Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Bunny Roll

Each evening as I arrive home, my three cats perform a ritual greeting that is one of the highlights of my day.

Bunny, a Japanese bobtail, is especially effusive as she rolls on the floor first for a tummy rub, then for a back scratch, and then for a tummy rub again. For a long time, I've said that there should be a type of sushi created in her honor, the Bunny Roll.

Well, as they say, "If not me, then who? If not now, then when?"

Here, then, is the Bunny Roll. It shows how fun and easy it is to make sushi at home. This is a small recipe that makes just two rolls; it can easily be doubled to make more. First make the rice filling. You'll need:

1/2 cup sushi rice
3/4 cup water
1 TBSP rice vinegar
1 scant tsp sugar

Bring the rice and water to a boil in a small pot, then cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Then, turn the rice into a glass bowl, sprinkle on the sugar and vinegar, and toss with a wooden spoon to mix. (Everything I've read says not to use metal bowls or utensils at this step - metal can leave an unpleasant taste in the rice. Ceramic, wooden or plastic bowls and utensils would probably work just as well, though.) Cover the bowl of seasoned rice and let cool to about room temperature.

While the rice is cooling, you can prepare the fillings. For the Bunny Roll, I used:

3 baby carrots, cut into thin matchsticks - because bunnies love carrots.
1 small avocado, peeled and cut into thin strip - because I love avocados. Toss avocado strips lightly in lemon juice to prevent browning.
Umeboshi plum paste - because everything tastes better with plum paste!

Once the rice is cool, assemble the rolls, using two sheets of nori (seaweed wrapper). This is difficult to describe, but not difficult to do.

To be authentic, you can use a special bamboo mat to roll the sushi. Or you can go very low-tech and use a paper towel. Put a sheet of nori on your rolling surface, shiny side down, with the edge of the nori aligned with the bottom edge of your mat or towel. Spread half of the rice over the sheet of nori. Leavie a strip about an about an inch wide at the top of the sheet uncovered, but cover the rest of the nori evenly with rice, all the way to the bottom and sides. It should be just a thin layer of rice.

Next, add your fillings in a thin, horizontal strip about halfway up the rice. For the bunny roll, spread about 1/4 tsp umeboshi paste across the roll. Next, layer on half the avocado, and then half the carrots.

Now, the hardest part - roll up your sushi by taking the bottom edge of the mat/towel and nori, and rolling it up and over the strip of fillings. Tuck the edge of the nori (but not the mat or towel) firmly down, and then roll up the rest until you come to the strip of nori without rice on it. Dip a finger in water and dab it along the edge of the nori, and finish rolling the roll. The wet seaweed will stick and keep your roll together. Roll the cylinder you just formed gently along the countertop to firm it up. Repeat with the other sheet of nori and remaining rice and fillings.

Use a serrated knife to cut your sushi rolls into bite-size pieces, and serve with soy sauce, wasabi paste and pickled ginger. This is best enjoyed with a cat sitting on your lap.

If you want to learn more about making sushi, the Post Punk Kitchen has lots of good information and recipes here. For an unusual twist on sushi, a video from Bryan Au shows how to make raw sushi - no rice, and wrapped in zuchinni strips.

Readers, what are your favorite vegetarian sushi fillings? (Or, even if you don't like sushi, who is your favorite cat?)

1 Comments:

At 10/23/2007 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet potato is very yummy in sushi. So are shitake mushrooms. I've also found a few places that do a tofu roll. My favorite thing to do is (when they don't have a tofu roll on the menu) order their veggie roll and order agadashi tofu (without bonito flakes). - Then just put a little bit of the tofu on top of the veggie roll when you eat it. Mmmm so good. Someday I'll get enough nerve to make this myself at home! and my favorite cat is Kitty McKittersons.

 

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