sushi kudasai

15 Mar

With Japan in our hearts & on our minds…

Japanese restaurant food is pretty much untouchable for the gluten-free because of the prevalence of conventional soy sauce… so as per usual, of course we have to figure out how to make it on our own. Luckily we live in Seattle so there are millions of cool gadgets at fun stores like Uwajimaya & Daiso Japan. The main gadget you need is a little bamboo sushi mat. But for fun you might want to try the little onigiri presses. They are little plastic forms that you press your sticky rice into to make cute shapes like the bear above. Then if you are feeling really inspired you can get these crazy little paper punchers to make faces out of nori (I hand cut the one above using scissors).

Basically the recipe for sticky rice is your main component. Everything else you can sort of wing it on. Note: sometimes the rice is called glutinous rice but I promise it’s still gluten free. It just means it’s sticky. Also- be careful when selecting your nori (seaweed sheets) because many of them are seasoned with soy sauce (the wheat kind).

Sticky Rice:

Make white sushi rice in a rice cooker, one cup dry should be about 3 cups cooked.

When the rice is almost done heat over medium heat in a small saucepan: ½ cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt until the mixture dissolves.

Using a wooden spoon or rice paddle gently scoop the cooked rice from the cooker to a large pyrex glass pan making sure to not crush the rice kernels. Spread it thin and pour most of the vinegar mixture onto the rice (reserving some for later). Gently mix the rice with the vinegar and then use a small plate (or a paper fan if you have one) to fan the rice to make it cool quickly.

Once it’s cool you can start making rolls. Place a nori sheet on the bamboo mat. Spread a thin layer of rice (about ¼”) leaving some nori uncovered  on the top & bottom edge. Put in your fillings (be careful, it will fill up quickly and be like a bulging burrito before you know it). Roll it up, if the nori doesn’s stick to itself you can dip your finger in some of the reserved vinegar mixture and run it along the edge like an envelope glue. Put your rolls in the fridge while you continue to make the rest of them. They will be easier to cut if they are cold & firm. You can use the vinegar mixture on a paper towel to wipe your knife in between cuts if it gets messy or sticky.

Here are some ideas for fillings, probably any combo of these will taste good:

canned tuna mixed with 1T mayo & 1t chili paste makes great spicy tuna rolls

cucumber, avocado, cream cheese & firm tofu cut into rods

carrots cut into skinny slivers

sprouts, lettuce, etc., you can leave these things poking out of the ends of the rolls for a pretty effect

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