Monday, December 14, 2009

Raw Pumpkin Sushi Rolls


OK, I know I just lost the Deep South and Interior Farms portion of the readership with that title :) Who knew I love sushi rolls? I was very resistant for years until one day a friend decided to treat me to some (back then it more of a dare). It was unfamiliar territory, and I prefer salmon or avocado as the main ingredient inside mine. Old hat to most folks, but it was all new to me. I'm sort of a few decades behind whatever the current rage is...

But the kicker for me was this...my tastebuds fell head over heels with the combination of wasabi (for the uninitiated, it's a powerful Asian horseradish that can't adequately be described beyond "green," "potent," and "WOW") and soy sauce..mixed together and into which edibles all wrapped in substantial bites of rice (sometimes), a dry crisp seaweed sheet, and maybe rolled further in sesame seeds...are dipped. Into the sauce. Till they soak some of it up.

And your mouth goes POW. And then repeat.
Well, if it's an acquired taste, it didn't take me long to acquire it. Oh. My. Gosh...I love wasabi. I must have brain explosions of happy chemicals as a result of eating it, and it may be the closest substance in my life I probably need a 12 step program to address (heh heh) It's also about the only time I eat soy sauce, since I avoid most other soy like the plague. But anyway...

I used to visit a family-owned restaurant off and on when I lived in Memphis (it's no longer there now) and they served made-on-the-spot sushi rolls back when it was more of a novelty (well at least in Memphis it was). I liked the combination of avocado, minced carrot, cream cheese, minced shallot inside the seaweed sheet then rolled with rice around the outside and finally toasted sesame seeds. My body must have wanted the iodine or something in that seaweed, or maybe the wasabi, but several of my trepidatious friends, after trying these, became addicted, too. We called them "Robbyn rolls," and I wish I knew how to make them like Andy did. Andy barely spoke English and was from an undisclosed nation in Asia, but chose the name Andy for his English moniker, and he was the master touch for our veggie roll get-togethers. Thankfully they were inexpensive, so it was a fun way to while away some social time with friends over pots of hot green tea.

Well, I've failed miserably at making sushi, but I still keep trying.


Here's my latest attempt, but the NICE thing about this is that I was trying to find something that would hold together well but not have the consistency of carrot. Carrot's just not my favorite texture in a veggie roll. Enter the idea of pumpkin. Winter squash would work fine, too. I thought it might pair well when ultimately dipped in the wasabi/soy.

I peeled a piece of calabaza, which is simply a tropical pumpkin, and shredded it on one of those box shredders...I don't have a food processor and my blender would make mush of it. Instead of rice, I diced some cauliflower really fine, and layered it on a sheet of seaweed, cauliflower first and then the shredded pumpkin. Then I topped that with toasted sesame (I don't have any raw), and rolled it up and let it sit a minute. I put too much filling in this time, so they came out fat and bulky, but at least this time they held together all the way through this stage.

I sliced them carefully and turned them on their sides. But there is no way they were secure or small enough to hold together to dip. So I mixed up some soy sauce and wasabi (found in the ethnic section of the regular supermarket) and dribbled some over each roll, to soak into the filling (not the wrapping, or it would collapse). They held together well enough for me to pop them into my mouth and chew, so hey, I've improved!Ok, YES. YES YES YES. It worked! It's not going to replace the really great fillings that normally come with ones made by a pro. But the textures worked, the flavors worked, the taste was great!! (But I say that meaning that ONLY with the wasabi/soy mix does it taste right...otherwise, not so much)

Can we say YAYYY??? All of it was raw but the sesame seeds. It would taste even more wonderful with a little cream cheese inside. But that'll hafta wait...

I can SO handle eating this again :) And I just found a fun use for our pumpkins, woo!

I've included pictures of my victims (the ingredients). While not the most artistic, my tastebuds and wasabi-craving brain receptors did not complain :)

10 comments:

Paulette said...

Totally awesome, I LOVE sushi rolls and I love pumpkin, that looks delicious. I don't have the nerve to tackle it yet, but it looks like you have it figured out.

Paulette said...

oh...when I ate white mashed potatoes (before last week :-) I'd mix wasabi in them. Soooo good.

Happy Hermit said...

now thats one I hadn't thought of SQUASH !!
We do Sushi here all the time , takes some time to get good at making it , but when you finally get it , its insanely easy !!

Robbyn said...

Paulette, me too me too me too :)...ok why did I never think of wasabi in potatoes? I love horseradish of all types, but the Passover beet 'n horseradish...and wasabi...are neck and neck!

Hermit, I'd love to see you make a video of how to make sushi, if it's easy. I peeked at your blog and saw your list of How To videos, but haven't had time to watch them yet (but I will!) :)


Robbyn :)

Melodie said...

I have never eaten any kind of sushi.After seeing your post I am ready to give it a try!

Michelle said...

I must be missing a certain gene or group of tastebuds, because I cannot stand horseradish OR wasabi! Love veggie rolls without it, though.

fullfreezer said...

Yum! That looks so good. I've got some seaweed and sushi rice that we need to use. Hmmmm.....
Judy

Happy Hermit said...

I will see what I can do about a sushi vid !! I will let you know when I get it !!

Mel said...

I just discovered the taste sushi myself. My favorites are california sushi rolls, with imitation lobster & avacado, Mmm, they are so yummy with wasabi.

Robbyn said...

Melodie, let me know what you think :)

Michelle, Jack's not a huge wasabi fan, either, but he loves the pickled ginger!

Judy, sounds delicious :)

HappyHermit, when you do, I'd love to see them :)

Mel, what is is about avocado that is so adaptable? I could put it with nearly every type of meal