For Meatless Friday this Lent, How About Sushi?
We're quickly coming upon Easter Sunday, after almost five weeks into the Lent season. This solemn 40-day observation inspires Catholics and people of various other denominations to give up on certain vices and live a more pared-down, ascetic lifestyle. One prevalent thing people give up during Lent is the consumption of meat on Fridays. As such, fish is a popular choice for Friday dinner. Friday fish fries are a popular event held in many communities, where people gorge on beer-battered fried fish. But if you ask me, having fish and chips every week cannot be great for you or your love handles. A healthy and tasty alternative would be to eat sushi instead.
Rather than going out to expensive sushi restaurants, you can save plenty of money by preparing sushi right at home. The ingredients required are quite simple-nori, rice, and sushi vinegar makes up the foundation of most rolls. And don't forget sushi ginger, which is munched on between and after sushi courses as a palate cleanser.
The hardest part of making sushi is actually rolling it up. The process is made much easier with help of either bamboo mats or this nifty Express Sushi Magic device that makes producing sushi rolls a no-brainer.
The kind of sushi most people in America find palatable is the ubiquitous sushi roll, with its various ingredients wrapped up in rice and seaweed paper, or nori. The California roll is a popular roll containing imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado, wrapped inside-out style with the rice on the outside and nori on the inside. Check out our recipe to recreate this widely-proliferated roll. Other popular rolls include the Philadelphia roll, which incorporates cream cheese, and spicy tuna roll, made with a spicy minced tuna mixture.
The purest form of sushi, some may say, is sashimi, which is simply slices of fresh, raw fish. Understandably, people are apprehensive about eating raw fish, gourmet or not. But dipped in the time-tested combo of soy sauce and wasabi, a sliver of salmon or tuna can taste heavenly.
Another type of sushi is nigiri, a molded ball of rice with a slice of fish on top. You may also top nigiri with non-raw-fish ingredients such as tamago (egg) and unagi (eel). Nigiri is meant to be eaten with your hands. Pick up a piece, dap it with a little sauce, and down the hatch it goes.
If the texture of raw fish is too out there for you, there are plenty of cooked item that goes into sushi as well that will not break the rule of meatless Fridays. Braised eel, is a popular cooked sushi component. With a texture similar to fish but more fatty, eel is served grilled and topped with a smoky sauce that is sure to satisfies anyone's taste buds. You may also use cooked shrimp or imitation crab, but really, any ingredient is fair game.
It can be great fun to mix and match different ingredients when putting together your rolls. Experiment with different flavors, and above all, have fun! Do not give into sushi snobs who insist on labeling rolls as either "real" sushi or not. Sushi is meant to be an all-inclusive experience, so put in your personal touch to get the most enjoyment out of your cooking.
You may find eating fresh fish and sushi so delicious that you decide to eat it year round, long past Easter. Sushi can even be considered a kosher food, given the heavy dependence on fish rather than meat. With its range of flavors and utmost emphasis on freshness, sushi is a food for people of all creeds.