The word “sushi” brings forth visions of a wonderful meal for some people and a horrible one for others. It’s probably safe to say that most people in the second group haven’t even tasted raw fish, but the idea of it gives them the willies.
Without forcing anyone to eat something they don’t want to taste, non-sushi diners should know that they are missing out on so many good flavors.
Sushi is traditionally defined as a Japanese dish of vinegar-flavored rice in small balls or rolls, topped with raw fish, egg or a variety of vegetables. But that’s “traditional” sushi. Today it’s a whole new rice ball game.
First of all, just about every sushi house these days will also have some cooked items available on their menus. Frequently, cooked options will be chicken or beef teriyaki, shrimp and vegetable tempura, miso soup, dumplings and more. So, go eat with you friends who like sushi; you’ll eat well, too.
Next, menus frequently include sushi that is prepared with cooked seafood such as shrimp, scallops and eel. You may even find sushi rolls that are cooked tempura style (fried in a crispy light batter), a delight for any palate.
Vegetarian sushi is also very common. It can contain avocados, mushrooms, onions, cucumber, carrots and more to create tasty meatless options.
Vegans have also embraced sushi in their food renaissance with the opening of totally vegan sushi bars and restaurants in some larger cities. Talented chefs nationwide are creating new flavors and recreating old favorites without the use of animals or their by-products, making sushi a guilt-free dining experience.
And finally, Make-It-Yourself Sushi is the latest trend. Some people will still include raw fish in their options, but traditions are gone and everything’s on the table. There’s barbecued pulled-pork sushi, steak fajita sushi, Italian meatball sushi and anything you can think of. Simpler sushi can include ham, cheese, bacon, peanut butter, jelly, salami and any of your favorite luncheon meats. Whatever flavors you like, you can make them into sushi, and kids love the interactive aspect of creating their own sushi.
With a simple beginner’s sushi making kit ranging from $7-$15 you can have a sushi mat to spread out the rice, place your toppings in a line through the center and roll it up.
With the submarine sushi kit, you get a tube or pipe that opens on a hinge into two halves. You load both halves with rice, leaving a hollow down the center. Then load in your fillings and close it up. There is a plunger on one end that you press, and out comes your sushi roll, just like Play-Doh. Voilà!
You could even have a sushi party where guests bring their favorite fillings; everyone gets to try something new. The number one rule is to enjoy the flavors you like and don’t worry about what everyone else likes.
Sushi, it’s not just for raw fish eaters anymore!