My introduction to Japanese cuisine is fairly new. I remember having a wasabi-based dish a few years ago and it was a very forgettable experience.
Fast forward to 2015, I went out for a Japanese dinner on my birthday and it was instant love. I started researching a bit more about sushi and figured they were a healthier alternative to other fast food options, if I felt like a takeout.
Sushi thus became a frequent healthy indulgence. Sometimes after gym, I’d pick up a baby box to replenish some carbs. As much as I enjoyed it, the fact that I was paying $3 for teeny tiny pieces of sushi did not settle well with me.
I saw an instant challenge here and wanted to take it on. I spoke to a Japanese friend in gym and asked her how to make sushi like the ones we get in the shops. She specified that they were called ‘Makizushi’ – it literally meant rolled sushi.
She went on to explain that this variant of sushi is rolled in seaweed sheets called nori and are typically stuffed with sushi rice, seafood and/or vegetables. She also specifically suggested that I used powdered sushi vinegar or seasoning that is available in a yellow packet instead of the rice vinegar. Honestly, that is a valuable piece of information because that sushi seasoning eliminates doubts about whether the rice is too watery because of the vinegar.
A few attempts and several pieces of makizushis wolfed down, I am happy to share the recipe with you. It involves a good amount of prep and the steps to follow are a bit lengthy but I promise you, your labour of love will be so worth it. Also, in no time, you’ll master the rolling and it will seem like child’s play. ☺ For making the process a little more descriptive, I have added step-by-step pics of the recipe process in the comments for your reference.
Healthy, easy on the eyes, easy on the tummy and a very cool way to get your veggie and carb fix, sushi rolls are such a versatile and family-friendly snack/meal.
Note: Sushi experts and puritans, this is an Indian girl’s humble effort at making sushi at home. Please be kind if you think I have erred. If you have constructive criticism, feel free to share it; I am happy to learn.
Things you’ll need:
Bamboo sushi rolling mat
A clean and dry chopping board or kitchen top
A big bowl of water to wet your hands
Nori sheets/ seaweed sheets – 3
Sushi rice – 1 cup
Sushi seasoning – ½ packet
Carrot – 2 medium-sized
Cucumber – 1 medium sized
Avocado – ½
Soy sauce – As required for serving
Sweet chilli sauce (optional) – As required for serving.
Prep for vegetables:
Peel cucumber and carrots.
Divide the carrot and cucumbers in two parts.
Cut one part into thin juliennes or thin enough that they look like matchsticks.
The other part cut them lengthwise into thick sticks.
Cut avocado in half. Make lengthwise thick cuts, scoop out the avocado from the skin carefully and set aside.
Prep for rice:
Clean sushi rice in cold water until the water runs clear.
For 1 cup of rice, add 1.5 cups of water.
I used a rice cooker and set it to sushi mode and it cooked the rice perfectly.
If you do not have a rice cooker, add cleaned rice in a pot, add the water and bring it to a boil till rice is cooked and the water is absorbed.
Once the rice is cooked, you will notice that it is sticky and that is a perfect indicator of perfectly cooked sushi rice.
Transfer the hot rice to a large plate.
Sprinkle the sushi seasoning. Just make sure that the mix is sprinkled generously to the rice.
Using a ladle or spoon, mix the seasoning and rice in slicing motion.
Be gentle as mixing it randomly may cause the rice to clump and also the seasoning may not spread evenly.
Once done, allow the rice to cool.
Prepping the nori sheet:
There is not much work here. All you have to do is set yourself up for sushi success. ☺
On a clean working surface or chopping board, place the bamboo mat.
Take a piece of nori sheet. You will notice that there is one smooth side and a rough side.
Place the smooth side down on the mat. The rough side is what we will use to add the ingredients on.
Before you start the sushi rolling process, keep the prepped ingredients within reaching distance.
Here we go…
Wet your fingers in the bowl, scoop out some seasoned rice and carefully pat them on the nori sheet, covering the surface of the sheet.
Pat and press the rice so there are no lumps and bumps.
Take vegetables of your choice; you could use one single vegetable for a whole roll or a mix of vegetables.
Arrange them one below the other, in the centre of the rice bed. (Refer to instructional picture).
Follow the same step as above for an assortment of veggies.
If you want to make thinner rolls, start by folding the nori and cutting it in half.
Follow the remaining steps; the only thing you may have to pay attention is the quantity of rice. The thin rolls require only half as much rice as the other.
Now comes the tricky part, the rolling…
Gently, lift the edge of the bamboo mat that is closest to you. Tuck the ingredients in with a little pressure so it sticks to the rice.
Continue rolling the sushi slowly applying slight pressure to make the roll tight so it doesn’t fall apart when you cut them.
Once you have reached the opposite end of the mat, roll it back and forth to seal it all in.
Ta da! Your sushi roll is ready!
Using a wet knife, slice the sushi rolls into bite size pieces.
Alternatively, you could cut the sushi in half.
You could either pack it an airtight container, and allow it to chill or serve it immediately with soy sauce.
I like a bit of sweet & spicy addition, so I have mine with a bit of sweet chilli along with soy sauce.
1. In addition to the suggested veggies, you could add eggs, lettuce, seaweed salad and wasabi paste.
2. Play around with individual and an assortment of flavours to see what you like.
3. You could make this ahead to pack for a party or for lunch. Stays fresh in the fridge for up 2 days. The avocado however needs to be consumed fresh.
4. I have used instant sushi seasoning; feel free to use the sushi rice vinegar instead if the powder version isn’t readily available.
5. I bought all the sushi-related ingredients from an Asian grocer.