Go ahead. Dig right in and take your pick of the sodium-free sushi you see before you. Handmade by yours truly.
I know what you’re thinking. Sushi? But that’s super high in sodium? And you’re right to wonder what I’m doing with a fistful of rice-y rounds as most sushi, that you will find at your favorite neighborhood haunt, does contain an enormous amount of sodium. This is because most nori (or seaweed) is high in sodium and traditional sushi rice is made with water, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Then add in soy sauce for dipping and you’ve got yourself a Japanese salt lick. But, as with many foods, it is quite simple to make low sodium adjustments at home and meet your sushi cravings without all the salt.
Now, if you like what you see above, but think that it takes skill (ha!) or extensive training abroad, let me tell you this: I’ve never been to Japan (although I’m dying to go…hint.hint.hint) and I’ve actually never taken a single sushi making class in my life. Clearly, if you are going to work behind a glass-counter bar at some of the hottest sushi spots in the world, you’ll have to subscribe to years of instruction in order to master the art of making maki. But if you are simpy trying to fill a delicacy desire, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty (or more appropriately, sticky).
These savory bites only require a few simple steps and some traditional tools. And with a few pointers, care of my good friend Lisa – who practically had every birthday dinner at the local sushi spot growing up – you will be able to rice, rattle, and roll on your own, creating a platter full of delectable, raw-fish nibbles that are Sodium Girl safe. So pick up some fish and get that rice steaming and remember, if there is something that seems low sodium impossible, there’s usually a way to make it work.
- 2 cups sushi or short grain rice
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Package of no sodium nori sheets
- No sodium wasabi powder (just mix with water to create paste)
- Sushi fillings: raw fish, avocado, apple, mango, asparagus, sliced cucumber, sliced bell pepper, green onions
- No salt added Furikake and/or sesame seeds
1. Since we are not going for traditional sushi here, I usually skip the whole “rice rinsing” procedure and put the rice and water directly into the rice cooker.
2. Once it is done, transfer the fluffy rice to a bowl and mix in the sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil. Then transfer to a cookie sheet and spread thin, so the rice can cool.
3. While rice is taking a time-out to lose its heat, prep your sushi filling. You want your veggies to be thinly sliced and easy to munch on (so if you are using asparagus, give it a quick boil first to soften). And don’t be afraid to use your imagination and be fearless with the ingredients you have sitting in your fridge. If you are using raw fish, take a trip to your local Japanese market as they usually have prepackaged cuts of sushi-grade tuna, yellowtail, and salmon – all low in sodium. If you want to go to your local grocer, just ask if the fish is sushi grade. If it is not, soak in a citrus marinade and give it a quick sear in a pan to kill any bacteria.
4. Now that the rice and “stuffing” are prepped, it is time to get your rolling station ready. Pick up some bamboo sushi rollers – they will be very cheap at your local Asian market – and cover them with saran wrap.
5. Lay down a piece of nori (rough side up) and cover with a layer of sushi rice, patting and spreading the rice. It is exponentially easier if your hands are slightly wet. Shake some sesame seeds or furikake on the rice and flip over, so rice is touching the saran wrap.
6. Begin to line your sushi filling lengthwise, parallel to the rolling side. For reference, in the picture above, I was rolling from left to right. You want to make sure that, when you begin to roll, you cover your ingredients. Think of it as a nori wave crashing over your avocados.
7. Once ingredients are in, lift up the edge of the bamboo roller and begin to roll away from you, tucking the nori over the sushi filling. Press down slightly on the seam in order to keep the roll tight and repeat this process until you reach the end of the nori sheet. If it doesn’t stick, add some rice or a little water to act as glue.
8. Wet a sharp knife and slice the roll into rounds. Serve with the wasabi or you can even make your own spicy mustard.