Japanese food tends to be low in fat, and these stylish sushi rolls are no exception. Now that the ingredients are available in supermarkets, it is easy to make them yourself. You must use sushi rice, which is sticky when cooked.
*For prawn sushi, chop 115 g (4 oz) cooked peeled prawns and stir into the cooled rice in place of smoked salmon. Omit the wasabi.
*To make mushroom and carrot sushi, put 4 large dried shiitake mushrooms in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Lift out the mushrooms and remove their stalks. Return the mushroom caps to the soaking liquid in the pan, together with 1 small carrot, cut into matchstick strips. Simmer for 4–5 minutes or until tender; drain. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Cut ½ cucumber into quarters lengthways and remove the seeds, then cut into very thin strips the same length as a nori sheet. Spread each sheet of nori with sushi rice, then place a line of cooked mushrooms and carrot down the middle and top with a few strips of cucumber. Roll up and slice as in the main recipe. Sprinkle 2 tbsp black or toasted white sesame seeds on a plate and dip in the ends of the sushi rolls to coat lightly.
Like other foods from the sea, nori – a dark brownish seaweed – is a good source of iodine, essential for the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland. It also provides excellent amounts of calcium, potassium and vitamin A.