With sushi restaurants popping up like Tim Hortons north of highway 7 (you would have know the Greater Toronto Area to know what I am talking about) I do my share of sushi restaurant hopping, and to my bewilderment sticking to my regime in this process has been almost effortless.
I’m not just talking miso soup and salad here; bring on the all you can eat sushi buffet…or just make it at home like I do. (I expropriated this idea from the sushi bar on the corner and doctored it to work with the ingredients in my fridge)
1 pkg. of rice paper (you can find this in the chinese section of your grocery store-costs around $2) can be used with or without nori
1 pkg. of nori paper (I found this at the health food store for $6, but I’m sure it could be found less expensive elsewhere) can be used with or without rice paper
1 carrot (or raw carrot slaw to save you time)
1 pkg. of imitation crabmeat (leg style) or the real thing if you feel so inclined.
3-4 tbsp. chia seeds (the soaked chia seeds will emulate the texture of the salmon roe/eggs) my genius idea.
3-4 tbsp. water (for soaking chia seeds)
1 tbsp.nut butter (of your choice)
1 tbsp. kikkoman soy sauce
1 tbsp. water
Prepare your mise en place:
Soak your chia seeds in water for about 30 minutes. Slice the cucumber and carrot on the julienne setting of your mandoline (setting 3 for cucumber and 2 for carrot) slice the “crab legs” in half lengthwise. Slice the avocado in 1/4″ thick strips. Fill a pan or a large, deep plate with water for soaking the rice paper.
Start by soaking 1 piece of rice paper in the plate or pan for 30 seconds (if they are left too long they will rip and be very hard to handle). Then remove it from the water and place it on a flat surface. Lay your nori over the rice paper and place your cucumber, carrot, crab, avocado and chia seeds at the bottom of the paper (see photo below), then tightly roll. If you choose not to use the nori you will need to fold the sides of the rice paper in about 2 cm. before rolling so the contents aren’t lost out the sides. If you are using the nori and find it a little stiff you can brush it with a bit of water before adding the toppings.
the nori is optional, but I recommend it for a stronger tighter roll.
Then just slice up the roll into bit size pieces and you are ready to dip.
For the sauce just mix the three ingredients with a spoon and dip away.
This is not a completely grain-free recipe as the paper is made out of rice, but this is one of the things I do allow myself. You can make the rolls out of nori paper alone- just make sure you brush it with water first so they don’t break. Also, after I prepared this recipe I noticed that there was actually wheat and sugar in the imitation crab meat (which is optional) but it is pretty minimal and as long as you are not eating the usual suspects, then I think it is fine once in awhile. If you are making this recipe often I would cut out the “crab meat”. Below is a photo I took of cucumber rolls I had for lunch at another local restaurant. As soon as I make them I will post it, but give it a try at home in the meantime; this one had marinated mushrooms (why didn’t I think of that) salmon, avocado and crab.
P.S. Don’t fret if you are not adept in the chopstick department (trust me, I am no chopstick Sensei). Sushi rolls are actually meant to be a finger food! But I would work on those skills if you are thinking about ordering up sashimi.