Lunch Box Treats – Sushi Rolls
EDIT: The competition is now closed and a winner has been selected and notified. Please check your emails to see if you’ve won!
Sushi or nori rolls are a marvel of gluten-free, high energy goodness, packed in its own wrapping and highly portable. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients, it’s a terrific lunch box filler instead of sandwiches.
What’s not to love?
Well, er, there’s quite a bit not to love actually. They can be very expensive to buy individually. Fish-averse children may find the flavour too strong. Cramming them with fresh chilled fish such as salmon makes them difficult to keep cold in a lunch box. And, if you’ve never made them before, they can seem fiddly to make.
However, the good people at SunRice would like to help you change your mind the way they helped me change mine.
Over summer, SunRice sent me a goodie bag full of all the necessaries to make some nori rolls. Seaweed sheets, some wasabi, soy sauce, a bamboo rolling mat and three packets of their ready to heat and serve Sushi Rice. If that wasn’t enough, a brand spanking new and extremely sharp sashimi knife was included in the basket. Oh yes.
With everything I needed except the fillings at hand, my only question was then what to put into it. Luckily my housemate saved the day. “I make very good sushi rolls,” she said.
And so she does, because I would hate to have to admit publicly that her skills are rubbish. They’re not – she really is brilliant at making them.
With her guidance, I made two different fillings, one with a humble tin of red salmon, mixed with some mayo and tomato sauce, the other with some teriyaki chicken. In addition, you can easily make a vegie version with some avocado mixed with a hint of wasabi, some toasted sesame seeds and shredded cucumber.
Rolling the nori is easy enough provided you keep a firm grip on the rolls and don’t handle them too daintily. What is much harder to get right is the business of spreading the sushi rice over a sufficient area of the seaweed sheet so that it wraps tightly in a perfect circle around the fillings.
Once you have the process down pat, it really is a very quick process to make up enough for four or more people. SunRice makes this even more speedy by ensuring their packets of microwaveable, fast and easy Sushi Rice heat up in two minutes. Honestly, it will take you longer to cut up the cucumber.
To get started, you will need to go to the asian food aisle of your supermarket. Grab a packet of nori seaweed sheets, a bamboo sushi rolling mat, some wasabi if you want a fiery hit, and some Japanese-style mirin or Chinese-style rice wine vinegar. After you’ve loaded up in that aisle, head round to the rice section and grab a packet or two of SunRice microwaveable Sushi Rice. You can use regular sushi or short-grain rice as a substitute of course.
To encourage you to make your own sushi, SunRice is giving away a wonderful prize pack of three fast and easy Sushi Rice packs and a sashimi knife to a lucky reader. All the terms and conditions of this first great giveaway for 2013 are set out at the bottom of the recipe.
Makes 8 nori rolls (about 7-8cm long) or 16 smaller sushi rolls
1 x 450g packet SunRice microwaveable Sushi Rice OR 1 cup short grain or sushi rice cooked with 2 cups water until fluffy; ½ cup mirin or rice wine vinegar; 1 tsp sugar; ½ tsp salt; 2 tbsp sesame seeds; 1 large lebanese cucumber; 1 large carrot; 4 seaweed (nori) sheets; 1 bamboo sushi mat for rolling; soy sauce to serve; wasabi to serve (optional)
Fillings (each of these fillings is enough for 8 nori rolls):
Teriyaki Chicken: 2 chicken thigh fillets; 1 quantity teriyaki sauce from this recipe OR 1 cup pre-made teriyaki sauce; 2 tbsp mayonnaise plus 1 tsp sugar OR 2 tbsp japanese-style mayonnaise (available in asian food aisles of most supermarkets)
Salmon: 1 x 210g tin red salmon; 2 tbsp mayonnaise plus 1 tsp sugar OR 2 tbsp japanese-style mayonnaise; 1 tbsp tomato sauce
Heat the packet of sushi rice on high for two minutes as directed on the packet. Place mirin, sugar and salt in a large heat-proof bowl and stir well to combine. Empty the heated rice into this mixture and use a fork to fluff up and separate the rice grains and to coat the grains thoroughly in the mirin until the grains are glossy. Set aside to cool completely.
While the rice is cooling, place the sesame seeds in a small non-stick frypan over low to medium heat. Stir them constantly until the seeds are toasted, golden brown and fragrant. Set aside in a small dish until you need them.
To prepare the cucumber, peel the skin away (this is entirely optional), then carefully slice the cucumber into very thin slices lengthways. Cut the lengths into strips about 2-3mm and then cut each baton in half, so you end up with strips about 2-3cm long and barely 2mm wide. Set aside in a small bowl.
Grate the carrot over a fine hole of the grater and set aside in a bowl.
Teriyaki Chicken: Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with foil. Slice the thigh fillets into long strips about 2-3cm wide and place in a small bowl. Add the teriyaki sauce and mix well to combine. Lay the strips out in a single layer on the baking sheet. There will be some teriyaki sauce left in the bottom of the bowl – use this to baste the chicken.
Bake the strips for 30 minutes. Every ten minutes turn the chicken over and baste with any remaining teriyaki sauce. Remove the chicken and when it is cool enough to handle, slice each strip crossways as thinly as you can. Place the meat in a bowl and add the mayonnaise and sugar if using. toss well to combine, then set aside until ready to use.
Salmon: Drain the tinned salmon and carefully remove any skin or bones you may find. Flake the fish gently in a small bowl with a fork, then add mayonnaise, sugar if using and tomato sauce. Mix well to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
To prepare: Lay the bamboo mat on the bench with the smoothest side facing up and the longest edge facing towards you. Place one seaweed (nori) sheet on the mat, also with a long edge closest towards you.
Spoon one-quarter of the cooled rice onto the nori sheet. Use your clean hands or the back of a spoon to gently spread the rice in an even layer right to the left and right edges of the sheet and so that it covers the bottom half of the nori sheet. The rice layer will only be about 1 cm thick.
Spoon one-quarter of the salmon or chicken mixture in a thin line down the centre of the rice from left to right. Try to smooth the surface so it is as evenly distributed as possible. Sprinkle the meat or fish with half a tablespoon of sesame seeds and a quarter each of the grated carrot and cucumber strips. Line up the cucumber strips lengthways along the food to make for easier wrapping.
Using the bamboo mat, roll the nori up and away from you towards the back of the bench. When the bamboo mat hits the other side use this to get a firm grip on the rolls. You can really be quite firm. Roll them back and forth to get a smooth finish along the length of the roll so everything within is evenly spread.
Pull the bamboo mat away a little so you can continue rolling it all the way to the other edge. Carefully lift the entire roll onto a clean platter or cutting board, seam side down and leave it there while you make the others. Over the next few minutes the nori sheet will stick to itself and remain in place.
To serve: Trim each end by a few millimetres to neaten it up and then cut each roll in half. Chill in an airtight container until required. Serve with soy sauce for dipping and a dot of wasabi on the side.
$12.35 for 8 large nori rolls using chicken as a filling
Sunrice Rice and The $120 Food Challenge is giving away a prize pack of three packets of Sunrice Sushi Rice and a wonderful and wickedly sharp sashimi/carving knife. The total value of the prize pack is – what else? – $120.00
To enter, leave a comment below and give us your best suggestions for suitable lunchbox lunches or snacks that are easy to make, nutritious and can withstand the conditions of an Australian summer.
Please do NOT leave an entry comment on our Facebook page as we cannot accept them for competition purposes.
- Open to Australian residents only.
- Competition closes 7pm AEST Monday 4th February 2013.
- Winner will be selected by computer generated random number selector and will be advised by email.
- Winner MUST reply within 48 hours of email being sent to claim their prize or the prize will be re-drawn.
- The prize pack will be mailed to the winner’s nominated residential address within Australia by Sunrice Rice or their representative.