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It was pouring rain yesterday and I was racking my brain to figure out what to do with Alexander. Sushi rolls!
Alexander loves Japanese food. He would rather have 4 eel avocado hand rolls than eat macaroni and cheese. No joke.
I have no idea how to make an eel avocado hand roll, but we do know how to make cucumber carrot sushi rolls.
These are pretty easy to make so fear not. You will need to get all the ingredients and some equipment before hand. If your lucky and have a big supermarket with an Asian food section they should have everything.
If you are in Manhattan there is a great Japanese Food Market called Sunrise Mart down near Astor Place at 4 Stuyvesant Street. I’ve also seen most of the ingredients at the World Market in Bed, Bath and Beyond. If you are in New Jersey, Mitsuwa in Fort Lee is worth the trip. It is an awesome shopping experience. Like being in Japan.
The most important piece of equipment you need is a sushi mat. The best way to use it is to wrap it in a double thickness of plastic wrap.
The next important thing is the rice. You need Japanese medium grain rice that is specifically for sushi. Nishiki is the most popular brand in America. I used Sekka simply because it was on sale, but it is equally as good.
Believe me only use the proper rice. Twenty years ago when I came back from a trip to Japan, I tried to make my own sushi. I had a beautiful rice paddle and sushi mat from Takashimaya in Tokyo. I had sushi vinegar and wasabi paste just no sushi rice. I was too impatient to wait until I could go into the city to get some, so I tried to make it with Carolina Long Grain Rice and it was a disaster. Lesson learned.
Now if you are a purest you can make your own sushi rice dressing, but that is time consuming. I simply mix together sushi vinegar and sushi seasoning.
If you don’t have this simply cut the cucumber and carrots into thin long strips.
I recommend doing the rice and preparing the vegetables ahead of time so your children get to do the fun part of assembling with you.
Avec Amour, Victoria and Alexander
* Please remember when working with food and children, everyone must wash their hands thoroughly before you begin.
Cucumber Carrot Sushi Rolls
Yeild – 4 Rolls
2 Cups Japanese Medium Grain Rice
2 3/4 Cups Water
3 Tablespoons Sushi Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 English or Hothouse Cucumber, lightly peeled and seeded cut into long thin strips
2 – 3 Carrots, peeled and cut into long thin strips
4 Sheets of Nori
Sushi Soy Sauce
Wasabi (I prefer Kikkoman Wasabi Sauce for me, Alexander does not like it)
Pickled Ginger, optional
Sesame Seeds, optional
1. Wash rice by putting into pot, covering with cold water,
stir around with hand and drain.
Repeat until water above rice is clear instead of cloudy. This took me 5 times.
2. Once rice is completely washed, drain, add back to pot and cover with 2 2/3 cups cold water. Let sit for 30 minutes covered.
3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, keep covered and cook for 25 minutes until water is absorbed.
4. Use a wooden spoon, rubber spatula or rice paddle to transfer rice to a large bowl. Mix together sushi dressing and sushi vinegar, pour over hot rice. Use a folding motion to stir together.
Cover with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the rice until ready to use. I find it best to let it cool for at least 20 minutes until it’s cool to the touch.
5. Assemble all your components including a small bowl of water to dip your fingers in,
Place a sheet of nori shiny side down onto sushi mat, using wet fingers place a hand full of rice in center and spread over nori leaving about an inch uncovered at the top. (The rice is incredibly sticky make sure your finger are very wet.)
Alexander doesn’t like sesame seeds, but if you do now would be the time to sprinkle a small amount over the rice.
6. Arrange cucumber and carrot strips over rice,
(you may have to rearrange them)
Using mat, roll rice end up and over filling
Gently press along the length of roll to keep its shape. Using a wet finger, dampen the top of the nori that has no rice, so it will glue shut the roll. Just a little water will do it. Don’t make the nori too wet or it will change shape and easily rip. Continue to pull mat over all the way
Again gently apply pressure over length of roll to make sure it seals. If your roll is uneven, you can roll it back in forth using the mat to even it out.
7. Dip your knife into the water and hold it upright so you have a bead of water running along the edge
Slice roll down the center,
arrange both halves next to each other and slice again down the middle,
slice each quarter into half
until you have 8 slices.
Arrange on a plate and serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger if you like.
If you want to add wasabi to your roll, before you put in the filling, squeeze a line of wasabi along length of roll and spread evenly with finger.
You can also make just a cucumber roll if you prefer.
Let your imagination go wild. Once you know how to make a roll you can fill it with anything. Alexander also likes, avocado, thin asparagus, green beans and I love daikon radish.
- 2 Cups Japanese Medium Grain Rice
- 2 3/4 Cups Water
- 3 Tablespoons Sushi Seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 1 English or Hothouse Cucumber, lightly peeled and seeded, cut into long thin strips
- 2 - 3 Carrots, peeled and cut into long thin strips
- 4 Sheets Nori
- Sesame Seeds
- Soy Sauce
- Pickled Ginger
- Wash rice by putting into pot, covering with cold water, stir around with hand and drain. Repeat until water is clear, about 5 times.
- Cover rice with 2 3/4 cups cold water. Let sit for 30 minutes covered.
- Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, keep covered and cook for 25 minutes until water is absorbed.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir rice together with sushi dressing and sushi vinegar in large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to cool for about 20 minutes, until it's cool to the touch.
- Assemble all your components including a small bowl of water to dip your fingers in. Place a sheet of nori shiny side down onto sushi mat, using wet fingers place a hand full of rice in center and spread over nori leaving about an inch uncovered at the top.
- Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds or spread a thin legnthwise line of wasabi over rice if you desire. (Optional)
- Arrange cucumber and carrot strips over rice. Using mat roll rice end up and over filling. Gently press along length of roll to keep its shape. Using a wet finger dampen the top of the nori that has no rice, so it will glue shut the roll. Continue to pull mat over all the way. Again gently apply pressure over length of roll to make sure it seals.
- Dip knife in water and slice down center of roll, arrange halves next to each other and slice down middle again, slices quarters in half ending with 8 slices.
- Arrange on plate and serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger.
Rolls can be filled with any combination of vegetables you like; avocado,asparagus, green beans and daikon radish are favorites. Rolls are best when eaten right away. If you don't use all the rice it will keep in the refrigerator until next day and you can make more rolls then.
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