My kids always thought they were “cool” if they were going to a restaurant where Sushi was being served. However, as soon as they saw the menu, their eyes would roll up at the sight of Sushi! They wanted to say so badly that they were Sushi lovers and to tell their friends that they had Sushi for dinner. But the reality was that my kids hated Sushi!
I believe it was the “concept” rather than the “content” that they took an interest in. Bite-sized sea weed wrapped foods were appealing to them. So was the concept of eating with chop sticks, and drinking warm tea from a pretty floral Japanese tea cup. But when faced with an actual Japanese style Sushi dinner, their interest quickly turned to disappointment.
Basic Sushi Rice Recipe
Please note: You must use short grain rice and not long grain rice
3 cups short grain sticky Japanese Rice (we use Cal Rose brand)
3 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar (found in oriental section of grocery store or where vinegars are)
3 teaspoons organic honey
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1) In a large bowl, wash and rinse your rice 3 times in cold water, carefully draining all water out. You can use a sieve to do this as well. Let drained rice sit in bowl or sieve for 30 minutes.
2) Place rice in rice cooker and add 3 ¼ cups water. Allow rice to soak in the water for 30 minutes. Turn the rice cooker on and make sure lid is tightly closed. When rice cooker clicks off and rice is done, let rice sit in the rice pot with lid closed for 15 minutes.
3) For the sushi vinegar: mix rice vinegar, honey, and salt in a small sauce pan over low heat setting until honey dissolves. Completely cool the vinegar mixture to room temp before continuing.
4) Pour and spread the hot steamed rice into a *non-metallic* bowl (use plastic or wood bowl to prevent any interaction with metal and vinegar). Sprinkle the vinegar mix over the rice and fold the rice with a Japanese rice spatula (many rice cookers come with a white rice spatula) carefully, as not to mash down on the rice. Use a mix and fold technique.
5) Some people find it helpful to use a small fan to cool sushi rice with while stirring and incorporating the vinegar mix. This actually helps to cool the sushi rice, remove unwanted moisture, and helps to keep the rice shiny. Use rice right away when done.
Makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on how you use the sushi rice.
California Cucumber Sushi for Kids
3 whole peeled and hollowed out cucumbers
1 recipe Sushi Rice, above
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 ripe avocado, sliced into thin strips
1 ½ cups cooked and cooled imitation or real crab, chicken, or canned tuna
1/4 cup Sesame seeds, black or regular, for garnish
Variation: You may leave out seafood or poultry and substitute with additional vegetables of your choice.
1) When mixing Sushi rice with vinegar mix, add the shredded carrot and cooled seafood or poultry from the ingredients list here directly into the rice mixture. Fold ingredients into rice carefully. Make sure rice mix is cool before moving ahead.
2) Next, stuff the cucumber with rice mixture and pack tightly. Press on each cucumber end with the back of a spoon to make sure rice is all the way through cucumber, and is not lose. Let stuffed cucumber sit in refrigerator for about 20 minutes. This will help the rice become even stickier so it doesn’t fall apart when sliced.
3) When you are ready to slice your cucumber sushi, make sure you have a pretty platter to arrange it on. Slice cucumbers carefully with a sharp Chef’s knife. Create cuts about 1 ½ inches thick. Arrange slices on a platter, and top with 1 thin slice avocado. Top avocado with a few pinches of sesame seeds.
The next time you want to have a Sushi dinner, order your Sushi as “take out” and bring it home. Then prepare my easy, delicious recipes above for your kids and have a Japanese Party at home! The kids will love it, and you will still be keeping not only a Japanese Sushi theme, but you’ll be keeping your “mock-sushi for kids” healthy too! Enjoy!