1½ cups short-grain sushi rice
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
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¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled ginger
4 green onions, cut lengthwise into thin 1-inch strips (about ¾ cup)
½ cup finely shredded carrot
1 large seedless cucumber (about 1 pound), quartered lengthwise, cored and chopped
1 cup packaged nori strips
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
¼ pound cooked shrimp (can substitute imitation crab)
1 cup cubed tamago (cooked sushi omelet), homemade or store-bought, optional
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons minced ginger (fresh or store-bought)
Place the rice into a mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Swirl the rice in the water, pour off and repeat 2 to 3 times or until the water is clear.
Place the rice and 1 2/3 cups water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it boils, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook, covered 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
While rice cooks, in a small saucepan bring ¼ cup vinegar to a boil with sugar and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat.
In a dry small skillet toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and fragrant and transfer to a small bowl.
Transfer cooked rice to a large bowl and stir in vinegar mixture. Cool rice and stir in sesame seeds, remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar, oil, ginger, green onions, carrot and cucumber. Salad may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before proceeding.
In a small bowl stir wasabi paste, water, soy sauce, and ginger until well combined.
Quarter avocado and cut crosswise into thin slices. Add avocado to salad along with shrimp, lettuce and two thirds of the nori strips; toss well. Add dressing and toss again. Garnish with remaining nori strips.
Serves six to eight.
Cook's note: Look for rice vinegar, pickled ginger, wasabi and tamago at Asian markets or natural foods stores. Some items may be available in the Asian aisle at major supermarkets.