There’s a sushi shop I pass by on the way home and every day I’m tempted to make my own. So today was the day I stopped procrastinating! It’s not as hard as one would think but patience is definitely key here. Since most sushi recipes are 80% rice, it’s important to make sure you chose the right type of rice. I bought Niigata Koshihikari rice and was told this was a good brand to use. You can’t imagine my excitement when I picked up what looked like a milk carton filled full of rice!
Cooking it is as important as the type of rice. I have a rice cooker which is a great machine to use as you don’t have to do anything but pop the rice in with whatever liquid you need, press a button and away you go. But don’t fret if you don’t have a rice cooker you can still use a heavy pot with a lid.
Preparing the rice
Wash the rice several times until the water runs fairly clear when drained. Let the washed rice strain for 30 minutes. Transfer the rice to a pot or electric rice cooker and add the measured water.
For stove top cooking bring rice and water to boil, cover tightly and simmer at lowest heat allowing the rice to steam for 18 minutes. You must leave it covered and absolutely do not lift the lid! Remove the pot from the heat and let stand covered for another 15 minutes.
Tezu is a vinegar-water solution which is mixed in the rice after it’s cooked. In a saucepan mix together 250 ml of water, 60 ml of rice vinegar, 30 ml sugar and 5 ml of salt. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let the sushi vinegar cool to room temperature.
After cooking the rice in either a rice cooker or pot, put the hot rice into a mixing bowl and add 1/4 of the sushi vinegar solution. Mix with a folding motion so as to not smash the rice. Repeat until all sushi vinegar is used. After mixing, fan the hot rice mixture for about 5 or 6 minutes in order to remove excess moisture and create a glossy shine to your rice. The rice should have a slight chewiness and be sticky to the touch.
Now the fun part!
1 English cucumber, deseeded and cut into strips (leave the skin on)
200g crab sticks
2 avocados, peeled and cut into wedges
5 half sheets of Nori (Takaokaya Gold and Yamamotoyama Gold are good choices) full sheets cut in half width-wise
50g toasted sesame seeds (black and or white for decoration)
50g Tobiko (flying fish roe) can use Masago but tobiko is a superior product
Place a sheet of Saran wrap the same size as the bamboo rolling mat. If you don’t have one just use the saran wrap to roll. Wet hands with cold water and lightly dry your hands. Slightly wet hands means the rice will stick less to your hands.
Take some rice and place in the center of the nori sheet. Gently distribute the rice the width of the nori sheet and 5 cm longer than the sheet of seaweed. The extra 5cm of rice is to make sure the filling won’t get squeezed out. Don’t work the rice too much.
Place a row of avocado wedges length-wise in the center of the nori sheet. Put the cucumber strips alongside the avocado and do likewise with the crab sticks. Lay a strip of mayonnaise and/or wasabi along the cucumber. Roll the side nearest you to form a center core of ingredients surrounded by nori (there should be that 5 cm band of rice left after your nori).
By pulling and lightly squeezing the mat you can form the roll circular or triangular. Be sure to gently hold the ingredient in on the ends while manipulating the roll. Cut your roll into 8 pieces. Your knife must be very sharp so as to not tear the sushi roll.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: This was a lot of fun and I was quite pleased with the results. The effort in choosing the right rice did make a difference. Next time I’ll try to make the California sushi which is where the rice is on the outside.