From ginger to umeboshi plum vinegar, Asian flavors and ingredients show up in my home cooking often because they’re healthy and they give food a lot of natural flavor. But above all, sushi is one of my absolute favorite meals (and a big reason why I could never be vegan). Luckily, David agrees. So when I suggested we make homemade sushi paired with Kirin USA, he was quick to agree. Kirin happens to be his favorite beer so I had a feeling he’d be on board.
I was happy to include Kirin beers with our homemade sushi meal since when I do choose to drink, I want my alcohol to be clean and light. Kirin is known all over the world for its purity because of its first-press brewing process and clean taste. There are three varieties: Kirin Light is low in calories and pairs well with healthy Asian dishes. Kirin Ichiban is a 100 percent malt, first-press beer which only uses the first strain of malt liquid. Kirin Ichiban Frozen is a draught beer topped with Frozen Kirin Ichiban using a proprietary process. All are great choices for warmer weather! For this meal we had Kirin Light and it was the perfect pairing for our sushi.
Back to the meal, the only thing standing in our way of all my sushi tools and ingredients and our dinner was that I had never made homemade sushi before. I suspect I’m like much of the rest of the sushi lovers who are either too intimidated to try it or think it requires too many tools. Of course, celebrity chef Candice Kumai came to the rescue with her easy Maki Sushi Rolls. Candice has partnered with Kirin and will be sharing pairing tips and special recipes on the Kirin USA Facebook page to highlight how it complements traditional Japanese cuisine and also bold-flavored modern Asian food. her sushi recipe was great for beginners and it didn’t leave me frustrated or worse, with a big mess and no dinner!
Maki Sushi Rolls
Recipe by Chef and Author, Candice Kumai
Makes 4 servings
Clean, wet towel
10-12 sheets toasted nori
1 1/2 cups sushi rice (3 cups cooked)
Sushi-Su (Sushi Vinegar)
3 Tbsps. rice vinegar (I used brown rice vinegar)
3 Tbsps. sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
handful of pea shoots
carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 pound shrimp, lightly sautéed with garlic, ginger and chili pepper
Smoked salmon, thinly sliced
Smoked tofu, thinly sliced
Gomasio (toasted black and tan sesame seeds)
Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), for dipping
Ponzu sauce, for dipping
1. Make the sushi rice. Prepare and cook the sushi rice as directed on the package Cool the rice slightly while preparing the sushi-su.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the sushi’s ingredients and while well to dissolve the sugar and salt.
3. Transfer the slightly cooled sushi rice to a large bowl. Using a rice paddle and a small paper fan, fan the sushi rice as you slowly drizzle the sushi-su over the rice. Cut the rice with the rice paddle as you fan the rice to cool at the same time. Do not mix the rice, just cut through it until all the vinegar is absorbed.
To Roll the Sushi
1. Roll the sushi while the rice is still warm. Prep a clean work surface, like a clean cutting board or counter top.
2. Lay down the bamboo mat on the work surface and place nori on top, shiny side down.
3. Using the rice paddle, spread a layer of approximately 1/2 cup rice in the middle of the nori sheet. At the bottom of the sushi roll, closest to you, add fillers, proteins and seasonings in a horizontal line. Tightly roll from the bottom up into a long maki roll. Gently squeeze the bamboo mat to tighten the roll.
4.To cut, remove the bamboo mat and cut the roll in half. Wipe the knife with the cloth and line up the two halves and cut into fourths then sixths. Repeat until all sushi rice is used.
5. Dip into sauce or eat as is.
Finally, if you’re ordering sushi at a restaurant here are a few simple tips for keeping it healthy:
- Ask for brown rice, not all restaurants have it but you’ll be amazed at how many do
- Not all sushi rice is gluten-free, ask ahead if this is a concern for you
- Mix it up with sashimi (fish only) and maki rolls
- Avoid rolls with heavy sauces and fried ingredients, often referred to as “crunch” or tempura on the menu
- Eat the ginger that comes alongside your sushi, it’s good for digestion
- Choose low sodium soy sauce or bring your own tamari or liquid aminos
- Order Kirin to keep your alcohol consumption light and drink it moderation
Would you try this homemade sushi recipe yourself? Have you ever had Kirin beer? What did you think?