Tossing a bit of grated beet with the sushi rice gives it a pleasant pink hue and prevents your rolls from looking as if they are bleeding. Regardless of the type of beet you use, be sure to mix some of it with your sushi rice before making the rolls for the best presentation.
Rice Prep Time: Up to 1½ hours (note that Ponzu Sauce should be made a day ahead)
Sushi Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 rolls (20 pieces)
3 cups (600 g) Traditional Sushi Rice, Brown Sushi Rice, Quinoa Sushi “Rice” or Multi-Grain Sushi Rice
½ teaspoon grated raw beet
Four 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) nori sheets
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large beet, roasted, peeled and cut into thin strips
½ carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 bunch watercress, trimmed
Vegetarian Ponzu Sauce for dipping
Toss the grated beet and sushi rice together until the mixture turns pink.
Place a 4 x 7-inch (10 x 18-cm) sheet of nori vertically on a bamboo rolling mat. Make sure that the short end is parallel to the bottom of the mat and that the rough side is facing upwards.
Dip your fingertips lightly in cool water and spread about ¾ cup (150 g) of the pinkened sushi rice evenly over the bottom ¾ of the nori.
Smear ½ teaspoon of the grated ginger across the center of the rice. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of the lemon zest over the rice. Arrange ¼ of the roasted beet, carrot, and watercress horizontally across the middle of the rice, making sure that the fillings extend to both edges of the nori.
Wet your fingertips again and slide your thumbs underneath the mat while grasping the fillings with all other fingertips. Roll the bottom of the mat just over the fillings, tucking the fillings tightly under the fold. (Do not allow the mat to get stuck inside the roll!)
Lift the edge of the mat. Continue rolling until the roll is complete and the seam is facing down. Gently shape the roll by pressing your forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers on the sides.
Allow the roll to rest seam-side down on a cutting board for at least 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 3 more rolls.
Dip the blade of a very sharp knife in water. Use a swift sawing motion to cut each roll into 5 pieces. Serve with Ponzu Sauce for dipping.