photo by Sarah Gilbert
Years ago, I went to a silly “roll your own” sushi and head-shaving party hosted by some people I barely knew. I dragged my sister, Meggan, along to keep me company and we enjoyed the general goofiness of the theme. For example, I did a non-keg stand on a cooler full of soft drinks, I’m crazy like that.
Rolling your own sushi is quite easy if you have all the ingredients. So, that’s the big trick, assemble the right stuff before you enlist your preschooler to play with you.
- Nori (seaweed) wrapping “paper”. It is available at most grocery stores with an ethnic foods aisle.
- White sticky rice (less than a cup). Plain is preferred because nori is salty; make sure it is cooled to room temperature before you begin.
- Filling. Time to personalize! You can stay traditional with strips of cucumber, avocado, cooked salmon, or cream cheese; or go wild with anything your kid likes that can be cut into strips: hot dogs, turkey breast, strawberries!
Leftover rice is perfect for this task. If you have a rice cooker — I do not — set it and forget it and then go shave each other’s heads (I’m kidding!) while you wait.
Once you’ve assembled the ingredients, let your kiddo scoop out one or two spoonfuls of rice onto the nori sheets and lay out any desired filling before rolling a genuine hand roll. There are fun sushi-rolling tools like bamboo mats that can enhance your fun but the only thing you really need are clean hands and some food to express your artistic side.
For more detailed instructions and inspiration on kid sushi, here is a lengthy sushi tutorial on family fun.