How I Roll

Sushi, probably the best-known definition of Japan and the Japanese cuisine, is definitely one of my favorite things to eat and make myself. Rather than the conventional white rice rolls and balls topped with all sorts of sea creatures, I prefer to jazz things up a bit. By “a bit” I mean skipping the rice, which technically makes these rolls not sushi, since sushi is based on su-meshi¬†rice. Sushi or not, these rolls are as modifiable as far as your imagination goes, and my results have always been rather pleasing.

Here’s few ideas on What and How to Roll.
If you want your rolls raw, opt for ingredients that require no cooking (duh). If heating is not a problem, then you have more options to choose from. Since there is no need for washing, soaking, boiling and waiting for the rice to cool, the rolls are ready to be devoured quite quickly. Fast food at its’ best, specially if you don’t cut them!

Step 1: “Rice”
First of all, the base of the roll doesn’t need to be rice-like. You can opt for quinoa in stead of rice, or puree or chop some cauliflower into tiny bits to make it resemble rice (add some cashews for extra creaminess). Sprouts, salad or chopped cabbage work as well – the result just won’t be so conventional sushi-like. If you use cabbage, sprinkle it with some salt and squeeze excess liquid out. Mixing some chia seeds in gives more texture, but also helps to bind the moisture. If the base is too moist, it might be hard to roll and the nori might break.

Chopped veggies for filling
Chopped veggies for filling

Step 2. Veggies
Go crazy. Anything works – the more color, the prettier! Avocado gives creaminess, carrots and bell peppers are nice and crunchy, mushrooms are always good…try your favorites, but don’t over-stuff the roll – you’re supposed to be able to actually roll it (or then just eat it like a temaki handroll, but still it shouldn’t be too fat). If you wish, season the fillings with wasabi, pepper or which ever spices you wish.

Few favorite combos:
Sprouts, avocado, fresh mint and mango
Cauliflower “rice”, avocado, cucumber, red bell pepper
Salad, strawberries, cucumber, fresh basil

Cabbage-chia (mushroom powder) base with veggies, ready to be rolled
Cabbage-chia (and mushroom powder) base with veggies, ready to be rolled

Step 3: Ready to Roll
Place a nori sheet on a dry cutting board (or use sushi bamboo rolling mat). Spread your “rice” evenly, leave about 1/3 of the top of the nori without filling. Top the “rice” evenly with veggies, and hope for the best. Moisten the top edge with water, fold the front edge over the fillings. Keep rolling until the end, making a firm tube. Place the seam on the cutting board, and use your best knife to cut even pieces.

Quality nori and knife are essential in cutting the rolls
Quality nori and sharp knife are essential in cutting the rolls!

 

The rolls are best served with tamari/shoyu soy sauce, with gari (pickled ginger). And what’s sushi without misoshiru (soup)? Oh, and edamame (soy beans) would make a perfect appetizer to this. All to be enjoyed with a nice pot of sake and a cup of green tea, of course.

Itadakimasu!
Itadakimasu!

Have you tried making sushi yourself? What is your favorite kind of sushi – conventional, fusion or other?

Advertisements

THE cake

Usually, if “everyone” else is doing something, I try to swim against the current – or at least I don’t admit that I am one of “them”. In this case, (I typoed cake) my defense is that I was happily here in Hong Kong, flippin’ my pancakes just like no one’s business, and then it started to appear in my Facebook stream and blogs all over Finland. I don’t know about the rest of the world, and sharing is caring – especially when it comes to all things yum-yum good. Therefore, I am proud to present you: the ridiculously simple, versatile, (and healthy) Protein Pancake! It has been a while since I posted about food, but I’d say this was worth the wait.

So…to the cake.

Banana pancake, by Dita Margarita
Banana pancake, by Dita Margarita

Ingredients
– 2 eggs (or egg white and one whole egg, or 2 whites and one whole, however and which color you like)
– Banana (preferably ripe, dotted and smushy)
– Coconut oil or butter for frying (or any other oil you wish to use)

That’s it. You mash the banana and whisk (or blend) it with the eggs. How ever lumpy you like it, go for it. Fry on medium heat, flip and munch away!

But…that’s not all. With this simple base, you can go beyond bananas! My imagination has led to the following conclusions for successful additions:
– Oats. You can either roast them on the pan for a nuttier, crunchier consistency, or let them soak in the base mix for a while before frying
– Nuts (cashew, dry roasted peanuts). Roast, and crunch on top of the pancake before flipping
Chocolate chips cocoa nibs. Nuff said.
– Grated ginger. Gives a nice fresh touch
– Cinnamon powder/vanilla or cacao, to smoothen out the banana flavor
– Powder. Your preferred protein powder, herb blend or cordyceps would boost this baby to a new level
– Coconut/almond flour for thicker pancakes: I haven’t tried, but I saw someone did it and apparently it worked since it was worth a blog post
– Chia seeds/quinoa, again for the mouth feel (and added nutrients)

And what comes to toppings….well, use your imagination. I’ll give just few personal favorites: baked fruit pieces (apples, pear), honey (erhm, nut butter…).

This pancake makes a great breakfast, lunch, dinner, post-workout treat or a midnight snack, and seriously, I have yet to discover what could be easier to make. Since I am not a big fan of banana, I will try substitutions for that: maybe avocado or over-ripe papaya would work. And I’ll promise to try my best to get a good picture of the pancakes before eating them.

Have you heard of this miracle before? What is your favorite combo?

Work or Play?

Time in Hong Kong, well, despite being a huge clichè, it flies. My weekdays I spend happy in our Happy Valley office, doing various tasks for Four Sigma Foods. My title is marketing assistant, which suits me pretty well.

Guess how many sachets it took for the perfect shot...
Guess how many sachets it took for the perfect shot…

From pretending to do sports to behind the camera.

My great moment as a photographer
My great moment as a photographer

The photo shoot last week was for our upcoming product catalogue, which my actual task was to write the texts for.
Besides gulping down the Instant drinks and writing to FSF blog about interesting people and herbs, I have been able to try different working methods, and most of all, learn something new every day. We’ve had workshops about self-leadership and self-development, and there’s more to come! Unless my brain explodes from all the new things and good stuff around me, I bet this trainee time will be something quite spectacular.

Life is pretty sweet over here in Hong Kong, and the weather forecast for today is mild 27C! Oh Finland, I miss your snow not.

Banana, coconut cream and sunflower seeds spiked with some brain powder
Banana, coconut cream and sunflower seeds spiked with some brain powder

The recipe for the divine Instant fruit dessert/snack is so ridiculously easy and modifiable that I don’t know if it can even be called a recipe. Aaaanyways, here goes:

Mix coconut cream with your favorite fruits, such as banana, mango, apples or pear. If you want to take the treat up a notch, add some nuts, seeds, toasted coconut flakes, cocoa nibs or whatever you fancy. Finish it all off with basically any of the Instants, I used Lion’s Mane (previously known as Brainpower) which is specially good for your cognition and concentration. Mmmm.