliced into 6 pretty circles, with the two jagged end pieces remaining. 
6.  Arrange the rolls prettily on a plate and serve with the three ramekins you prepared earlier.  I like to spread a super thin amount of wasabi on each piece, top with lots of ginger and dip in the tamari.  So delicious and if you're like me, you'll end up with your sinuses on fire and cleared for a good week, your belly nice and lightly happy.  And wanting to eat these every day of the week!  They are so much cheaper and healthier for you to make at home because you can really control the ingredients and make them the way you really like. 



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