Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nori rolls are where it's at

Here's one of my absolute favorites. They take a little time, but are easier than you might think. When I make nori rolls, I make enough to fill a tupperware container, so I can snack on them or throw a few in the lunch bucket throughout the week.

Fargo Vegan Nori Rolls
4 sheets toasted nori
1 avacado
1 smallish cucumber
1 medium carrot
Roasted red peppers
1 cup sushi rice
2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp. sugar or agave nectar
Shoyu or other quality soy sauce for dipping

Necessary tools: bamboo sushi rolling mat

1. To prepare sushi rice, place 1 cup rice and 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan with cover. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Although everyone says you can't lift the cover, check it once or twice to make sure it's not burning.

2. While rice is cooking, prepare the veggies. Slice everything but the avacado in matchsticks - this is easier with a julienne device if you have one. Since they're much softer, the avacado and red pepper can be a little chunkier - keep them less than 1/2 inch wide.

3. When the rice is done cooking, add the vinegar and sweetener, mix to combine, and let sit, covered tightly, for another 20 minutes or so - it will be easier to work with when it's cooled a bit.

4. To assemble rolls, place 1 nori sheet on bamboo rolling mat. Add about a third of a cup of rice, and spread around the bottom 2/3 of the mat. Press with a spoon or your fingers to make the rice layer even and thin.

5. On top of the rice, add a thin layer of each vegetable, each right on top of the next.

6. Using the mat - this will be clear once you do it - roll up the nori and rice like you're making a burrito. Moisten your fingers and wet the dry edge of the nori, and press onto the body of the roll. Use the mat to press the roll as tightly as possible while maintaing a nice cylindrical shape.

7. Tightly wrap the roll in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, use your sharpest bread-style knife to cut rolls into 1 inch sections. The knife must be pretty sharp, or you'll end up tearing the rolls unevenly.

8. Serve the little beauties up. I prefer shoyu soy sauce to dip each one, but go crazy with the pickled ginger and wasabi if that's how you nori roll. Man, am I funny or what?

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