In need of last-minute Valentine’s Day surprise that’ll knock the socks off of your prospective sweetheart? Sushi is a great way to make a fast, relatively inexpensive, and altogether romantic dinner for two. Making your own sushi rolls together can be an adventure in and of itself, and allows for plenty of opportunities to get closer to your beau (think Patrick Swayze in Ghost). In the end, you’ll have a unique assortment of sushi rolls of your own creation to share and enjoy. Saint Valentine would be proud!
What You’ll Need
– 4 c. cooked sushi rice
– 1/3 c. seasoned rice vinegar
– 1 package nori (dried seaweed) sheets
– Bamboo sushi rolling mat (optional)
– Any combination of fillings:
Sliced avocado, pickled daikon radish, marinated mushrooms, marinated or smoked tofu, julienned cucumber, julienned carrot, yam tempura, soy bean curd (“tofu chicken”), mango, or any other veggies or meat substitutes of your choice
Garnish with wasabi paste, pickled ginger, roasted sesame seeds, tamari, teriyaki sauce, vegan mayonnaise, etc.
Cook your sushi rice according to the instructions on the package, and season with rice vinegar (about 1/3 c. for 4 c. cooked rice). If you don’t have seasoned rice vinegar, you can season regular rice vinegar by adding 3 T. sugar and 1 t. salt to 1/3 c. vinegar.
Working on a clean surface or bamboo rolling mat, lay out a sheet of nori and add 1/3 to 1/2 c. cooked rice. With wet hands or a spatula, spread the rice into a thin layer covering almost the entire sheet of nori (leave about a one-inch strip uncovered at one end of the seaweed sheet – this will be the outer edge of your sushi roll, which you use to seal the roll tightly shut).
On the end of the sheet opposite the one-inch strip of uncovered nori, spread a layer of toppings in a thin strip about 1/2-inch from the edge of the sheet. If you’re wondering about amounts, use your discretion but keep in mind: one thin strip each of julienned cucumber, tofu, avocado and carrot (for example) will form a good-sized center filling that will still roll into a compact sushi roll.
Begin rolling your sushi by lifting up the edge of the nori closest to the filling. Roll the edge of the nori over your layer of fillings and continue to roll, pressing firmly and evenly over the entire width of the nori to ensure a consistent form. You will want to form a small log-shape, about 1 1/2-inch in diameter. This might take a bit of practice, but don’t worry – even if your sushi looks a little off, it will still taste just as good!
When you have reached the outer edge of the nori sheet (the uncovered strip), wet a finger and thoroughly moisten the uncovered edge, then continue rolling until you have a complete sushi roll. (Wetting the nori serves to create an adhesive to bind the roll together.) Repeat the entire process, making variations on your filling ingredients (if desired) until you have used up your rice, nori and ingredients. (Hint: Leftover ingredients can be combined into tasty sushi salads!)
With a wet knife, slice your sushi rolls into 8 equal parts and arrange on serving plates. Top with roasted sesame seeds, and serve with suggested garnishes.