Who said Japanese cooking is too hard to try? I’ve believed that way for a long time but that’s not true! If you’re not familiar with what they taste like, it may take some time for you to familiarize yourself with Japanese cooking ingredients (cooking sake, mirin (sweetened sake), soy sauce), but if you LOVE how they taste, it’s more than possible to make them at home!! Even my mom and grandma would tell me it’s hard to cook Japanese food when I was young. I think it was just a cultural thing that they tend to be very hard to give approval on anything but especially on food in general. I guess it’s good to have a high standard for an every-day diet but at the same time, no one should discourage anyone to cook at home even if it’s their own or foreign food.
As my mom told me when I was young, I believed that you need skills to make a sushi roll. Well, you don’t in fact! My foodie friend taught me the easiest way to make a sushi roll, and believe it or not, even I could make them for the first time.
You may need to buy a sushi roller and wrap it entirely with saran wraps (a great tip) to keep it easy for cleaning; however, the final result you get won’t make you regret doing that. Oh, my husband and I just loved and couldn’t stop eating them!
This could be also a great Japanese food for vegetarians if you don’t use grilled eels but other vegetables such as carrots. I loved the vegetarian version of sushi rolls as much as this roll. They are so crunchy, refreshing and filling! Believe me, you can do it because even I who had never made them could do it!
- Yields 4 large rolls:
- Rice & Seaweed:
- 4 large sushi nori
- 1¾ cup Japanese rice + water as instructed on the back of the rice package minus 2 tbs water (if it's easier, you can make 2 cups of rice and reduce just a little bit roughly to measure 1¾ cups of rice) (our case: 3 cups of a Japanese measurement cups + 4.5 cups water minus 2 tbs water)
- 40 ml sushi vinegar + ¾ tbs sugar, dissolved
- Veggie Fillings:
- 8 - 10 small shiitake, soaked in water until soften and cooked in 4 tbs shiitake water, ¾ - 1 tbs soy sauce (plus 1 tsp dashi soy sauce, optional), 1 tbs coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
- ¼ bunch spinach (about 30 g), cooked with pinch salt and squeezed
- ½ English cucumber or 1 Japanese cucumber, cut into small squares about ⅙ slices
- Grilled teriyaki eel, cut into strips (or for vegetable-only rolls, 1 small carrot, cut into small squares about ⅙ slices, cooked with 3 tbs shiitake water, pinch salt, 1 tsp sake (optional), ¼ tsp sesame oil)
- Sakura Denpun to you preference
- (Rolled eggs)
- 4 eggs
- ¾ tbs honey
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Cook rice in a rice cooker. Soak shiitake in water.
- Microwave sushi vinegar and sugar for about 20 - 25 seconds to dissolve sugar in it. When the rice is ready and warm, pour the vinegar with sugar over it and combine them quickly (don’t overmix!)
- Cook egg rolls. Mix all egg roll ingredients and cook in the pan over medium heat (heating up the pan well is a key). Cool and cut them into square bar shapes (cut about 1/16).
- Prepare all veggie fillings. Cook spinach for a minute with a little oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt.
- (Optional - choose one) Slice grilled Teriyaki eel into strips OR cook carrot strips in 3 tbs shiitake water until slightly soften (about 3 minutes from heating it up from cold) and add sake, salt and sesame oil.)
- Rinse the pan and cook shiitake with shiitake water, dashi soy sauce, soy sauce and sugar.
- Cut a cucumber into square bar shapes.
- Put Denpun into a small bowl and cut Kanpyo into the same length of the long side of Nori (dried seaweed).
- Wrap the sushi roller with saran wraps and place Nori, long side facing you, and rince on it.
- Put all the veggie fillings in line from a little below the center line.
- Roll it up bringing all the fillings to the top line of the fillings and pull down a little and squeeze gently while keeping it rolled and keep rolling till the end to squeeze gently at the end.
- Slice them and serve.
(Here are the links to the Japanese ingredients)