Sunday, November 22, 2009

Caterpillar (green sushi)

I had to bring the girl in for some real food, because of all the sugar I caught her eating. A friend had given her a big helping of "pixie dust" without consulting me first. You know, the powdered and dyed sugar that comes from a large straw. UGH. It's amazing those things are even legal.
Amaya was really into helping make the sushi and eating the head of the caterpillar.

Since she was so happy to help, I tried to ignore all the rice I was stepping on and having to peel off my feet. I have a serious personality flaw in which I spend an entire day cleaning my kitchen area, and then I go and really really mess it up in about a quarter of the time. It wasn't just the sushi, it was the five other things I was making and not cleaning up after.

Sushi is easier to make than most people realize. After the rice is cooked, a couple of rolls really only takes about 5 minutes to prepare. It's up to you if you want to flavor the rice, although it's a bit easier to spread this way. All of the ingredients (vinegar, sushi mats, seaweed--) can be found in most any Asian market. If you live in a Japanese-friendly area (like Hawaii) all of this can be found at the regular supermarket.

I wanted a green theme for caterpillars, so I used pureed spinach and added that to the rice as well. You can't tell even a little, taste-wise. Spinach is so wonderful that way.
Really, these don't need to be totally green. Other additions for the middle could include: egg omelet, spam (fried up of course!), tuna salad, cream cheese, carrot, chopped ham... A lot can go in the middle of a sushi roll. I recommend something a little salty to balance out the rest of the roll. That was the major flaw with mine today, since I was trying to keep it totally green.

Sushi Tutorial:
2 C japanese short grain white or mix of white/brown rice. I use a special quick cooking short grain brown rice with the germ still attached (I can actually get this at Walmart in Hawaii.)
3 T rice vinegar
2 t sugar
1/8 t salt
3 T pureed spinach, water squeezed out
Strips of cucumber, avocado, lettuce, or any other filling you want in long matchstick-type strips. Probably an 1/8" wide.
furikake sprinkles (optional)
1. Cook the rice according to package directions or in your rice cooker.
2. Take 3 C cooked rice out of the pot and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle ice vinegar (other types of vinegar won't do here) and sugar over the rice, and start mixing the rice quickly with a large rice paddle. If you don't have this, a wooden spoon with a large base works. Sort of fold it on top of itself, not pressing it or stirring, but tossing. If you can have someone fan the rice as you do this it's better (according to my mother). Sometimes if I'm by myself I just stop occasionally and fan it as I work. Sprinkle salt and mix once more.
3. Taste the rice. Decide if you like a little more vinegar or sugar. Add and repeat mixing. If you feel like it's too strong, you can add a little more rice, too. People have different tastes. It won't be as strong as you think once you put it in the sushi, however, so don't make it too bland.
4. Here I added 3 T of pureed spinach. I squeezed the water out, then tossed it around in the rice. It looks like little flecks of furikake.
4. Lay out a sushi mat. If there is a flat side, put this side up. The rods should be running horizontally. Place a large piece of seaweed for sushi rolls with the rough side up, and the lines running vertically.
5. Spread about 1 C of sushi rice on the bottom part of the seaweed. Leave about 1 1/2" at the top uncovered by rice. Spread it with the paddle without squishing the rice. Try to make it even. It's easier if you start on the left and spread towards the right.
6. Place thin strips of filling about 1 1/2" up on the rice. Spread horizontally, and try to bunch it together as much as possible. Don't put too much filling or it will be hard to roll. Try less at first as you practice. Sprinkle with furikake as desired. I found a furikake that is made with 8 types of vegetables and Amaya loves it.
7. Roll the bottom up first and use the mat to press the sushi as you roll it up. With one hand press firmly around the circled roll, and the other hand starts pulling the mat out as you roll.
8. Once you get the whole thing rolled up, press firmly with both hands on the mat wrapping the sushi.

9. Take the mat away and cut into pieces. Use a thin serrated knife (the knife you might cut a tomato with) and in a light sawing motion cut the whole roll in half, each in half again, and again-- until you have 8 pieces. The ends always look a little funny. StumbleUpon


Karine said...

Your sushis look cute! Thanks for sharing :)

Ann (Healthy Tasty Chow) said...

That looks like fun! I have some pesto risotto leftovers- too sticky to be good as real risotto anymore - hmmmm, maybe I'll roll it up? :-)

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