Pantry Sushi

We love Japanese food—the children especially are crazy about the non-raw sushi at our local restaurants. We make an Italian-influenced version of sushi tonight as a children’s kitchen activity. Arborio rice, mascarpone cheese, canned salmon and vegetables become the fillings for the Japanese nori sheets available at grocery stores. It is fun and the fillings can easily be varied depending on what it is in house.

Servings and Times

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Tools and Appliances

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We start by cooking the rice. In a medium pot, we combine the rice and water, add a teaspoon of salt, and put the pot, uncovered, over high heat.

While we wait for the water to boil, we combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and a teaspoon of salt in a measuring cup. We put it in the microwave and heat it for 30 seconds. We want the sugar to dissolve. We stir well and refrigerate until the rice is ready.

When the water for the rice starts boiling, we turn the heat down to medium. After about 8 minutes, small craters appear on the surface of the rice as the water that had been above the rice evaporates. We cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

When the rice is done, we place it in a very large bowl. We toss the rice quickly with a spatula, sprinkling with the refrigerated vinegar mixture. We want to cool the rice quickly and allow the rice to absorb the vinegar.

When the rice is cool and the vinegar absorbed, we set it aside covered with a damp paper towel.

At this point, we get all the fillings ready. We have bowls for the salmon, corn, water chestnuts, and the mascarpone. On a piece of foil with sides folded up, we pour the sesame seeds and put them in the toaster oven. We heat the seeds at 350° F for a few minutes to toast.

We cover our small bamboo sushi rolling mat with plastic wrap and place it on top of our cutting board. We place a nori sheet, shiny side down, on the mat, and cover it with a ½ inch layer of sushi rice, leaving an inch border on all sides. As we work the sushi, we wash our hands often, which keeps things sanitary and helps to spread the rice.

On top of the rice, we add some sesame seeds, salmon, corn, water chestnuts, and mascarpone, as desired. We tend to add too many fillings! Using the mat, we roll the nori around the fillings as tightly as we can.

We add rice to the outside of some. For these, we place the nori sheet shiny side up, cover it with rice, sprinkle with seeds, and then flip over. We then continue as above. We refrigerate any leftover fillings and wrap up the rest of the package of nori sheets.

When we have the sheets filled, we cut each roll into 1-inch pieces, with a serrated knife dipped in water. We serve with soy sauce and wasabi.

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