Last week, I was able to travel to Okinawa, Japan to visit family. I met my mom and we had a great time experiencing Japanese/Okinawan culture. Most of my relatives speak as much English as I speak Japanese. Just a scoshie. I watched carefully as my cousin Kaori and her sisters in law prepared a huge meal. Sushi, Soba, Shrimp rolls, salad made with Goya (a weird, bumpy green veggie found in Okinawa) and many other types of speciality dishes. We ate and laughed, and I realized then more than ever before, how food unites us. Sharing meals and cooking together can bridge language barriers we may have- kind of like smiles. Hope you enjoy these pics, and the following recipe for Simple Sushi. I love the way they served it on a big platter with all types of fillings. Every year on Christmas Eve, we make sushi rolls with my mom. We order Chinese takeout, make sushi and tempura, and have an Asian dinner. We usually make individual (Maki) rolls. But this method is much easier and allows everyone to build their own roll. Just spread the seasoned rice over the seaweed wrapper, top with your favorite raw fish, shrimp, vegetables and fold over. Oishi!
One of my cousin's kids, with a giant sushi roll.
Beautiful hand made shrimp roll.
A salmon and almond appetizer.
The feast prepared by my family!
This was yummy.
My fav, noodles.
The national vegetable, Goya.
Eaten in salads, stir fry, deep fried. Remove seeds first.
7-8 cups white sticky rice, cooked, hot
1/2 to 3/4 cups rice vinegar "for sushi"
Nori seaweed dark green, in sheets
assorted vegetables - avocado, cucumber, scallions,mushrooms dried or fresh
assorted raw fish sliced thin or shrimp
Soy sauce, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi
Combine the hot rice and rice vinegar, a little vinegar at a time. Gently fold together. When mixed and rice is desired flavor, set aside on large platter or bowl. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
Serve with assorted filling ingredients. Stack Nori seaweed next to the rice, along side the veggies and fish. Let each guest spread the seaweed wrapper with a thin layer of rice, then top with fillings. Fold over to make a giant roll!
1) Prepare all ingredients while the rice is cooking.
2) Brown rice does not form a firm roll. The flavor of the brown rice doesn't compliment the fillings.
3) Sushi tastes best right when you make it. If you have to refrigerate, let it warm up to room temperature before eating for best flavor.
4) Extras-must haves - Wasabi, soy sauce in small bowls for dipping, pickled sliced ginger, ohashi (chop sticks).
A couple of other dishes I ate while in Okinawa...
actually, I passed these little guys to my mom.
Really delicious, but chewy seaweed tempura.
Another favorite - gyoza.