My love affair with sushi started when I was in high school. My boyfriend then, and his mom, took me to eat sushi at the one Japanese style restaurant we had in our small town of Kodiak. I had never tried it before (my parents were definitely not sushi eaters). When I received my meal, I couldn’t figure out what the little green paste-like substance was on my plate; they told me it was a form of avocado. “Eat it! You’ll love it!” they said.
I’m ashamed to admit I totally fell for it, and instantly regretted it. The green paste-like substance was wasabi, otherwise known as Japanese Horseradish.
I like Wikipedia’s explanation of wasabi best:
Its root is used as a condiment and has an extremely strong flavor. Its hotness is more akin to that of a hot mustard than that of the capsaicin in a chili pepper, producing vapours that stimulate the nasal passages more than the tongue.
I cried like a baby, drank water like I was dying, and swore revenge on my then-boyfriend and his mom (she is a doll, by the way… wasabi incident aside).
But I fell in love that night… not with the boyfriend, but with the food. It was amazing, fresh, the flavor combinations danced on my tongue and did the happy dance in my belly. Okay, maybe they didn’t do the happy dance, but you know what I’m saying… 😉
I love sushi, and even wasabi has grown on me over the years; I’ve just learned less is more.
The idea of making sushi rolls for the girls came to mind as I was desperately trying to figure out what to feed them one day at lunch. The fridge was running on near empty, but I had little bits left over of this and that. I decided to roll the “this and that” up in a sushi roll… thank God it was an instant hit!
These little rolls are the perfect whole food finger food (say that 10 times fast) that kids will love. Kylie was even asking if I could teach her how to make them the next time around (that’s a really good sign).
Grain Free Sushi for Kids:
cooked turkey or chicken breast, cooled and cut into long thin strips
carrot sticks, thinly sliced
cucumber, cut into long thin pieces
avocado, sliced thinly
goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
sushi nori (I use this one)
- Cooked shrimp or fish would be an excellent substitute for the turkey or chicken breast.
- Use whatever veggies you like; be creative – there are no rules to this type of sushi making. You could even throw in slices of mango or other fruit.
- I am not an expert on sushi, nor am I am expert on sushi nori. I only use this particular brand (link above) because it’s what the Asian market worker recommended.
- Nori can be somewhat chewy. I recommend slicing the rolls extra thin for younger children (ages 3-5). Parents, please use discretion.
- Place a single piece of nori, rough side up, on a sushi rolling mat (you do not have to have a sushi mat to make these rolls; however, I highly recommend it).
- In a row across the mid-bottom, layer the ingredients on the nori similiar to what I have in the picture directly above. You’ll notice my ingredients are evenly distributed horizontally across the nori.
- Brush the top part of the nori with water.
- Starting with the side closest to you (the bottom), tightly roll the nori until it is closed (the sushi rolling mat is especially helpful for this) and press to seal.
- Using a wet knife, cut your sushi into 8 – 10 pieces. Serve immediately.