This month my baby turn 18! Egads, how did that happen??? So please indulge me as I share a bit about his favorite meal when he was just a little guy.
Fast Food Sushi
When I was a single mom and my son (Carver) was about 5, we lived near a fast food sushi restaurant. I know, I know… fast food and raw fish are not 2 concepts anyone should put together. But, sushi really is the quintessential fast food. This place (I called McSushi) was immaculately clean, bright, and friendly. The sushi was fresh, the miso soup was hot, the prices were very affordable, and they were so so soooo kid friendly. Needless to say, this was our Friday night Carver and Mom night out.
Why Sushi is Kid Food
I think sushi became my 5 year old’s favorite meal for a several reasons. 1) Any time an adult asked him what his favorite meal was and he said “Sushi,” he got a BIG response; 2) he was allowed to eat with his hands in public; 3) he loved eating with chopsticks especially when he noticed a lot of adults found them challenging; 4) sushi is cute; and 5) it’s SO GOOD!
Picking your fish
Bob’s Seafood Market in St. Louis is a great place to get fresh sushi grade fish. They sell to quite a few of the better restaurants in St. Louis as well as the general public. Barb is usually behind the counter and she’s a wealth of information. Last time I was there, I asked her how do you know if the fish your looking at purchasing is sushi grade or not. She recommended the following:
- Make sure you know your vendor
- Farm raised is the way to go
- It should NOT smell fishy
Farmed raised… not wild, huh? That surprised me especially since I try to buy organic as much as possible and farmed fish always made me think of sad little industrialized guppies. It seems, that’s not the case. Apparently it’s difficult to know if the wild ones have lived a good clean life or if they’ve been up to no good. Typically, the ones raised by hand here in the U.S. (a.k.a. farmed) have the least amount of disease and contaminates. Oh boy, I’m really temping you to make your own sushi rolls now, aren’t I?
Truth is, any time you eat anything raw there’s an element of risk. For me personally, I’m all in. What’s life lived if not for a little risk? And if you love sushi, and you’ve never made it for yourself, this is something you owe yourself to try. Once you find a fish monger you trust, making sushi is fun, easy, healthy, and major cool.
The Veggie Sushi Roll
If nothing else, make a California roll. It’s just like the recipe below as far as the technique goes except instead of raw fish use julienned (cut the veggies to look like matchsticks) cucumbers, carrots, avocado, and a piece or two of scallion. If you like cooked shrimp, throw that in there too!
This is so much fun to do with kids too! It would a great activity for a Little Mermaid party or a Pirates of the Caribbean party. The kids would have a blast patting the rice onto the seaweed and rolling them up. You could even roll the nori (seaweed sheets) up like ice cream cones (temaki), fill them with rice and let them choose their own toppings. My step daughters (Brianna & Alexandia) love to eat white rice with honey! Yum!
Salmon Maki Sushi Roll
Once you find a good source for sushi grade salmon, this can be an every day treat at a fraction of the price you'll pay at a top Japanese restaurant. Even though it's a delicacy, it's as easy as it gets!
- 1 cup premium short grain rice Kagayaki
- 1 cup water
- 6 ounces sushi grade salmon no skin
- 1/3 cup red or black lumpfish caviar (optional)
- 2 sheets roasted seaweed
- 1/2 avocado sliced
- 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
- 1 tablespoon pickled ginger optional
- 1 pot with lid
- 1 sushi bamboo mat
- plastic wrap or cling wrap
- 1 fine strainer
- Rinse rice in a fine strainer. Put rice and water in a pot over medium high heat. Once it is simmering, cover with a lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Then turn off heat and keep covered for an additional 10 minutes.
- Wrap bamboo mat with plastic.
- Lay a sheet of seaweed on mat. When rice is done, cover seaweed with a thin layer of rice, about 1/3 cup. Wet your hands to keep rice from sticking to you. Gently press rice into seaweed. You can also spread the rice with the back of a spoon if that helps keep it from sticking.
- Cut the salmon into 1/2 inch wide, long strips and lay in the middle of the rice. Lay 1/2 of the avocado slices next to salmon. Top with a row of 1/2 the caviar.
- Using the mat, roll up the maki with gentle but firm pressure. Once the roll is complete, firmly squeeze the roll while it is in the mat.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 6-8 pieces.
- Repeat with the remaining 1/2 of ingredients.
Make this into a full Japanese meal with a little miso soup, salad with ginger dressing. Sake is optional. Enjoy!