Teriyaki Nori Roll
By Brandon McDearis
In all of my years of cooking, I had only attempted to make sushi once until about a month ago. The first time was in culinary school years ago, and I did such a botched job then that I swore I would leave it to the Japanese and never mess with making it again. However, many friends of mine (some working in the industry and some not) had assured me that making a nori roll is as simple as any other intermediate kitchen task. According to them, if you can follow a recipe precisely, cook rice correctly, and roll a mat forward (all instructions that I must have missed the first time), then you can also make sushi.
My latest attempt at the nori roll was just recently when I was staying on a farm in Western Australia of all places. The family that I lived with for a month had not only previously spent 15 years in Asia, but they had also once rented a room there on the farm to a Japanese backpacker who gave them a weekly sushi-making lesson. When I asked them about showing me a trick or two about the nori roll, they laughed assuring me that they were no experts, but that I could probably pick up the skill fairly easily. After a quick demo from Anne, the mother of the house, I managed to shape out what appeared to be an edible nori roll myself. After rolling a couple more, I felt stupid for going all these years never having made sushi, as it is one of my favorite things to eat. Like anything else, a little practice will make your nori rolls a little more perfect each time. However, practicing is easy because once you eat a couple of pieces, you will undoubtedly want more!
• 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
• 2 1/4 cups water
• 1/8 cup soy sauce
• 1/8 cup Teriyaki sauce
• 2 teaspoons honey
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 3 ounces extra firm tofu, diced into ¼ inch cubes
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1 T olive or vegetable oil
• 4 sheets nori seaweed sheets
• 1/2 cucumber, julienned
• 1/2 avocado, julienned
• 1 t wasabi
• 2 T soy sauce + 1 t wasabi for dipping (optional)
1. In a large saucepan, cover rice with water and let stand for 30 minutes.
2. In a shallow dish or bowl, combine soy sauce, Teriyaki, honey and garlic. Marinade tofu in this mixture for 30-45 minutes.
3. Bring water and rice to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until thick and sticky. In a large glass bowl combine cooked rice with rice vinegar.
4. Meanwhile, saute the tofu in the oil, browning each side as much as possible.
5. Place a sheet of nori on a bamboo mat. Working with wet hands, spread 1/4 of the rice evenly over the nori, leaving about 1/2 inch on the top. Sprinkle the marinated tofu in a straight line evenly about 1 inch from the bottom. Layer strips of cucumber and avocado evenly alongside the tofu.
6. Roll nori tightly from the bottom, using the mat to help make a tight roll. Seal by moistening the ½ inch of nori at the top with water. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Slice with a serrated knife into 1 inch thick slices.
Things to remember:
I found it to be easier to spread the rice on the nori by keeping a spoon in a cup of very hot water. Measuring the rice with a spoon keeps each roll more consistent. You can also dip the spoon back in the water and spread the rice evenly across the the nori with the back of the spoon. This limits the stickiness and mess of using your hands, while also keeping you from having to constantly wash them.
This recipe is just a base for the vegetarian, but other possibilities are endless. The same recipe can be used by substituting the tofu with Teriyaki chicken, fresh fish, cream cheese, or other vegetables such as carrot or bell pepper.
Nutritional Values: 1 Roll (Approximately 3 Servings)
266 Calories / 5.7g Fat / 36g Carbohydrates / 5.2g Fiber / 4.5g Protein