Monday, November 17, 2008

Rainbow Soy Sushi Rolls--Or, Another Reason to Shop at Your Local Asian Market

My book club is meeting tonight and the book under discussion is Kiana Davenport's House of Many Gods. The book takes place primarily in Hawaii and so that's our dinner theme as well. My assignment is appetizers, so I thought I'd put a bit of a Hawaiian slant on sushi rolls. That took me to Marukai, a relatively new market in San Diego's Kearny Mesa neighborhood. I'm not a huge fan of the store, but they do have a section with Hawaiian food so I thought I could find some interesting things to include in the sushi rolls.

Making the rolls is relatively easy. You need short grain rice (I cooked up three cups with four cups of water). You need wrappers. Traditionally, these are nori, thin, dried seaweed sheets. But my friend Mineko Moreno (who is a superb instructor in the art of sushi making) introduced me to this new product, colorful soy wrappers. The large package comes five sheets to a pack. As you can see, they also make beautiful hand rolls, but I need appetizers for eight, so I'm going with the traditional long roll.

I picked up these, as well as some staples:

Kanikaba, or imitation crab


Flying Fish Roe

as well as Aokappa, or pickled cucumber

and, in the Hawaiian food section, I found a bag of shredded ginger.

You'll also need seasoned rice vinegar, which you add to the cooked rice to give it some flavor.

And, you'll need a sushi mat, which you'll want to cover with plastic wrap to keep the roll from sticking.

Now, you're pretty well set. Of course, you could also add slices of avocado, which I did, wasabi (the lovely hot green paste served with pickled ginger at your local sushi bar), which I also did, and fresh sliced cucumber (which I bought and promptly forgot to use), sprouts -- basically use whatever you like. I added some Chamoy sauce, a sweet/hot sauce found in Hispanic markets that's made of apricot.

Get yourself organized with all your ingredients and then be creative. The wrappers go shiny side down on the mat, then you moisten your fingertips and press the seasoned rice uniformly on the mat, leaving about an inch empty along the top. In the middle of the rice, line up your filling.

Then, you'll lift the bottom of the mat and carefully begin to fold over and roll your filled wrapper, pressing down when you've got it in a roll to seal the deal.

Carefully move the roll and place it on the counter or a large plate, sealed side down and let it rest about 10 minutes. Refrigerate the rolls until you're ready to use them (hopefully soon). When you're ready to serve, let them come to room temperature and cut them in half and then repeatedly in half until you have eight pieces.

These are only cut in half to give you an idea of what the center looks like. I'll cut them up when I get to my friend Anne's house. (Tip: Run the knife blade through water for each cut to keep the rice from sticking to it.) And, I'll serve them with a citrus ponzu sauce, a Japanese dipping sauce made with soy, yuzu juice and dashi.

See? Easy. And, a fun departure from boring cheese and crackers.

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  1. Ooooh, they look great!

  2. I love every single ingredient mentioned in your blog. Pickled cucumber and shredded ginger are something I have not thought of using when making sushi roll, but I like the idea. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. My pleasure. They're fun and easy to make. Thanks for writing!

  4. These look sooooo tasty. The step-by-step is great for me since I've only made them once, and it's been a while. We took a class at Great News! Lots of fun there.

  5. That's where I learned from, Kelly. Isn't Mineko wonderful? She's become a friend of mine and I feel very fortunate.