Alfred is a cheery, well-mannered eight-year old. While I am setting up for class he follows me from cafeteria table to hand wash sink and back, chatting earnestly about either his latest lego set or what he had for dinner that weekend. Alfred’s father is a chef, and I found out last class that this apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
I thought I had a handle on sushi-making it after watching some YouTube tutorials, but in practice the rice was sticky and harder to spread than expected, and the rolling method a little tricky. Luckily Alfred stepped up to the plate. At the crucial rolling stage he had his sushi roll assembled in a flash while most of the students were still struggling to evenly lay out carrots. The other kids started asking him to help them. For once I was able to take a deep breath, stand aside, and watch as my eight year old student led his classmates.
If you’d like to try making sushi at home I hope there is an Alfred in your life to help with the roll.
Sushi (Maki) Roll
1-1/2 cups short-grained sushi rice
1-1/2 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Filling Options (select 3 or 4):
1 cup sprouts (broccoli, soy, mung bean, etc)
2 scallions, sliced julienne
1 English cucumber, sliced julienne
1 carrot, sliced julienne
1 sweet potato, boiled to tender, sliced julienne
1 sweet belle pepper (red, orange, or yellow), sliced julienne
1 Hass avocado, sliced julienne
6 sheets nori
Special equipment: bamboo sushi mat (can be found at Whole Foods or BB&B)
Do ahead – make the rice:
Rinse and drain the rice 4 times until cloudiness (starch) is almost totally gone. Pour rice and water into a saucepot, cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer, stir, then cover again and cook until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes (according to package instructions). When done cooking, transfer rice to a tray, spreading out to cool without clumping. Fluff and spread with a wooden spoon, mixing in rice vinegar and salt.
Place sushi mat with the slats running horizontal in front of you. Lay a sheet of nori, shiny side down, and lined up to the mat edge closest to you. Lightly moisten fingers with water and evenly press approximately 1/4-cup rice over the nori, with 1/2-inch at the far edge left uncovered (to seal later). Line the fillings of choice horizontally about 1-inch from the closest edge, across the rice.
Starting with the close edge, tightly roll the nori, rice, and filling into a cylinder, using the mat as a guide. As the sushi rolls and sticks, pull back the mat so you don’t roll it into the sushi. Wet the far edge with no rice and finish the roll to seal the sushi. Transfer to a cutting board and continue with remaining nori. Cut each sushi into 8 to 9 pieces with a sharp knife dipped in water so the rice does not stick. Enjoy with soy sauce, pickled ginger, wasabi, or plain.