Last weekend, I had an urge to make sushi, inspired by several posts on other food blogs that I subscribe to. “Tom” and I often do sushi as a take out treat – not true sushi, mind you, with fish and stuff, just simple, but delicious, vegie rolls, avocado rolls, maybe a mango vegie roll if we can get it. We even, sometimes, do the some-kind-of-deep-fried-vegetable roll, but I really prefer the fresh, raw vegetables in my sushi. By the way, did you know that “sushi” actually refers to the rice? Rice that is vinegared and sweetened? Did you know that the Earl of Sandwich of England and Hanaya Yohei of Japan have something in common? They both invented a portable way to eat their supper, rather than sitting down to a meal, so that they didn’t need to take a break from gambling! The Earl of Sandwich invented – you guessed it – the sandwich, and Hanaya invented sushi – bit of fish wrapped up in rice specially prepared to preserve the fish. Nowadays, you can buy all kinds of sushi. Sushi bars and restaurants regularly turn out some new twist on sushi. Well, I decided to make my own sushi twist – sushi lasagna! (Thanks to my colleague, M., for suggesting this name). Sushi Lasagna came about when I wanted to make sushi, but didn’t want to go through the bother of rolling. To tell you the truth, I’m just not a very good roller! My burritos are too fat, I rip my fresh spring rolls and my sushi rolls are far from elegant. So, I thought I’d just layer all the ingredients in a baking dish – easy! no rolling! no fuss! Great for linear thinking people like myself! Great for people with limited patience for slow, precise and presentation!
Here’s how I did it:
I chopped up some vegetables.
I used shredded carrots, slivered green onions, slivered red pepper and thinly sliced cucumber. If I’d had some avocado around I would have used some of that as well.
I had some white sushi rice kicking around the cupboard, but I wanted to up the nutritional value so I cooked up 3/4 cup white sushi rice and 3/4 cup short grained brown rice. I cooked the rices separately in the rice cooker – the white rice cooks up really quickly – then I mixed and fluffed the two types of rice together. When the rice was cool, I added about 2 tbsps. rice vinegar, 1 tbsp. agave nectar, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil and tossed the rice again.
Then I started to layer.
I started by putting down a thin layer of rice on the bottom of the glass baking pan. On top of this I laid down a sheet of nori seaweed, then another, thicker layer of rice. The sliced cucumbers went on top of this and I also evenly sprinkled on the green onion slivers, but before I added the green onion, I spread on a thin layer of horseradish.
Now, here’s the story with the horseradish. First of all, did you know that wasabi is horseradish? Yes it is! (Something else the Earl of Sandwich and Hanaya Yohei have in common)! I like wasabi, but I wanted to find a way to add it into the sushi without it being too overwhelming. I tried mixing some wasabi powder in with some vegan mayo, but I didn’t like the taste very much. Then I thought about using some Japanese mayo, but I couldn’t find any that didn’t have MSG in it. Then I searched the supermarket shelves for creamy horseradish and was just about to give up because the ingredients always included eggs and/or milk and long, unpronounceable words that were probably preservatives. Finally, at the end of all hope, I found this little jar of Horseradish. It was creamy, but without cream. Here is the ingredient list (sorry, the picture is a little blurry – my camera hand was shaking too much from excitement!):
So back to the recipe … spread on your horseradish, then sprinkle on those green onion slivers. Next comes another sheet of nori and another layer of rice, spread evenly and pressed down. Then, on goes the red peppers and grated carrots, a final sheet of nori and a final layer of rice. You could spread some more of that horseradish on the last nori sheet before adding the rice if you like. Press everything down carefully.
Slice into squares with a sharp knife and serve with soy sauce or tamari sauce, some wasabi or some more horseradish.