Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sushi at Home

Early last month, Kevin and Anne-Marie Gianni showed us how to roll nori on their Wednesday food segment of The Renegade Health Show. I was intrigued. If you have any difficulty following the link, the instructions and video were distributed on July 9, 2008, Episode #92.

At first opportunity, I was off to the Asian market to purchase sheets of nori, along with a bamboo mat for rolling ease. The first attempt was pretty much a disaster! Getting the hang of rolling, stuffing in enough slivered veggies to fill out the roll, and assuring enough moisture to prevent the nori from having the taste and texture of roofing paper, is all part of the learning experience.

I long ago learned that success in the kitchen is achieved with practice, so rather than be discouraged when the first batch was almost inedible—I ate the filling, sans wrap— I set about making some changes with the second batch.
To maintain 100% raw, guacamole, or simply mashed avocado, hummus or baba ganouj, can be spread in a thin layer over the sheet of nori. This will add moisture as well as another layer of flavor and nutrients to the roll. It acts as glue to hold in the raw veggies and it adds a touch of moisture to the dry seaweed sheet.
In the case above, I spread the nori sheet with a thin layer of cooled Jasmine rice, using wet fingers to spread it out evenly and thinly. Doing so did remove the dish from the realm of 100% raw, but still kept it vegetarian.
Thin batons of raw veggies, I use whatever's on hand, make up the filling. Red pepper, cucumber, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, radishes, sprouts, a combination of any or all makes a wonderful nori roll. Left over pieces keep well in the fridge overnight and make a wonderful next-day lunch.
The batch pictured above is served with a dipping sauce of tamari, enhanced with a pinch of Coleman's dry mustard. Make the heat level to suit you! Wasabi is the flavor of choice here, but most commercially prepared wasabi pastes contain green food coloring.
Watch Anne-Marie make these rolls on the video and then give it a whirl. It's fun, quick, easy and a real taste treat. The kicker is, while it's a very healthy meal, it's also very inexpensive!

I had already made great strides in mastering summer rolls. Rolling raw veggies in rice paper wrappers, ready for dipping in a zingy peanut sauce. I use almond butter instead of peanut butter to improve on the nutritional aspect without losing a bit of flavor.

The rice wrappers above are filled with Asian cole slaw. Cabbage, carrots, vidalia onion, sprinkled with a bit of rice wine vinegar and rolled tightly. The dipping sauce is a lively mix of almond butter, aromatics and heat:

Almond dressing: two inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated; 1/2 cup almond butter (peanut butter can be substituted); 5 TBS mirin; 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar; 2 TBS tamari or soy sauce; salt to taste. Whisk all together in a medium bowl until smooth. Store unused portion covered in refrigerator.

Here are two fun, healthy finger food meals that add variety and interest to everyday meal planning.

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