Recipe 20: Avocado-Red Bell Pepper Sushi

The only time I have ever had sushi was when I was seventeen years old and out for dinner with my senior class of high school. I did not even like it much, but I was impressed with the way it looked. I imagined how complicated it would have to be to get the vegetables into the rice, and how hard it must be to get the sushi firm enough to keep it together. I usually do not like admitting that I was wrong when I was, but I am just going to do that now: I was wrong. Making sushi is very simple.

In the majority of the recipes here, I do not inform you about the kitchen tools you need, because the ones I use are usually present in any kitchen. To make sushi, though, you need to have a bamboo mat, which you can buy in any supermarket at the 'foreign food' section, you will find some shells with sushi products. You need to get most products from here. If your supermarket does not sell these mats, you can very likely buy it at any kitchen supplies store.

What do you need?
  • Nori, which is dried seaweed - 1 sheet
  • Sushi rice - 1/3 cup
  • Water - 1/2 cup
  • Sushi vinegar - 1 tbsp
  • Wasabi - 1/2 tsp (or to taste)
  • Red bell pepper - 1/4 
  • Avocado - 1/4
  • Water
  • Soy sauce
This is a very basic vegan sushi. There are of course many different sorts of sushi, but I had some amazing avocados on my hands that were just perfect, and I think these are amazing, even though they are quite plain.

How to make it?
  1. The rice needs to be cooked and cooled down before you make the sushi rolls, and that is pretty much the only cooking that happens in this recipe. First, boil the sushi rice and water for approximately 15 minutes on a low heat. Make sure you stir it, cause there is very little liquid, so you could easily burn the rice as the bottom of the pan if you do not stir every now and then. After it has been on the heat for about 15 minutes, take it off and let it sit, covered, for another 15 minutes. Once the rice has absorbed all the excess water and is sticky, you know it is right. Let it cool down. This could take another 20-30 minutes.
  2. After the rice has cooled, it is time to make the actual rolls. Put one sheet of nori on your bamboo mat, and cover 2/3 of the sheet with the sticky rice. You only need about a handful with rice, and you put it on with your hands. Keep 1/3 of the nori on either the left of the right side empty (left side is easier if you are right handed, and the other way around). You want to keep a bowl of water on the side, so you can make your hands wet to stop the rice from sticking to them as you work with it.
  3. Once there is a reasonably thick layer of rice on the nori, smear some wasabi on it. What you see in the picture is definitely too much, but I overestimated my taste buds.
  4. Slice the quarter red bell pepper and avocado in very thin slices, and put on top of the wasabi.
  5. Now is it time to start rolling the sheet. Some people find this difficult, but there are tons of videos about this on YouTube if you need any extra help. Take the side of the nori that is covered in rice, and fold it, with your mat, over the vegetables. Then slightly and carefully squeeze it together in your hands. You are still working with the mat at this point. When the rice is entirely surrounding the vegetables, use some water to make the last strip of nori wet, and use your mat to roll this part around it (actually, you roll the filled part over the empty part). You can now use the bamboo mat to firm it up a little more if you want to.
  6. Cut the roll into pieces, but first cut off the rough pieces on the side. If you want all pieces to be equally thick, start by halving the roll, then halving the halves, then halving the quarters.
  7. Time to serve! Put the sushi on a plate and serve with a small bowl of soy sauce. Traditionally, these are eaten with chopsticks, and I am sure you can find these at any kitchen supply store, like I did.


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