Think protein, wonderful essential fatty acids, minerals such as iodine, potassium, iron and magnesium and not a dollop of artery-clogging hydrogenated fat in sight… and what’s on your plate? Sushi.
It is simple to make, once you have gathered your choice of fresh, quality ingredients. Traditional sushi uses a lot of raw fish, but if you don’t fancy that there are plenty of alternatives. The vegetarian option combines the traditional vinegar flavoured rice with steamed vegetables and rolled in the same paper-thin seaweed. Another alternative to fish is tofu (fermented soya bean curd and, like fish, a good source of protein).
Hosomaki – slender sushi rolls
Sushi rice is used as a basis for most dishes, rather like bread being the staple carbohydrate within which you can use an endless variety of fillings. The sticky rice, seaweed sheets, wasabi (Japanese horseradish), rice vinegar and umeboshi plum paste are available from supermarkets, Asian food markets or health food shops.
100g sushi or pudding rice mixed half and half with longrain rice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon umeboshi plum paste
6 nori (seaweed) sheets
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)
Shoyu and pickled ginger (optional)
Your choice of filling – thin slices of salmon, tuna, smoked tofu; strips of raw red peppers, spring onion, cucumber, avocado. Batons of cooked egg omelette or peppers roasted in the oven with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.
Simmer the rice in water for about 15 minutes. Take off the heat and leave aside for another 20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Mix the rice vinegar and umeboshi plum paste and stir into the cooked rice. Place a thin nori sheet, shiny side down on greaseproof paper or a bamboo roller if you have one.
Wet your hand in vinegared water and take a large handful of sushi rice and spread it over the seaweed sheet to all corners but leaving about an inch of uncovered nori at the top edge to seal the roll. Spread a little wasabi over the rice and then lay the other ingredients along the rice ‘mat’. Using the bamboo or greaseproof mat, gently but firmly roll the seaweed and filling into a thin cylinder.
Seal the edge with the uncovered seaweed and hold firmly for 30 seconds. Using a sharp knife dipped in vinegar, slice the roll – as though cutting up a mini swiss roll cake. Slices of avocado, red pepper, salmon or egg omelette and spring onions make a colourful centre against the white sticky rice. Serve with Shoyu (soy sauce) and pickled ginger.