Does anyone out there share my love for roasted seaweed?
When I was preschool-aged, we lived in Korea. Keem, or seaweed, was one of my favorite foods. According to my mom, my sister and I downed 200 sheets in one sitting. My American friends thought keem was nasty. I admit, it tastes like the bottom of the ocean. But that’s not a bad thing. The man who became my hubs was my first friend to like it. I should have known then and there that he was the one. When I discovered sushi several years ago, I was thrilled! A whole range of foods that included seaweed? What could be better?
The problem with sushi, however, is the price tag. We have a family of six, all of whom know how to eat, which makes going out for this delicious dish extremely rare. But a few years ago, our Ukrainian friends (actually, their 11-year-old daughter) showed us that mere mortals can indeed make their own. (Strangely, Ukraine is filled with sushi/pizza places. Something for everyone, I guess.) With inspiration from our local spot, we get to enjoy one of our favorites on a regular basis while creating a family tradition.
Sushi for six is a lot of work. So, our kids know that if they want it, they will be making it. Monster Rolls, Boston Rolls, and California Rolls are our favorites. We stay away from the raw fish. Number one son is the fry cook (quite the pro) for the crunchy shrimp. Number one daughter (Prep Cook) does most of the slicing and shares rolling duty with me and is quite good at it, I might add. The other three family members eat it and clean up.
The process takes about 90 minutes with three of us working. Fry Guy sets up his fryer station with a flour mixture, egg wash, and panko bread crumbs. In the meantime, I thaw and peel the shrimp, cook the jasmine rice in the Instant Pot and help Prep Cook slice the avocado, cucumber, smoked salmon, and crab. I also mix up a spicy sauce of Sriracha and Kewpie mayonnaise. Additional ingredients are Nori (seaweed) , eel (Unagi) sauce (not made from eels), cream cheese, and toasted sesame seeds.
We set up the rolling station with hot cooked rice, a pan of water, and all the prepared ingredients. Then we proceed to roll them. Prep Cook uses the sushi mat wrapped in plastic wrap. I use a cutting board.
- Dip the seaweed in water then lay it down.
- If using cream cheese, smear some on.
- Otherwise, start with rice on about ¼ of the sheet.
- Then stack the ingredients and roll.
- When all are made, slice them into 6 pieces.
- If desired, finish them off by drizzling sauces and sprinkling sesame seeds over them.
- If you want an extra something special, add crushed French’s fried onion ring to the tops.
- Serve with extra sauces and soy sauce.
I am so glad our young friend showed us how to do this. If we can do it, you can too!