Sushi is that wonderful Japanese treat: a roll of seaweed-wrapped rice with a savory filling. Traditionally, sushi is filled with raw fish (tuna is a favorite), but since coming to America, the fillings have undergone a transformation. Now, you'll find just about anything in the center: turkey, avacado, cream cheese, ham, and on and on, deliciously.
Did you know that the traditional sushi wrapper, nori, is an herb? It's a particular kind of algae, Porphyra, that has long been valued in the Orient for its nutritional and therapeutic qualities. So the next time you make sushi, think of it as an herbal rice roll--which may give you some ideas for including herbs in your own unique kind of sushi. Or if you don't fancy a traditional sushi (or if your soul-mate refuses to eat algae), try a different wrapper: lettuce leaves, tortillas, or one of the colored soy wrappers available in supermarkets.
The sushi I made last weekend, pictured above, features whole basil leaves wrapped around cucumber, grated carrot, and fresh raw tuna, encased in a rice and nori roll. I made another roll with shrimp, and another with crab. Served with wasabi (Japanese horseradish, grated and made into a paste) and pickled ginger, the sushi was a tasty hit. And perhaps you know that wasabi (like our own American horseradish) has been used to treat sinus infections, sore throat, and lung problems, and that ginger helps to settle the stomach. All in all, an herbal delight, and good for you, too.
For easy instructions on how to make sushi, visit this great site, which also offers plenty of ideas for various fillings. For herbal sushi with a difference, try this dessert sushi, which features ginger. And of course, there's always chocolate (which is an herb, naturally).
Shall we file this under "Playing with your food can be fun"?
Don't forget--the Book of Days is now available. Lots of herb lore, crafting, recipes, and growing tips!