Monday, August 11, 2014

Brown Rice California Rolls

 Sushi love

I have already said in a previous post how Asian food is one of my favorites. So of course sushi fits the bill. Everything about sushi is such an art, the presentation, colors, textures, and flavors. I love sushi made with white rice, but I wanted to bump up the nutritional value a little bit in these rolls, by making them with brown rice. These were such a treat tonight, on this perfect warm August evening. I tried to use as many locally grown ingredients as possible, but many of the ingredients just aren't stuff you find growing in Maine. I planted the cucumbers myself, the Thai Basil is from my garden as well, and the carrots from the Wednesday Portland Farmer's Market at Monument Square. If you are cooking for young children, Zsuleikah, my picky daughter, loved these rolls!  

I made three different rolls, and am not going to give explicit directions for each, but will list all ingredients.  The first was a veggie California Roll, with cucumber, carrot and avocado. The second was made with canned tuna. I mixed it with about a tablespoon and a half of mayonnaise and the juice from one lemon. I then cut a nice crunchy celery stalk into thin sticks. The last ingredient was thin lemon slices.  The third roll was a Shitake Mushroom roll, same as the California roll, but with shitake mushrooms, sliced and sautéed with a little bit of garlic and EVOO. There are so many different rolls you can experiment with and try with sushi.  Use meat or seafood, sweet potato or asparagus. You can even try to make a sweet roll with coconut, mango or other fruit.  So get creative and have some fun!


Ingredients--makes 6 rolls

  • 1 cup of short grain sweet brown rice  (you should cook the rice 2 hours before preparing the rolls, so that the rice is cool)
  • 2 cups of water for cooking the rice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tblsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 large carrot, washed peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large cucumber, washed, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced thin
  • toasted seaweed Nori sushi paper
  • Pickled ginger
  • wasabi powder (This can also be bought in a tube, premixed. If you use the powdered kind, just follow directions on the can)
  • Soy sauce for dipping



Alternate ingredients for other rolls

  • 4  shitake mushrooms,washed, sliced and sautéed in 1 tblsp. of Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can of albacore tuna (Trader Joe's sells pole caught canned tuna, happier for the sea) 
  • 1 1/2 tblsp. mayonaise
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 thin slices of lemon, seeds removed
  • thai basil leaves
  • 1 stalk of celery, washed and trimmed cut into matchsticks

Step 1:

Place the dry rice in 2 cups of water, add rice vinegar and a pinch of salt. When the water begins to boil, turn flame down so that rice is barely simmering. Cook for 30 minutes, or until there is nearly no water on the bottom. At this point I turn off the heat, and leave the cover on to let the rice continue to steam. After about another 10-15 minutes, remove cover and let rice cool. Fluff with a fork, so that the rice doesn't get too sticky. Refrigerate. 

Step 2: 

As the rice cooks, you can prepare the veggies, and any other ingredients you want to include in your rolls. They can also be refrigerated until you are ready to make the rolls. 

Step 3: 

For a smaller roll, use less rice
When you are ready to make the roll, let the rice sit out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Arrange your ingredients so that they are easily accessible. Have a small bowl of fresh water nearby. Take one sheet of the Nori, being careful not to tear it. Layer a thin layer of rice on 1/4-1/2 of the seaweed sheet. Take it easy with the rice, as it is easy to use way too much, and end up with a ridiculously fat roll. Then layer your ingredients at the edge of the sheet. When all your ingredients are placed on the sheet, take care to roll the seaweed tightly, leave a flap of about 1/4 inch at the end, and using your finger, place it in the bowl of water, then run your wet finger along the edge, as if it were an envelope, then complete the roll, this will seal the seaweed together. 

Step 4: 

Rolls before slicing
Once you have made the rolls, it is time to slice them. Using a sharp knife, slice across roll. Arrange on a plate, and serve with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce.