I have a potluck bbq to go to tonight and for a few days I couldn't decide what to bring. Some kind of bean salad? Healthy, but ... boring? Fruit salad maybe, but what if other people bring the same thing? A dessert is always fun but everyone brings desserts because they are easy. I thought about it for a little while and decided that what I really wanted to bring was sushi. Of course. :)
But I worried that since it's at my boss' house and he is planning to grill, that bringing raw fish would either be too much of an upstage (assuming it was good) or would be just strange. But then I remembered this picture (scroll down for the pictures) I had seen long ago (though not nearly as long ago as the date on that page implies). And although I knew I couldn't make something as pretty as that, I hoped I could make something tasty and fun.
After looking around on the internet for other photos and ideas, I went out shopping for fruit. I raced over to Sue's Produce yesterday after reading here that they close at 6:00, got there with ten minutes to spare and then discovered that they now stay open until 7. So I browsed around for a little bit and bought waaaaaay more than I needed. But a whole pint of blueberries for $2? I had to buy two. (I am sure I will find another use for them.)
Then last night I did a trial run, using some hungry friends as taste tasters. I sweetened (and stickified) the rice by using sweetened condensed milk (and for today's sushi I also added some lychee juice I had leftover from a can of lychees to the rice while it was cooking in the rice cooker). The fruit I used was mango, kiwi, banana, and some berries.
The first thing I learned is that it's really, really hard to make maki without something like nori. Last night I tried using fruit rollups, but they didn't hold the rice well enough and the taste was just really artificial and overpowering. (I would recommend making homemade fruit rollups or trying something like rice paper.) Today I tried using really thin slices of cucumber (sliced with a cheese slicer) and that not only works better, but it tastes better too (particularly with strawberries). But it still doesn't work great, so I only made two maki rolls and salvaged only about half of the pieces each time by reconstructing them individually with my hands.
Here is what I made today for the bbq. (I think I'm going to have to replace the banana pieces. It's been a couple of hours and they are pretty brown by now.)
Nirigi Sushi: Mango with Blueberries (cut underneath), Kiwi with Raspberries,
and Banana with both Raspberries and Blueberries
Maki Sushi: Mango, Strawberries, and Raspberries, wrapped in thinly sliced Cucumber
Nirigi Sushi: Mango, Banana with Raspberry Jam, and Kiwi with Raspberry Jam
Maki Sushi: Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blueberries, wrapped in thinly sliced Cucumber
I've tried the leftovers of the maki that fell apart, and it's good!! But just in case this doesn't go over well with everyone, I'm off to make a little bit of veggie sushi as well (this time with regular non-sweetened sushi rice).