A new arrival on Hong Kong’s shores is Tracy Griffith, a Californian with a zest for a life and an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of sushi. We discover how she is attracting kids to her own unique take on the Japanese staple through her new book and product range.
American readers may recognise Tracy, who is embracing Hong Kong with her usual enthusiasm and lust for life. Back home, Tracy, a former actress, is TV show DIY Cooking’s regular sushi master where she showcases her sushi expertise with her own brand of sushi wraps, Origami Wraps.
Tracy was the first woman to graduate from the California Sushi Academy and went on to open two reputable restaurants, Tsunami’s in Beverly Hills and Rika’s on Sunset. It was there, amongst the allergy-prone and ultra-careful eaters of LA, that she began to experiment and develop her unique American take on sushi. Such was the popularity of her experiments that she took things further and developed her own innovative range of 100-percent natural and gluten-free sushi wraps made from fruit and vegetable purees, now sold worldwide.
Her move to Asia came about through her career in cooking. While consulting for Dean & Deluca she met her husband, Mark Daley, now president of Polo Ralph Lauren in Asia, and four years on the couple now call a stunning beachfront property in Deep Water Bay home.
Along with regular trips back to LA for TV appearances, consulting on sushi recipes for everyone from Marks & Spencer to Tokyo-based department stores, and building her career as a talented artist, she has also found the time since arriving in Hong Kong to collaborate with Jill Mortensen, a long-term Hong Kong resident and nutritionist, to write a book of healthy gluten-free recipes aimed at kids
Tracy’s aim with this, her second book, was to help mums get kids involved. “If kids have fun creating it, they’ll be happier eating it,” she believes. She was also adamant that the recipes should all be gluten-free and 100-percent natural. She made the choice to go gluten-free several years ago and claims the effects were life-changing.
Published by Page Street Publishing and distributed by Macmillan, Stealth Health, Lunches Kids Love, is packed with nutritious recipes for gluten-free sandwiches, wraps, sushi and other irresistible eats.
Rolling your own sushi rolls is easy with Origami Wraps and a sushi mat. Just a little bit of rice goes a long way – less is best! Make sure your lemon zest is very finely grated and well mixed, and leave out the sesame seeds if your younger eaters are suspicious of brown bits in their rice. To save time, prep carrots and cucumbers the night before. You can also prepare the sushi rice the night before and reheat in the microwave before rolling. Feel free to use traditional nori sheets as Origami substitutes.
Makes about 6 mini rolls
- ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 3 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
- 1 teaspoon crystal salt flakes
- 420g sushi rice*
- 1 half-sheet each Origami Corn, Carrot and Tomato Wraps
- ½ a cucumber, seeded and cut into 6mm x 100mm strips
- 55g peeled and shredded carrot
- Combine the zest, sesame seeds and salt and gently fold the mixture into warm sushi rice. Set aside.
- Peel plastic backing off Origami Corn Wrap and place it (or half-sheet of nori), shiny side down, on a sushi rolling mat. Allow a 1.3 cm space between bottom of mat and bottom edge of wrap.
- Wet hands and press 70 g sushi rice evenly in a thin layer across the wrap, leaving a 1.9-cm rice-free border at the top. Lay two pairs of cucumber strips across lower third of rice, protruding slightly over the end of the wrappers but with no overlapping in the middle.
- Lightly dampen top border with a wet, but not dripping, brush. Be careful to evenly dampen the whole border.
- Roll forward using mat, and let roll rest on seam for at least one minute to seal.
- Repeat with Carrot and Tomato Origami Wraps, alternating cucumber strips and shredded carrot as filling.
- Serve whole with tamari or teriyaki sauce for dipping. One Carrot Origami Wrap has the antioxidant value of five baby carrots.
* Note: Tracy’s book has a full recipe for Easy and Perfect Sushi Rice (page 128)