Homemade sushi is something I’ve been wanting to master for a long time now. I finally took the time this weekend to give it a try, and boy, am I excited – this has opened so many possibilities. Once you purchase a bamboo sushi mat, and learn a few basics, sushi does not seem so intimidating anymore. Of course, any sushi expert will easily see that I’m just a novice, and that my sushi is far from being perfect. But it tastes great!
I wanted to make sushi that my kids would be able to enjoy, so I decided on simple vegetarian maki sushi with avocado, cucumber and carrots. It’s very tasty, and I love the way the avocado adds creaminess and lots of flavor while the cucumber and carrot add crunch.
To make brown rice sushi, I simply add 2 tablespoons of water to whatever amount of water the package directions call for, then cook the rice 5 extra minutes on very low heat. This produces rice that is sticky enough to use as sushi rice, but still pleasant and somewhat fluffy.
- 1 cup dry brown rice (I used long-grain since that's what I had)
- 2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons water (or 2 tablespoons more water than package directions)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ large carrot, peeled and sliced very thinly into sticks
- ½ large cucumber, unpeeled, thinly sliced into sticks
- ½ large avocado (about 3 oz), ripe but not mushy, sliced into strips
- ½ lemon
- 4 sheets of sushi nori (find it in the international or Asian foods section of your supermarket)
- 4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- Place the rice and water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 50-55 minutes (or 5 minutes more than package directions). Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds.
- Transfer the cooked rice into a large mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold gently but thoroughly to completely coat the rice. Divide into four small bowls and cool to room temperature.
- While rice is cooling, prep your tools and ingredients. Slice the veggies, squirting a little lemon juice on the avocado to keep it from browning; cover your sushi mat with plastic wrap to prevent rice from getting stuck inside; and sharpen your knife.
- When rice has cooled, place a sheet of nori on top of the bamboo mat. Wet your hands, then scoop up a quarter of the rice (a heaping ½ cup) with your hands. Gently form the rice into a log. Place the log at one edge of the nori and begin spreading it, leaving a ¼-inch border at the farthest edge. Arrange the filling near the top, as shown in the photos below.
- Roll the bamboo mat up and away from you and over the filling, using your thumbs to roll and your fingers to hold the filling in place. After you roll once, gently press down on the roll, then continue rolling, sealing the roll with the ¼-inch flap of nori. Gently press on the top and sides to compress. Here’s a good video on how to make a sushi roll.
- Transfer the roll, seam side down, to a cutting board. Using a wet, sharp knife, cut the roll in half, using a slicing back-and-forth motion (to avoid compressing it and ruining its shape), then continue slicing each half to form 6-8 pieces.
- Repeat steps 4-6 three more times, to make three more maki rolls. Serve with soy sauce for dipping.