December 22, 2009

Frugal Sushi Solstice Celebration


This year we started a new tradition. We celebrated the solstice with a big plate of sushi, crispy sesame crackers, and a hot pot of green tea. 45 pieces of mouth-watering, wasabi-laden, homemade sushi. Perfect for the frugal sushi lover.

Good friends introduced us to the intricacies of preparing this amazing Japanese burrito, and we haven't looked back since. Technically we are making makizushi, which is sushi rice and fillings wrapped in a sheet of nori (dried seaweed).

Because we are making frugal sushi, we do not buy special ingredients. Everything we need is already a basic part of our kitchen except for wasabi. We use ordinary vinegar instead of rice vinegar, short-grain brown rice instead of sushi rice, and ordinary mayonnaise.

Sushi is tasty, creative food art. It is as pleasing to the eye as to the stomach. What goes inside your sushi is only limited by your culinary imagination and what is in your fridge. The fillings we used this time were thinly cut strips of: red pepper, cucumber, green onion, tofu, avocado, imitation crab, and carrots.

We added one teaspoon sugar, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of vinegar to 5 cups of sticky rice to make a reasonable sushi rice.

The basic steps to making sushi are:
  1. Make rice ahead of time and allow to cool. You will need about 1 cup of cooked rice per roll.
  2. After rice has cooled add sugar, salt, and vinegar.
  3. Cut fresh ingredients.
  4. Lay nori on sushi mat (or use a cloth napkin).
  5. With wet fingers press thin layer of rice on nori, leaving 2 cm at the top.
  6. Place fillings across bottom of rice, like filling a burrito. Include mayo here.
  7. Use mat or cloth to begin rolling from bottom to top. Press tightly as you roll. Ends remain open.
  8. At the top use your finger to wet the nori and finish rolling to seal shut.
  9. Use a sharp knife to cut roll into individual pieces (6 - 8/roll)
Serve with soy sauce and wasabi on the side in a shallow bowl. Complement with sesame crackers and a pot of green tea.

Working with basic ingredients that you have on hand will result in amazing frugal sushi. Ingredients for a meal for four might cost you 10 dollars, probably less. Have fun creating your own sushi for your own discriminating palette. Share with friends. Celebrate.

Happy Solstice.

2 comments:

  1. Mountain KatieDecember 23, 2009

    I love sushi, and always feel I am eating a healthy, minimalist meal when I prepare and consume it with my family. My husband Dave gets a lot of joy out of seeing how much wasabi he can fit onto one end of his piece. I like the way you adapted your recipe to fit the "frugal" part of the equation. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Go Dave, Go! If you can't feel the wasabi burn in your nostrils you need to put more on. Minimalist meals are great. Tonight we had brown rice, cubed firm tofu, roasted sesame seeds, green onions and Bragg all tossed into a bowl.

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