My family loves sushi. If we’re planning on eating out, my kids are almost always ready to go out to a Japanese restaurant. Most of the time I’m on board ;), but a few years ago I decided that if they love it so much, I better try making it at home. At first, this was a challenge as I couldn’t get the ratio of the rice quite right during cooking, or I would add too much rice to the roll and it would be far too thick. But after a couple of tries I began to get the hang of it. I say all of this to encourage you to keep trying even if your first batch isn’t a complete hit ;). If you follow my instructions below it will be good, but you will perfect it over time to your liking. Making sushi can be time consuming to make during the week because the rice requires a few steps. But if you plan ahead, it is quite feasible. Cooking the rice the day before helps speed up the process and you can get the whole family involved in the preparation process. You can have the veggies sliced and ready to go and have everyone roll their own sushi rolls. This could be a great replacement for Friday night pizza traditions! Sushi is actually a go to school lunch for my kids. I cook the rice and place it in an airtight container and prepare the rolls the night before and wrap them with plastic wrap. In the morning I slice them and pack them in small containers and off they go! It’s a nice treat for them and makes mornings a bit easier for me. Nice win-win!
You’ll notice in my instructions that I have a step for soaking the rice overnight prior to cooking it. This is an additional step to most recipes, but I do it to improve the nutritional benefits of the rice. Soaking doesn’t only impact taste but also helps the food to become more digestible and nourishing. Grains contain phytic acid which is the major storage form of phosphorous in grains, legumes, oil seeds and nuts. Phytic acid is known as a food inhibitor which chelates minerals and prevents it from being bioavailabe because humans lack the enzyme phytase in their digestive tract to properly digest phytic acid. Soaking, along with fermentation has been traditionally used to reduce the phytic acid content in food and improve the nutritional value. Many studies have been conducted to assess the absorption rate of nutrients. It’s been reported that phytic acid inhibits absorption of iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and manganese. Removal of phytic acid therefore increases bioavailability of many minerals and therefore increases the nutritional value of meal. I find it so interesting that traditional cooking methods often make scientific sense.
Lara’s tip: Soak brown rice 12-24 hours prior to cooking to help it become more digestible and improve the bioavailability of nutrients.
To soak the rice, place in a ceramic or glass dish, cover with warm water and add to it 1-2 tsp of some type of acid. I like to use apple cider vinegar or lemon. I always have apple cider vinegar on hand so that’s what I generally use. I usually soak it overnight but you can leave it for 24 hours as well. If you’d like to learn more about phytic and soaking grains check out what Kelly has to say at the nourishing home.
If you give this a try I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave comments below.
- 2.5 cups filtered or spring water (more for soaking)
- 1.5 cups short grain brown rice
- 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. coconut sugar
- ½ tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 sweet potato
- ½ tbsp avocado or sesame oil
- salt to taste
- 8 sheets of nori - dried seaweed
- 1 carrot julienned
- ½ English cucumber julienned
- 2 avocados sliced into ½ inch slices
- 1 mango julienned
- pickled ginger
- Soak rice in warm water with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon for 12-24 hours. When ready, rinse rice until the water is clear and no longer cloudy.
- Place rinsed rice in a cooking pot, add salt and water and place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer with the pot covered until the water has fully evaporated, approximately 40 minutes. During this time, do not open the pot. After 40 minutes, open the pot to check if the rice has cooked through. Once fully cooked, set aside and allow to rest for 15 minutes keeping the pot covered.
- Remove from the pot and place in a bowl and allow to cool. Once fully cooled, mix the vinegar, coconut sugar and tamari/soy sauce until the sweetener has disintegrated and place over the rice. Mix with a wooden sushi spoon until fully incorporated.
- Preheat oven to 400. Slice sweet potatoes into ½ inch slices and lightly coat with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt. Place baking sheet into preheated oven and warm for 5 minutes. Place coated sweet potatoes on warmed baking sheet and bake for approx. 20 minutes, turning over once at the 15 minute mark. Remove from the oven once soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Cut into strips and set aside until you're prepared to make the sushi.
- Grab your sushi mat and cover it with plastic wrap on both sides of the mat. This makes cleanup easier (so you're not cleaning sticky rice from them mat afterwards). Place a sheet of nori on the mat and using a wooden sushi spatula, pat a very thin layer of rice all over the nori. I like to use ½ cup of rice per sheet of nori.
- Arrange a generous serving of your veggies in a line at the bottom ¾ of the rice closest to you. Start to roll the nori and rice over with your fingers, and once the veggies are covered, roll the mat over to shape and compress the roll. Continue until it’s all the way rolled up. Slice with a very sharp knife. Serve immediately or wrap an uncut roll with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for consumption the next day.