Kid-friendly Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls+Sweet Sushi Rice+Smashed Cucumber Iced Tea Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls + Sweet Sushi Rice + Smashed Cucumber Iced Green Tea

Family Meal Plan: Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls+Sweet Sushi Rice+Smashed Cucumber Iced Tea

Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls + Sweet Sushi Rice + Smashed Cucumber Iced Green Tea

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Eva Gruendemann/Shutterstock.com
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
30 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls

My kids would probably order sushi every day if our budget allowed for it! From the time they were little, some form of sushi has consistently topped their list of dinner requests. Making sushi at home can be incredibly fun if you can find the time. Alas, many of us have hectic schedules and limited time. That’s where Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls come in. Bite-sized bundles of rice and veggies are like little edible gifts that are sure to put a smile on your kids’ faces!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 1 pkg extra firm tofu **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 green onions
  • PANTRY
  • 1 pkg nori seaweed sheets **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 T soy sauce **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 C sushi rice (budget-friendly option: short-grain rice)
  • 1 C honey
  • 2 decaf green tea bags
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 6 C warm water
  • 2 C ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • brush :

    to apply a liquid, like melted butter or marinade, to a pan or a food.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • roll :

    to use a rolling pin to flatten dough; use your hands to form a roll or ball shape; or move a round food, like a grape or a meatball, through another food, like sugar or breadcrumbs, to coat it.

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • smash :

    to break up food into smaller pieces or squash food to flatten or soften it.

  • steep :

    to soak a food, like tea, in water or other liquid so as to bring out its flavor.

Equipment Checklist

  • Pitcher
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small pot + matching lid
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Kid-safe knife
  • Paper towels
  • Small bowl
  • Whisk
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Ingredients

Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls

  • 1 pkg extra firm tofu **(for SOY ALLERGY sub 2 C button mushrooms)**
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pkg nori seaweed sheets **(for SHELLFISH ALLERGY sub rice paper wrappers)**
  • Glaze:
  • 2 T soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 green onions

Sweet Sushi Rice

  • 1 C sushi rice (or short-grain rice)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T rice vinegar

Smashed Cucumber Iced Green Tea

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 2 decaf green tea bags
  • 4 C water
  • 2 C ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls

  • Soy: For 1 pkg extra firm tofu, substitute 2 C button mushrooms. Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce.
  • Shellfish: For 1 pkg nori seaweed sheets, substitute 1 pkg rice paper wrappers.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce.

Instructions

Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls

1.
intro

Sushi is not originally from Japan. It originated in Southeast Asia in the 4th century BCE, where raw fish was salted and fermented with rice to preserve it. After a couple of months of fermentation, the fish was removed from the rice, and the rice was discarded. Sushi eventually spread to China and was introduced into Japan in the 8th century. The Japanese preferred eating their fish with rice, so the modern Japanese variant was born.

2.
slice + drain

Slice 1 pkg extra firm tofu, 1 cucumber, and 2 carrots as thinly as possible. Reserve for later. Place a paper towel underneath the tofu slices to soak up as much water as possible while you prepare the rice and glaze.

3.
prepare rice + cool

Prepare Sweet Sushi Rice. Make sure to cool the rice down to at least room temperature before rolling the Tofu-licious Hand Rolls.

4.
whisk + brush

Prepare the glaze. Chop 2 green onions and place them in a small bowl. Then, measure and add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, and 1 tablespoon honey. Whisk until all the ingredients form a brushable glaze.

5.
brush + roll + munch

Lay down a sheet of nori on a cutting board. Cut the sheet of nori in half. In the center of the nori, add 2 tablespoons of the cooled sushi rice and lightly press down. Place a few pieces of tofu over the rice. Brush the tofu with the glaze. Then, add a pinch of sliced carrots and cucumbers. Everything should be piled in the center in a log shape. Finally, imagine you are making an ice cream cone, and roll the nori around the rice in a cone-like shape. Brush a small amount of the glaze on the nori to seal the hand roll. Munch and crunch into your Sticky Sweet Soy Glazed Tofu-licious Hand Rolls!

6.
recipe note

If your hand roll falls apart, don’t worry! Simply place the ingredients into a bowl, mix it up, and you still have a delicious tofu hand roll “salad” you can eat with a fork!

Sweet Sushi Rice

1.
measure + boil + stir

Measure and combine 1 cup rice and 2 cups water in a small pot over medium heat and cover with a lid. The lid is important to create steam within the pot. Steam will give the rice a fluffy texture. Boil for roughly 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and small holes appear at the surface of the rice. Season with 1 pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar. Stir gently with a fork or wooden spoon, cover, and reserve for later.

Smashed Cucumber Iced Green Tea

1.
smash + measure + steep

Place 2 cucumbers into a large pitcher with 1/2 cup of honey. Start smashing the cucumbers with a wooden spoon until they are chunky and mushed. You are trying to create a "no cook" cucumber simple syrup. Measure and add 4 cups warm water and stir. Then, add 2 decaf green tea bags. Place the pitcher in a warm or sunny place for 15 minutes or more to steep.

2.
scrumptious science

Steeping is when you allow tea or other flavorful ingredients to soak in water and transfer their flavor to the water. Steeping can be a quick process by boiling the water you are using.

3.
strain + pour

Strain the cucumber tea and remove the tea bags. The removed cucumbers make for a yummy snack. Pour the tea into cups over ice and enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Tofu!

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Photo by KatMoy/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I'm Tofu!

"I'm also called "bean curd" because Tofu (TOH-foo) is made from soybeans. I'm a great substitute for meat and eggs in many recipes, while my spongy texture absorbs the flavors of a dish's marinade, sauce, or seasoning!"

History & Etymology

  • Sources disagree on when the making of tofu began. Some say it was discovered about 2,000 years ago in China during the Han dynasty, and some say it was closer to 1,000 years ago. Legend says that Prince Liu An found the process for making tofu during the Han dynasty. Whether he did or the invention was just attributed to him, the Han dynasty tofu may not have resembled what we have now.
  • Another theory for tofu's discovery is ascribed to the addition of impure sea salt to a boiled soybean mixture that caused the concoction to curdle. Some also believe the credit goes to borrowed milk-curdling techniques from the Mongolians or East Indians.
  • Zen Buddhist monks introduced "Chinese tofu" to Japan in the late 8th century, where it was used as a replacement for meat and fish. Chinese immigrants brought tofu to Southeast Asia sometime between the 10th and 11th centuries. 
  • In the United States, tofu was first mentioned by Benjamin Franklin in letters written to two different people. He had tried it in London and referred to it as Chinese "cheese" made from soybeans.
  • The first tofu factory in the United States was established in 1878. The oldest currently running tofu company is Ota Tofu in Portland, Oregon, founded in 1911. 
  • The word "tofu" comes from the Japanese "tōfu," from the Chinese "dòufu," from "dòu" ("beans") and fŭ ("rot").

How to Select & Eat

  • The types of tofu you can buy are silken or soft, medium (regular or medium-firm), firm, and extra firm. 
  • Silken or soft tofu has not been pressed and has a higher moisture content than firmer tofu. It is similar to yogurt or pudding or a soft, early cheese. You can use it to make smoothies or as a replacement for eggs.
  • Medium tofu is a popular type, referred to as just "tofu" on some labels. It has a porous texture that is good for mopping up sauces. 
  • Firm tofu has been drained and pressed but still has a high moisture content. Its outside texture is similar to raw meat, and when you press it, it will bounce back. The inside is similar to a firm custard. Firm tofu is versatile to cook and can be pan-fried, deep-fried, or stir-fried. 
  • Extra-firm tofu has had a larger amount of liquid pressed out, and its texture is closer to fully-cooked meat. Therefore, it is a suitable replacement for meat and can be pan-fried, deep-fried, or stir-fried. You can also serve it cold or add it to soup. Extra-firm tofu does not absorb liquid as well as firm tofu, so if you use a marinade, choose medium or firm tofu. 
  • Tofu benefits from being frozen before cooking. Freezing tofu removes more of the liquid and gives it a stronger, firmer, and more meat-like texture. When you cook with frozen tofu, it will not fall apart as easily. Freezing also helps tofu to last longer, and it works with most forms but may be more difficult with the silken type.
  • To freeze tofu, drain the liquid from the package, then remove the block and gently squeeze out any remaining liquid with a paper or kitchen towel (you do not need to press it). Cut it into the size needed for your recipe. If you will be using a portion of a tofu block, separate what you are using, then put the pieces, not touching, on a tray covered with plastic wrap. After the tofu freezes, in about five hours or overnight, you can transfer it to a freezer-safe airtight container or bag. Frozen tofu may not need to be thawed before cooking, depending on your recipe. If you want to thaw it first, let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, or if needed more quickly, run warm water over it.

Nutrition

  • Tofu is high in protein, which makes it a great meat substitute. Firm tofu has more protein than silken or soft tofu. It also has a higher fat content. 
  • Tofu is considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids.
  • Tofu has a good amount of calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese. It can help strengthen bones, lower cholesterol, and prevent coronary heart disease.  
  • People allergic to soy should not consume tofu, which is made from soybeans.

What is Sushi?

Photo by Sticky Fingers Cooking
  • Sushi is a Japanese dish. It is cold, cooked rice to which rice vinegar and salt have been added, and it is typically garnished with seafood, often fresh and raw, veggies, or egg. Popular sushi styles are "maki," "temaki," and "nigiri." 
  • "Maki" sushi is hand-rolled rice, seafood, and other garnishes wrapped in "nori," a Japanese seaweed, and cut into bite-size pieces. "Tamaki" sushi keeps the roll shape, so you bite into them. "Nigiri" sushi is vinegared rice formed into balls with thin slices of seafood placed on top. Hanaya Yohei is credited with creating the modern Tokyo-style "nigiri" in the 19th century.
  • The precursor of sushi, "narezushi," consisted of salted fish fermented in rice, vinegar, and salt. It may have originated in southern China at the turn of the millennium. Initially, consumers would discard the rice and eat only the fish. However, sometime between 1336 to 1578 (the Muromachi period), Japanese people ate the rice with semi-fermented fish. Eventually, they ate fresh fish with the vinegared rice during the Edo period (1603–1867).

Let's Learn About Japan!

Photo by yamasan0708/Shutterstock.com
  • Japan is an East Asian island country with more than 6,800 islands! However, there are five main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu (called "Hondo" or "mainland"), Kyushu, Okinawa, and Shikoku. 
  • The country is governed by a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with an emperor, a prime minister, and a legislature. 
  • Japanese is the official language, with English becoming more widespread in business and education. 
  • Japan lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," contributing to its island geography. There are more than 111 active volcanoes, and Japan has the most earthquakes every year. Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain and volcano in Japan at 12,389.2 feet. 
  • Tokyo is Japan's capital and largest city. Japan's total area is 145,937 square miles, and its population is over 125.5 million. 
  • The Japanese word for Japan is "Nihon" or "Nippon." The Japanese or "kanji" characters used for its name mean "origin of the sun." This is the source of Japan's nickname, "Land of the Rising Sun." The red circle in the center of the Japanese flag represents the rising sun, or "circle of the sun." 
  • "Kanji" is a Japanese writing system that uses characters derived from Chinese writing. Each character represents a word or words. 
  • Ancient warriors of Japan were known as Samurai and were highly skilled swordsmen and fighters. 
  • Japan's national flower is the cherry blossom. The symbolism of the cherry blossom is abundant in Japan. The cherry blossom tree is also known as the Japanese cherry or "Sakura" (which means "cherry blossoms").
  • Haiku poetry originated in Japan. Haiku consists of just three lines, with the first line being 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the 3rd line 5 syllables. 
  • Shigeichi Negishi, a Japanese engineer, created the first karaoke-like machine in 1967, using 8-track tapes and booklets for the lyrics. However, he was not successful in distributing his "Sparko Box" machines. 
  • Then, in the early 1970s, a Japanese musician, Daisuke Inoue, marketed tape machines, taped music, and amplifiers to bars to accompany regular people who wanted to get up on stage and sing, and his karaoke business model took off. 
  • Japan produces the most robotics globally. The ASIMO is a human-like robot created by Japanese engineers of Honda Motor Company in 2000. The acronym stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.
  • Sumo wrestling is Japan's national sport, and like sumo, other martial arts originated in Japan, including karate, judo, kendo, jujutsu, and aikido. Western sports such as baseball, basketball, and soccer are also popular.
  • Since the 8th century, Coming of Age Day has been a holiday to celebrate a young person reaching the age of maturity—20 years old in Japan. Their special day serves to encourage them as they realize their adulthood. 
  • The Japanese tea ceremony is considered a traditional art in Japan, and some practice it as a hobby to share with family and friends. Tea was brought to Japan from China in the 9th century by a Buddhist monk. It is said that the ritual of drinking green tea began as a way for the monks to keep awake during meditation.
  • Japan has about four million vending machines, the highest per capita worldwide. The machines sell everything from hotdogs to underwear and soup to umbrellas!
  • In addition to sushi, other Japanese dishes include "soba" (thin buckwheat noodles), "teriyaki" (broiled or grilled seafood or meat with a soy sauce glaze), "tempura" (battered and deep-fried seafood, meat, and veggies), and yakitori (skewered grilled chicken). 
  • Many kids and adults enjoy bento boxes, which are lunch boxes filled with sushi and other snacks. Bento boxes are an experience with texture, shapes, and flavors!

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Japan?

  • Most school children in Japan wear uniforms, and their school breaks are shorter than in other countries. 
  • Kids have to learn 1,026 basic kanji characters by the time they finish sixth grade.
  • Parents and schools teach kids to respect their elders, teachers, and each other.
  • Primary school kids eat lunch together in their classrooms. A few students are assigned to get the lunches, serve them to their classmates, and return the dirty dishes to the school kitchen. Every student prepares themselves for lunch by cleaning their desks and washing their hands. In some schools they even put on a lunch uniform—a white garment and hat—to protect their clothes.
  • Some of the sports and martial arts kids participate in are baseball, soccer, swimming, judo, kendo, and karate.
  • School lunch may consist of rice or noodles, soup, fish or meat, fruit, salad, a cup of tea, and always a bottle or carton of milk.  
  • Two popular sweet treats kids in Japan like are "mochi," a molded cake made of rice, sugar, cornstarch, and water, sometimes with a sweet red bean filling, and "Pocky," a brand of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks.

The Yolk's On You

Did you hear the tall tale about rice? 

There wasn’t a grain of truth behind it!

THYME for a Laugh

What’s green and very noisy? 

A cucumber playing a drum!

Lettuce Joke Around

"Doctor, doctor, I’ve got carrots growing out of my ears! How did that happen?"

"I don’t know, I planted cucumbers there!"

The Yolk's On You

Why must you be careful of tea at night? 

Because it might mug you.

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a pickle lullaby? 

A cucumber slumber number.

THYME for a Laugh

With what did the scuba-diver use to harvest seaweed?

A sea-saw!

The Yolk's On You

What do teapots wear to a tea party? 

T-shirts!

Lettuce Joke Around

What is a foots’ favorite food? 

Toe-fu!

The Yolk's On You

How can you tell when seaweed is in trouble?

It yells, "Kelp!"

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