Monday, April 12, 2010

Home-rolled Sushi Fun

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I am no master… I love sushi and can’t always find a buddy to join me. I go alone sometimes but the challenge is choosing only a few things rather than the greater number of options that you can choose when you have someone to share the eating.

So, on one occasion, I decided that I was going to try my hand at rolling my own. Cue: Ominous music.

Home-rolled Sushi

Sushi rice (I haven’t tried regular rice, so I don’t know if it salvageable but I would imagine not… it’s like using regular rice for risotto. It’s just not going to cut it.)
Rice vinegar
Nori (the sheets of seaweed)
Bamboo mat
*All of these things were right next to each other in the Asian foods section of my grocer’s. Easy peasy. No specialty store shopping required anymore.
1 tablespoon of sugar (per cup of rice that you prepare) + pinch of salt

Crab (I bought both the crab-flavoured pollock sticks (yep… Not the most glamourous option but I wasn’t going to waste the real crab until I had a few practise rolls) and real crab meat.)

Plus pickled ginger and more wasabi (if you want it) for later. Also, I ventured into the world of organic tamari soy sauces. Yeah, no amount of the cheap soy sauces compare. You can liken it to the difference in flavours that you taste in balsamic vinegars… so worth it.

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Preparing your rice:
So you can gauge how much rice to make… I could make between 3-4 full rolls (4 sheets of nori) for one cup of rice. I could cut about 8 individual rolls from each full roll.

Honestly, I just followed the cooking directions on the package. One cup of rice to one and a half cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook covered for 12-14 minutes (I went for 12 minutes because it took a bit of time to bring the temperature down again so my pot didn’t boil over). Then let the rice sit, off of the heat but still covered, for another 5-10 minutes (I went for 10).

Then you season your rice. For a cup of rice, I dissolved 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt into 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar. Mix and stir into your rice. Let it cool slightly but don’t let it dry out. If you’re taking your time making these rolls, cover the rice with a damp paper towel while you chat and enjoy your sushi night.

Rolling time!
Cover the bamboo mat with a sheet of plastic wrap, then place your sheet of nori over that. Add your rice leaving a bit of a border (1 centimetre maybe) at the top and bottom of the nori sheet but push the rice fully to each side. You just need an even layer of rice on the nori… not too thick, maybe 1/2 centimetre or 1/4 inch.

Now, place your cucumber sticks, avocado slices and crab sticks (or meat) at the end of the sheet (but still on the rice) that is closed to you. Smear a bit of mayonnaise across the crab stick (it probably doesn’t exceed 1/3 – 1/2 teaspoon) and, if you would like, a scant smear of wasabi paste.

Get ready to roll… Using the bamboo mat, roll the sushi starting from the side with your filling. Squeeze the roll as you go, pulling back the plastic wrap as you slowly move to the end. This is a tough one to describe!! But I have faith that you can do it… after all, I’m sure you’ve watched the impressive rolling of the sushi chefs at least once or twice!

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If I had the time and wasn’t completely ravenous at this point, I let the full roll sit in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. Then using a very sharp (or serrated… works in a pinch) knife slice into individual rolls.

Serve with soy, wasabi and pickled ginger. Enjoy your handiwork!

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Cookin’ music… Ray Lamontagne ~ Hold you in my arms… I’ve been on a bit of a kick with that album of late.

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