Sushi for 1
I’ve been trying to get the Omnivore to eat sushi for about 23 years now. I have to be honest: it has been a tough sell.
We walk into Japanese restaurants and as I gradually slow down as we pass the cases of fresh fish and sushi chefs creating their art, I start my spiel:
- Oh man, Omni, I used to love sushi so much back when I ate fish. It was so delicious!
- You know, hon, fish are a great source of Omega fatty acids. And those are healthy for your brain.
- My mom always said seaweed did wonders for her hair. I bet if you ate sushi you’d have nice hair, too.
- It doesn’t have to be raw fish; you can have raw crab eggs instead! OR go for the eel – it is cooked and fatty and delicious.
- Please, please, please, please just try it.
And his response is always the same: If this raw fish stuff is so good, then why don’t you eat it yourself?
Yeah. I’ve got no comeback for that. I do eat vegetarian sushi, of course. But not every sushi bar around here offers that option. And while on vacation, I came across a bamboo sushi mat and finally decided to make vegetarian sushi at home.
But it had to be sushi for 1. So, naturally, I made a few adaptations.
The first challenge was the rice.
I prefer brown rice to white rice. But if I want the sticky authentic sushi rice, then short grained sushi rice is a must, right? WRONG.
So, I was standing in the rice aisle of the grocery store, having picked up the bottle of rice wine vinegar (and KNOWING that I was only using a mere tablespoon or two of the stuff – ugh, expensive investment!), and the nori (seaweed sheets – and I had a similar reaction about purchasing this ingredient as with the rice wine vinegar) passing the box of sushi rice from my left hand to my right.
$6.73 for sushi for 1. Pass the box to the left hand. I’m going to use like 1/2 cup of this WHITE rice…Pass box to right hand…and make sushi how often? … Pass box to the left hand. Sneeze; use both hands to cover my face; drop the rice.
Pick up rice. Look at the waist level shelf and see my savior: Minute Brown Rice. Lightbulb! Minute rice sucks. It gets all glue-y and weird. Wait. Could it be perfect for me? Glue-y is similar to sticky. Sticky is used for sushi. Yes, YES, YES! And it can be made in the microwave in small portions. Voila! Sushi for 1. So the following recipe produces enough sushi for 1 meal.
1/2 cup brown minute rice
1/2 cup water
Place rice and water in a microwave safe bowl. Cook on high for 5 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar (I used 2/3 of this mixture for 2/3 of cooked rice)
3 T rice wine vinegar
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
Heat all ingredients for 20 seconds in the microwave; stir to dissolve.
Using a paddle or flat spoon spread out cooked rice in a non-reactive bowl. Fan the rice and separate the grains. Add dribbles of seasoned vinegar mixture, tasting along the way, to desired tartness. Continue folding and displacing rice grains.
This picture is deceiving. The rice is in a glass bowl, placing over the bamboo sushi rolling mat. I seasoned the rice by dipping the paddle into the vinegar solution and then working the paddle throughout the rice.
Once you have made your batch of sushi rice, you can begin sushi assembly. Tonight’s ingredients included garden fresh cucumber, roasted beets, and wasabi paste.
Place nori shiny side down on bamboo mat. Cover with 1/3 cup rice. I could only find temaki-roll nori, which is shorter in its width dimension than traditional maki-roll nori. Use whatever you can find and adjust from there.
Do not go crazy with the rice here. It is okay if it seems spotty on the nori and doesn’t reach all edges. In fact, leave the furthest 1/4″ or so of the nori void of rice.
Add your julienned veggies and wasabi sauce and begin your roll:
I rolled about 1/2 of the roll. Stopped and pressed the sushi into a cylinder beneath the mat, and continued to finish out the roll. For detailed pictures, see this site.
After completing your roll, slice into bite-sized portions using a very sharp knife. Wipe and wet the knife in between cuts for a clean look.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor and rejoice that the Omnivore doesn’t eat sushi afterall (no need to share).