Banana Sushi

My children love avocado sushi rolls, and this particular creation was inspired when they were craving sushi but we only had rock-hard green avocados at our disposal. But we did, however, have plenty of nice, ripe bananas! My kids were initially suspicious of this filling choice, but after we made them, they were deemed an excellent breakfast option. “This must be what they eat for breakfast in Japan!” my daughter (6) concluded. —

To make life even easier, I make the rice (a snap in the rice cooker) the night before and leave it at room temperature overnight (that is safe, I promise). Then the rice is the right temperature and morning breakfast is only five minutes away. If the rice is coming out of the refrigerator, make sure to “nuke” it for 10-15 seconds to take off the chill. Serve with chopsticks to round out the experience.

Banana Sushi Rolls
Makes 4
4 toasted nori sheets
2 ripe bananas, cut in quarters, lengthwise
4 cups cooked sushi rice (see below)
Soy sauce, for serving

  1. Lay the bamboo rolling mat in front of you so that the slats are parallel to you. Have a bowl of warm water at the ready.
  2. Place a nori sheet, shiny side down, on the mat, with the shorter side parallel to you.
  3. With well-moistened hands, grab a handful of cooled sushi rice. Gently press an even layer (about 1/4-inch) of the rice onto the nori so that it covers it completely (you may need more rice), except for a 1-inch border at the top and bottom of the sheet. Make sure the rice goes all the way out to the side edges of the sheet or some of the finished sushi rolls will be empty.
  4. Add long slices of lengthwise-quartered bananas in a double row along the bottom third of the sheet, stacking them on top of each other, if necessary.
  5. Lift up the bottom of the rolling mat and, gently holding on to the corners of the nori, bring the nori sheet up and over the fillings in one continuous motion. Press down on the rolling mat to seal the ingredients within the first full roll (you will have only rolled up half the roll by this point). Continue rolling up the nori, pressing firmly (but not so firmly that the fillings swish out the sides) on the rolling mat after each quarter roll, to tightly pack it. Before you reach the end border, moisten the exposed nori with a little warm water, and then finish rolling, pressing down on the end border to seal it completely.
  6. Run a large, thin knife under warm water and use it to cut the nori maki into eight equal pieces. Serve with soy sauce on the side.

Seasoned Sushi Rice
Makes about 4 cups
2 cups short-grain sushi rice
3 cups water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the rice and water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water returns to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook the rice undisturbed for 15 minutes (NO PEEKING!). Remove from heat (still covered), and allow to steam for another 10 minutes.
  2. While the rice is steaming, combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small bowl, stirring with your finger until the granules have dissolved.
  3. Pour the steamed rice into a large non-reactive baking dish, and spread out evenly. Drizzle the vinegar mixture evenly over the rice, gently incorporating it with the wooden spoon. Cool to room temperature before using, and keep a damp kitchen towel spread over it to prevent it from drying out. The rice will keep for up to 1 day at room temperature. You can refrigerate the rice for up to a week, but you must warm it in a nonstick pan or microwave (gently) to soften up the rice before using it.

-Jennifer Clair, Founder of Home Cooking New York