I introduced my husband Andrew to sushi on one of our first dates more than 20 years ago, and he’s been hooked ever since. We love the clean taste of the fresh ingredients, and the texture and flavor of the seaweed wraps reminds us of the salty ocean. We introduced Solomon and Celia to sushi when they were pretty young and to our surprise, they both took right to it. In fact, these days, they often opt to have their birthday dinners at a Japanese restaurant (we’ll be celebrating Solomon’s 14th birthday at a sushi bar in Washington, DC, this Saturday!).
I think one of the most delightful things about sushi, especially for kids, is that we are encouraged to eat with our hands. In some countries like Ethiopia and many parts of India, people eat most of their food with their (clean) hands. It’s a rare treat to do that in the U.S.
It’s difficult to think of the Japanese cuisine we love without thinking of the terrible ordeal that people in Japan have been going through since the massive earthquake and tsunami a few weeks ago. My family is keeping the Japanese people in our thoughts and prayers and we have made a donation through the Red Cross to provide disaster relief in Japan.
Traditional sushi making usually involves a few ingredients and some equipment that aren’t always easy to get our hands on. Happily, we’ve found a couple of ways to capture the flavors we love at home without so much effort. Recently, we discovered sushi kits made by Annie Chun’s that make it easy to assemble our own sushi snacks. These kits come with everything we need (except the fillings), including seaweed wraps, sticky rice (white or brown), and soy sauce.
Celia and her friends like to use the kit to make their own vegetable rolls for an after-school snack or weekend lunch. We julienne vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, avocado, and red bell pepper, and they roll them up with sticky rice and seaweed and dip their healthy snacks in a little soy sauce before gobbling them up.
Here’s a delectable idea for a sweet sushi treat: make-your-own candy sushi.
You might also like this sushi variation with easy-to-follow instructions for temarizushi (ball shaped sushi) from Rachael at La Fuji Mama.
A few years ago I created these seaweed-free wraps that are surprisingly reminiscent of the real California rolls that my whole family loves. I call them California Rollos (pronounced royos) because they bring together the cuisines of Japan and Mexico.
Recipe: California Rollos (Sushi)
A quick and easy guide to making Sushi rolls.
- 6 medium sized whole wheat or flour tortillas
- 1 1/2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled
- 1 pkg. (8 oz.) alfalfa or broccoli sprouts
- 1 pkg. (4 oz) imitation crab legs (made out of white fish)
- reduced-sodium soy sauce, for serving
- wasabi (Japanese horseradish) sauce, for serving (optional)
- Cut avocados in half, scoop out flesh with a large spoon and remove the pit.
- Thinly slice avocados, cucumbers, and crab legs.
- Spread a handful of them out on one half of each tortilla. Top with sprouts, and roll tightly.
- Slice the tortillas into 1 inch slices like sushi rolls.
- To eat, dip rolls in soy sauce. For a spicier dip, mix a little wasabi paste or powder into the soy sauce before dipping.