Paleo Sushi (Avocado Instead of Rice)
I love sushi and kimbap (which is the Korean version of sushi, usually without raw fish), but they’re both laden with quite a bit of rice. Although I’m not that sensitive to rice, I generally try to avoid it (to the utter incredulity of my Asian friends). So what to replace the rice with in sushi?? Avocados of course! I already love avocados in sushi (think california rolls and of course, there’s even the avocado roll), and when avocados are mashed up, they have a very similar texture to the soft sushi rice.
I remember watching my mum making sushi/kimbap when I was growing up, and it didn’t look too difficult, so I picked up a bamboo sushi mat and some nori (seaweed) sheets at an Asian supermarket in NYC (or you can get them on Amazon through those links for fairly similar prices).
Then it’s just buying some ripe avocados and picking out what you want the filling to be!
There are lots of possible fillings (e.g., raw carrots, raw zucchini, cooked tuna flakes, thin strips of cooked beef, crab meat, pineapple, and of course sushi grade fish). I actually went for a bit of an uncommon combination: smoked salmon, cucumber, and fried egg. The salmon and the egg both have lots of protein and flavor, and the cucumber adds crunch (that was my rationale, and it seemed to work really well). They also happened to be ingredients that cut well into strips, which makes creating sushi rolls easier as you’ll see below.
To make the fried eggs, I whisked 4 eggs together and then fried it on a low heat in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Then I cut it into long strips.
Except for having to cook the eggs, it was pretty easy getting all the fillings together (especially since I didn’t have to cook any rice!). Once all the fillings are ready, place a sheet of the nori (seaweed) on top of the bamboo mat, shiny side down (one side of the nori will be smoother and shinier than the other).
Then spread the mashed avocados on top of the nori, making sure to leave a strip (about an inch wide) of the nori uncovered (see photo below).
Then place a few strips of each filling in the middle of the nori, making sure they’re parallel with the bamboo sticks on the sushi mat (see photo below).
Now comes the fun part! Roll the bamboo mat making sure the nori is rolling with the mat. At the end, when it’s completely rolled, squish the mat gently to ensure all the ingredients stick together.
To cut the roll, I would use a good sharp knife. Because the avocado is softer than sushi rice, it is a bit harder to cut. That’s why a sharp knife is crucial. I have 2 good knives, one of which is the Victorinox Chef’s Knife (I highly recommend getting the blade cover as well as a blade sharpener with the knife). The avocado also sticks to the knife a bit, so to get beautiful clean cuts, I would wipe the blade after every few cuts.
I also made a quick cucumber pickle salad, using a Julienne peeler to shred the cucumber into thin slices. Then I added a little bit of salt and white wine vinegar and mixed it. The pickled flavor goes well with the sushi – think of it as a replacement for the pickled sushi ginger!
Serve with a small dish of coconut aminos (or tamari sauce). You can of course also serve with some wasabi and gari (pickled sushi ginger), although note that some wasabi will have cornstarch and artificial food coloring and that the ginger is typically pickled in a mixture that includes sugar.
Note: best eaten immediately after it’s made as the avocados can soften the nori making it less crunchy.
- Cut the smoked salmon into long strips (1/2 inch wide).
- Cut the cucumber into long thin strips.
- Place the coconut oil into a frying pan and add the whisked eggs. Let the eggs flow to fill the pan, forming a large round disk. Cook on low heat for a few minutes on each side, making sure it’s cooked thoroughly. Let the cooked egg cool, then slice into long thin strips.
- Place a sheet of nori on to the bamboo sushi rolling mat, with the shiny side of the nori down.
- Spread the mashed avocados onto the nori leaving 1 inch wide of space on one end.
- Place approx. 2 strips of salmon, 2 strips of eggs. 4 strips of cucumber onto the middle of the nori, making sure the strips are parallel with the bamboo sticks on the rolling mat.
- Roll the bamboo mat to form the sushi roll.
- Cut the roll into slices with a sharp knife.
- Repeat with the other 3 sheets of nori.
- Serve with some coconut aminos (or tamari sauce). Wasabi and sushi ginger are optional.