If there is one food I love more than anything, it’s probably sushi. And I guess you can ask me every day of the week, and I would want to eat it. There is just something about the combination of ingredients that is so refreshing and delicious in a subtle way. I just can never resist. And I think the best part is: You never feel bloated with food after eating sushi. Hell, even supermarket sushi can be pretty amazing. And there are so many varieties out there that it never gets boring! Furthermore it’s always easy to please both vegetarians and regular eaters, you just have to like raw fish. Poor souls who don’t, because they’re really missing out.
Sushi – Not Just Raw Fish
Sushi actually has its origin not in Japan, but in Southeast Asia. There they would cure meat and fish and wrap it in rice to keep it fresh without refrigeration. Then people would leave it to ferment for several months, discard the rice and only eat the fish. The idea spread through China and came to Japan, and the Japanese added their rice wine or sake to the mix. Only in the 1820’s they started to actually use raw fish for sushi, and that is the kind of sushi you’ll find today. And the word ‘sushi’ doesn’t refer to the raw fish, but actually to a rice dish. It is refined with vinegar and various fillings or toppings.
I might be stepping on many toes with this recipe when I think about it! There is so much tradition behind sushi that I almost didn’t want to change the recipe. However, I was in such an experimental mood today that I hope people will forgive me! So here it is: My version of vegetarian sushi rolls, but instead of using rice, I used quinoa. Can someone tell me the Japanese translation for that so I can change the name?
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tsp. of instant vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. of ground ginger
- A bit of rice vinegar
- 4-5 nori leaves
- Sushi mat
Start by rinsing the quinoa. Then add the water, vegetable broth, the ginger and quinoa to a pot and bring it to boil. If the instant broth isn’t already salted, salt the water as well. Now turn down the heat and let everything simmer for about 15 minutes. The quinoa should fully absorb the water.
Let the cooked quinoa completely. In the meantime, peel and seed the cucumber and avocado and cut both into thin strips. Peel the carrots and cut them into long strips as well.
Add some rice vinegar to your quinoa. Prepare your sushi mat with a nori leaf. Place some cooled quinoa on top on it and spread it with your fingers or a spoon. Make sure to wet your fingers before you spread the quinoa, and keep a bowl of cool water nearby. Add more until you cover the nori leaf except for a small strip at the top of the leaf (of about 1cm).
Place your veggie strips a centimetre or two from the edge closest to you. Now use your sushi mat to roll until you get to the 1cm strip of nori leaf. Wet this strip and ‘close’ the sushi roll. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Cut the rolls into evenly sliced pieces and enjoy!
This is not only an interesting take on the classic sushi roll, it’s also a great lunch box idea! Since you don’t use raw fish, you don’t necessarily need to keep the rolls in a refrigerator. This is great for when you don’t have any because you’re stuck at university. I really like the crunchiness of the cucumber and carrot and the smoothness of the avocado, then the texture of the quinoa…heavenly! Tell me what you think!