Sushi and me – a short story…
When I was a kid, the thought of sushi was totally disgusting to me. The raw fish part was gross, and yes, I now know it isn’t really all just raw fish, but I didn’t then, so I never even considered trying it.
Cut to one of my first trips to California, where Ryan took me to a sushi restaurant close to where he was living at the time in Venice. Like me, Ryan was terrified of sushi for most of his adult life, but a friend had introduced him to the stuff by ordering off the menu for him. When I came to visit him, Ryan did the same for me, and I realized then that I’d been missing out all those years I was too scared to try something new.
Cut to a few years later when Ryan and I are addicted to the stuff. Going out for sushi was one of the biggest treats for us, and for a couple of years we were pescan-vegans (if that’s even a word), in that the only animal product we ever ate was fish. And one of the reasons we continued to eat fish for so long was sushi.
Cut to Ryan and I eventually deciding that it was time to give up fish once and for all – for the environment, for our health, and for the fishies. We just couldn’t reconcile what we knew about the glut of over fishing that was occurring and what was happening to our oceans (and thus our overall environment) as a result. Not to mention what we learned about fish that are farmed and the awful effects these “farms” have. I know what you’ve read about the omega-3s in fish being so vital to good health, but we get plenty of omega-3s from flax and walnuts which don’t contain mercury or other pollutants, and don’t hurt our environment or the creatures that we share it with.
Once we gave up sushi, which was really hard for us at the time, we began to realize that part of what made getting sushi so fun was the whole experience – from the edamame to the sake to our own little dishes of soy sauce mixed with wasabi to the pickled ginger. After we figured that out, we went back to our favorite sushi place and saw that we could still have the experience that we had so treasured, we just had to order different things. And it wasn’t a big deal.
Now we order veggie rolls, avocado rolls and veggie tempura instead of tuna or crab rolls. Sure, they sometimes treat us like we’re freaks, but we know that we’re doing the right thing, and we still get to enjoy the experience without feeling like we’re missing out.
I’ve been craving sushi lately, and I thought it would be fun to make some at home. We’ve only made our own sushi one other time several years ago, but it was so good we thought we’d try again. This time we made three different types of rolls:
A cucumber and avocado roll, which is sort of a modified California roll - no sea spider (aka crab), please.
A veggie roll with avocado and lightly steamed carrot and asparagus.
And a spicy tempeh roll with scallion and avocado.
Now I’m not the master rice cooker that my husband is, but he was busy while the rice was cooking so yours truly was in charge. Uh, the rice was okay, but not quite perfect. It was definitely sticky rice, we’ll put it that way. I had a bit of difficulty spreading it out on the nori, but once I got the hang of it and realized that less rice is the way to go, things went pretty smoothly.
Speaking of nori, the package I used had pretty detailed instructions on the back about making the sushi rolls that was very helpful. The Post Punk Kitchen sushi page is also a great resource and helped a lot. The main thing is not to be intimidated by the whole process. It’s a little time consuming to prep all the ingredients, but it really isn’t that hard. It’s also one of the things that’s so rewarding because once you finish you get to enjoy tons of sushi!
Since we’re still in our January “detox” we didn’t have sake, but we did have tons of edamame with plenty of salt. I don’t think we could eat sushi with out it!