Growing up, rice was my staple diet. I had it most days, and if I had my way, I would’ve had it for most meals. Slathered in ketchup and maybe a bit of sweet corn thrown in, it didn’t take a lot to make me happy at meal times.
Now I’m not so much of a ketchup lover, but rice still has a big place in my heart. So, I think it’s only natural that I developed an insane love for sushi. I tried it for the first time about a year ago, but it only took one bite for me to realize what I’d been missing all this time. But like so many things, I was sure homemade was the way to go, so I was determined to make my own. I researched it, and in theory, it didn’t look that hard. And I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy it was to make.
My sister and I are a sushi rolling dream team. And I have to say, our sushi is by far the best that I’ve ever tasted! After a while I started looking for new ways to make it. There’s so many different varieties of sushi out there, from nigiri, temaki and uramaki, that I had a lot of choice. So, I made a few different ones, and loved the change.
That’s when I found possibly the greatest invention in the history of food… Onigirazu, also known as a sushi sandwich. It’s completely amazing, and really is part sushi and part sandwich. In simple terms Onigirazu is a massive piece of sushi! And the beauty behind this is that you can add absolutely anything you want to it. The fillings can range from chicken to pork, I’ve even seen eggs! The aim is layering and really packing it out so that you can get optimal flavours.
For my first attempt I thought that I’d go with something a bit simple, so opted for a veggie version. But to be honest, this is my favourite type of sushi anyway. I added Chinese lettuce, grated beetroot, mashed avocado mixed with a hint of wasabi and grated carrot in between my two layers of rice. But it is just a matter of personal taste, and you can experiment with whatever takes your fancy. The main aim is to make everything as compact as you can, so that it stays together and you can add as many layers as you want. The more colourful the better!
With this, it’s important that you add some kind of sauce. This gives it a flavour boost, and also makes it less stodgy in your mouth. For me, it’s all about the mashed avocado, I mixed this with a tiny bit of wasabi to give it a kick. I also mixed mirin in with my cooked sushi rice which I found gave it a bit of a sweet boost. I wasn’t sure if you ate it with soy sauce like traditional sushi, so I bought a small pot along with me. Luckily, I found that for the sushi I made, the soy sauce was an added bonus. But if you’re using egg or meat fillings, then you may want to give it a miss.
It’s perfect for lunch, and makes a nice change from the traditional bread sandwich. It’s quick to eat, and surprisingly easy to make. Not to mention, how completely yummy it is. And although it may not look it, it’s actually really filling, and one big sandwich is more than enough. But that’s probably because I put so much filling in my one!
So, if you love sushi, or are just looking for something new to try, then you definitely this need to give these a go. It may seem a bit complicated, but if you’ve ever made sushi before, you’ll know just how easy it is! The hardest part is probably wrapping up the nori, and at one point I was sure that I’d filled it too much. But it folded up and was better for having more in it.
Did I mention? It’s gluten free and can be made completely vegan. So, it’s perfect if you’re following a specific diet. Move aside bread, from now on it’s all about the sushi sandwich.
I opted for a veggie version of this sandwich, but you can fill it will whatever you like for a tasty lunchtime treat
What You Need:
- Nori Seaweed Sheet
- Sushi Rice
- 1 Fresh Beetroot, Grated
- 1 Fresh Carrot, Grated
- Avocado, Mashed Up
- Wasabi Sauce
- Chinese Leaf, Thinly Diced
- Pinch of Salt
- Soy Sauce to Serve (Optional)
- Start by cooking your rice according to package instructions, and prep your fillings.
- Once drained and rinsed, add mirin to the rice a few drops at a time, thoroughly mixing it in until desired taste is reached. My personal favourite is Clearspring Organic Mikawa Mirin.
- Place of piece of cling film down, this needs to be slightly bigger than your nori sheet so it can wrap around the finished onigirazu.
- Put your nori sheet on top of the cling film, placing it at an angle so it’s resembles a diamond. Make sure it’s placed shiny side down!
- With a wet spoon, add a thick layer of sushi rice to the centre of the sheet, in a rough 9cm square. Ensure that you really press it down with the back of the spoon to make it nice and compact.
- Add a very light sprinkling of salt to the rice layer. This helps to preserve the onigirazu, and allows it to last a bit longer.
- Next, add your second layer directly on top of the rice, again pressing it down so that it forms a solid square. I added Chinese leaf as my second layer to help hold it all together.
- Continue layering your fillings on top of each other, ensuring that you’re continuously pushing it down with the back of your spoon.
- After Chinese leaf I added grated beetroot, mashed avocado mixed with a blob of wasabi, grated carrot and another layer of rice on top.
- Now it’s time to start rolling it up. Pull the opposite corners towards each other, sticking them together by gently wetting your fingers and using the water as a form of ‘glue’. Be careful not to pull too tightly so that you don’t tear the nori sheet.
- Once all for corners are ‘glued’ together, use the cling film underneath the nori, and tightly wrap it up so that it holds it all together.
- Place a heavy weight on top of the cling filmed onigirazu and set it aside for about 5 minutes. Soething like a bread board or recipe book is perfect.
- Wet the blade of a sharp knife, remove the cling film from your sushi sandwich and cut the onigirazu in half.
- Eat either straight away, or place in an airtight box in the fridge for lunch the next day.
- And enjoy, lunch time has never been so good!
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