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What is sushi?
Before refrigeration, the Japanese kept their fish and rice fresh by steeping them in vinegar. Sushi was originally a form of preserving fish by salting it and resting it on vinegared rice. Gradually people began to eat the rice as well as the fish and sushi as we know it began.

Most people think sushi is just raw fish but the consistent part of sushi is actually the rice. What changes are the toppings or contents that make the individual types. If you don't like raw fish, you can sample sweet egg, cooked prawns, vegetables, crab and more.

Sushi is a popular food on special occasions in Japan. One of the most common types you see here and in Japan is called 'makizushi' (rolled sushi). There are a couple of other main sushi types; 'nigirizushi' (hand-made sushi, the most common found in restaurants), 'oshizushi' (pressed sushi) and 'mazezushi' (mixed sushi). The recipe below is a type of 'makizushi'.

But sushi doesn't just taste wonderful, it is also great for those watching their weight or health being low in fat and calories and high in iron and protein.

Tuna and Lettuce Makizushi

Ingredients (for 4 people):
A
* 3.5 cups short grain rice
* 3.5 cups water
* 2 tablespoons sake or white wine
* 1 tablespoon hondashi (fish stock and soy)

B
* 5 tablespoons white vinegar
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 6 sheets nori (thin, flat seaweed sheets)
* 1 can (200gm) tuna
* 6 lettuce leaves

Method:
1. Wash the uncooked rice in water.
2. Soak the rice for at least 2 hours before cooking it.
3. Place the ingredients of A (above) in a pan. Cover and heat until boiling.
4. When the ingredients are boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and leave standing for 12 minutes.
6. Combine the ingredients of B (above) and sprinkle over the rice while still hot.
7. Wash the lettuce and drain with a paper towel.
8. Drain the tuna.
9. Spread the cooked rice evenly over a sheet of seaweed (do not add too much rice).
10. Place some lettuce on the rice and tuna on the lettuce.
11. Roll the seaweed sheet.
12. Cut the roll into bite sized pieces. If you sprinkle vinegar on the knife, the roll will be easier to cut.

Variations:
Instead of tuna and lettuce, you can use other fillings of your choice such as prawns, avocado, cucumber, raw fish, smoked salmon and so on.