Monday, 10 January 2011


In the last of sushi hurdles to clear, we tried our hands at temaki-zushi. Which is to say, hand-rolls. Temaki-zushi sounds much more exotic though, as if we might actually be far more worldly than we are.

The Cook the Books book club selection this month was Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto by Victoria Abbot Riccardi.We read the book, we cook up something that is inspired from reading it.

The book chronicles Victoria's adventures as an educated but restless young woman who takes leave of her life to learn tea kaiseki in Kyoto. Tea kaiseki, as you may have guessed, is actually fairly refined and dainty. I'm more like her talks a little too loud and smells like garlic boyfriend. Lacking in refinement, even in my advancing years. So, instead of carving flowers out of wheat gluten, I made something that I have always wanted to try, something Japaneseish, temaki-zushi.

I have actually been to Kyoto (Japan), spending perhaps a little less time there than Victoria, but remembering nothing. Which is how I remember most countries that I have been to. Which is to say, I don't. But I like to think that years of being dragged around the world as an infant somehow left some sort of imprint on me. Hopefully some of it good.

One thing I do know - sushi is delicious. Sure, North Americans have made it their own. I'm okay with that. I think whoever invented the California Roll was a genius. But I have made them before, time to take a leap and try something new - thus the hand rolls. And, as easy as they look? I found it actually harder to shape them than maki (rolls). But once they sealed they looked adorable in my ice cream cone holders, don't you think? Yeah, not exactly traditional, but what can you do?

adapted from Japan Centre News


• Nori Seaweed
Sushi Rice - ½ batch
• Avocado
• Radish Sprouts (or cucumber spears)
• ½ lb Shrimp, peeled and deviened, marinated in some soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and garlic for ½ hour, then sauteed and cooled.
• Rice vinegar
• Wasabi


1. Make the sushi rice, season.

2. Prepare the avocado into thin lengths and cut the sheets of Nori seaweed into 4 square pieces.

3. Place one of the squares of Nori seaweed in your dry hands.

4. Add a thin layer of rice on one half of the Nori.

5. Smear on a bit of wasabi

6. Start adding the ingredients on top of the rice.

7. Wet the edges with a bit of vinegar. Roll the Nori into a cone with your hands. Seal.

8. Your Temaki-Zushi is now ready to eat, enjoy! Serve with some Japanese soy sauce for dipping.