Bean Bean Sushi: Creative Sushi Making with Kids

Hope everyone is having a great 2012 so far!  I’m beginning mine with a slight thumb injury caused by over vigorously kneading the gum paste from this post.  Who knew of such hazards in the kitchen?!  Anyway, the healing process is slow and I have to be careful not over use my right hand (though I’m constantly using it!)  One of the activities that exacerbates it is handling the camera– changing lenses and even removing the lens cap is very painful for me.  I may not be posting so much for awhile, and just wanted to let you know.  (The photos in this post were taken pre-injury.)

The idea of making sushi at home may seem daunting to some people, but if you aren’t a purist, it really is easy enough to make on a weeknight.  My kid friendly version focuses on makizushi (the rolled kind) and does not involve raw seafood– just vegetables and cooked meats.

Freeing yourself from the notion of making traditional sushi opens up your world for creative play and improvisation and is a fun activity to do with kids.

All you need is a sushi rolling mat, nori sheets (dried seaweed), cooked Japanese rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, and whatever filling you’d like to put in the sushi.

Roasted seaweed found in Asian markets.

Awhile ago Jamie announced that he had a new idea for a sushi roll that he wanted to try and make.  He called it “Bean Bean Sushi” and he envisioned it to be filled with ketchup and cooked green beans.  I was dubious, but never one to say “no” to a vegetable creation — especially coming from my son, I told him we’d make it for lunch that day.

This is what we did.  First I cooked rice in my rice cooker (here are directions for stove top cooking). While it was cooking, we got all the fillings together.  I decided to make mine and Denis’ with some leftover grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, leftover grilled Kirkland marinated salmon,  scallions, and avocado.

When the rice was ready,  I seasoned it with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

To make the rolls, I set the nori rough side up (shiny, smooth side down) on a sushi rolling mat.  I spread the surface of the nori with a thin layer of the seasoned rice, leaving a margin at the top.  It helps to wet your fingers with water while doing this to keep the rice from sticking to your fingers.

Jamie put ketchup in the center and then steamed green beans on top.

I made Denis a grilled salmon and wasabi mayonnaise roll.

Then we rolled it up starting from the long side closest to us.  As we rolled, we gradually  let go of the end of the rolling mat (or else it would be rolled inside the sushi!) and continued to roll the sushi cylinder inside the mat until we got to the top margin.  Then, we wet the nori with a bit of water — it acts as glue– and completed the roll.

I made three rolls — one for each of us.  For the inside out roll, I covered the mat first with saran and laid the nori on top of the saran.

After covering the nori with rice and then black sesame seeds (you don’t need to leave an uncovered margin at top for an inside out roll), I turned the nori and rice over so it was nori side up.  The rice side should be on the saran covered mat.  Then, I laid some shrimp, avocado, and scallions on top of the nori and rolled the sushi up, this time with the rice on the outside,  in the same manner described above.  Once you get the hang of rolling, it’s really quite easy.  It helps to do it slowly.  Try and keep the roll tight and even while rolling.  A perfect roll has all the filling in the center.

When the rolls were finished, I cut each in half and then cut those halves into fourths.  So one roll yields eight pieces.  It helps to use a very sharp knife and to dip the blade in warm water between cuts, so it doesn’t stick.

The rolls after cutting.

Surprisingly, Jamie’s Bean Bean roll was actually quite tasty.  Who knew ketchup, green beans, rice, and seaweed would go so well together?

Jamie's "Bean Bean Sushi"

Inside out shrimp, avocado, scallion roll and regular salmon and Trader Joe's wasabi mayonnaise roll.

Makizushi (Rolled Sushi)

Nori sheets (Dried Roasted Seaweed)

About 2 cups of short grain Japanese rice

2 1/4 cups water

3 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

fillings for sushi (for example, wasabi, wasabi mayonnaise, plain mayonnaise, ketchup, cooked meats, smoked meats, steamed vegetables, raw vegetables, cooked egg — basically anything you can line up in the center of a sushi roll!  The other day, Jamie tried to make one with edamame succotash, but it didn’t work so well, because the edamame and corn kept falling out…)

1.  Rinse rice in water several times until the water is almost clear.  Cook in rice cooker with water or cook on stove.  Prepare fillings and have ready.  Also have a small dish of plain water set aside.

2.  Mix vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

3.  When rice is finished cooking, transfer to a non-metallic bowl, preferably a wooden or glass one.  Sprinkle vinegar mixture on top (don’t pour all at once — taste rice as you go and season to taste-you may not need to use it all).  With a large wooden spoon, mix rice with a slicing motion.  With your other hand (or employing a helper), fan the rice as you mix to take away the excess moisture.  Keep sushi rice covered with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out while you are making the sushi.

4.  Lay a sheet of nori on a sushi rolling mat rough side up.  Spread sushi rice on nori in a thin, even layer, using the back of a spoon or fingers. Wetting spoon or fingers with water helps to keep the rice from sticking.  Leave an 3/8 inch margin at the top uncovered.  This is the part that you will use as a seam to close the roll.

5.  Place spread if using and choice of fillings in the center of the roll horizontally.  Lift the mat with your thumbs, holding the center ingredients with your other fingers.  Slowly roll into a cylinder, while moving the rolling mat out of the way (so it doesn’t get rolled into the sushi).  At the top of the roll, wet the uncovered seam of nori with water and complete the roll.

6.  Wet a sharp knife and cut roll in half.  Then cut each half into four pieces.   Continue to wet knife in between cuts to prevent sticking (I like to have a tall glass of water to dip the knife into).

Enjoy!

Advertisements

21 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Children, Sides

21 responses to “Bean Bean Sushi: Creative Sushi Making with Kids

  1. This looks like so much fun. I think Julian would have a blast making sushi with cooked meats in it. I have made sushi at home before with raw tuna but he didn’t like it.

  2. I have to say, I lvoe the idea of green bean sushi. Never had anything like it, but I may have to use your son’s brilliant idea!

  3. This is fabulous and how creative your son is. I love that bean roll but maybe not with the ketchup. hehe. All the rolls look really tasty. Thanks for the rolling tips on the inside out, that one is hard to do. Have a wonderful day.

    • I know — it sounds gross, right? He also loves Omu Rice, which is a modern Japanese dish that entails loads of ketchup mixed with cooked rice as well, so it’s not THAT far a stretch! ha ha

  4. I love making homemade sushi, the grilled salmon wasabi variety you made sounds delicious!

  5. Sorry about your thumb!! That is no fun…we will miss your posts. Thanks for the inspiration. My little one is starting to get into sushi and i know if we make it together she will be more into it

  6. Amy

    You make sushi sound so approachable and easy! I am intrigued by the steamed green beans and ketchup combo, I would love to try it ;)!

  7. These look so fresh and lovely! Your son is quite creative in the kitchen, wow what an inspiring combo 🙂
    Sorry about your thumb, hope it gets better quickly, and happy 2012!

  8. Love Sushi for flavour and it being gluten free ( if I don’t take the fried items one) but never tried my hand at home.

  9. I used to make sushi at my friend’s house all of the time. We usually stuck to the traditional vegetables, your son is much more creative. Hope your thumb gets better soon!

  10. Jan

    I really need to start making sushi at home ’cause I love it so much. I’d definitely eat the bean sushi, but I’m a big fan of ketchup and rice 😉

  11. Hope your thumb gets better! I injured mine last year while taking a can of condensed milk out of the pantry. It slipped out of my hands, bounced up, hit something, then came down and hit my finger hard enough to bruise the nail.
    About the sushi, can you just substitute seasoned rice vinegar for the sugar and salt in the rice? I’m wondering because I bought the seasoned kind on accident and discovered I really like how it tastes on vegetables. Does it have enough sweetness to toss with sushi rice? Sorry if this is the dumbest question in the world.

    • That’s crazy about your thumb too!
      Did you try it with the seasoned rice vinegar yet? It’s entirely subjective, I think. I like to add a bit of sugar even with the seasoned rice vinegar (but not salt), but it may be OK for your tastes without it. I’d try it with a small sampling first to see.

  12. I love this post! I have always wanted to make sushi and your pictures make it look both worthwhile and absolutely fun 😀

    Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s