BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO MAKING SUSHI
cold boiled rice moistened with rice vinegar, usually
shaped into bite-size pieces and topped with raw seafood
(nigiri-zushi) or formed into a long seaweed-wrapped
roll, often around strips of vegetable or raw fish,
and sliced into bite-size pieces (maki-zushi).
A FEW THINGS YOU NEED TO MAKE SUSHI
order to make sushi at home, you will need a few items
for the preparation. If you live in a large enough
city, you may be lucky enough to find some of these
items at the local grocery store. For the more difficult
to find items, you may need to go to a store specializing
in Asian foods. A basic list is as follows:
bamboo rolling mat (Makisu)
wooden spoon or spatula
large wooden or glass bowl
Seaweed or soybean paper (for rolls)
(Japanese horseradish mustard)
(pickled, thinly sliced ginger)
seafood, and /or vegetables as desired, depending
upon what type of sushi you plan to make
of these items are optional, depending upon what kind
of sushi you would like to make.For instance, you
would not need nori seaweed or a rolling mat if you
are making nigiri, which is a hand sculptured ball
of sushi rice topped with a small slice of fish or
THE BASIC CALIFORNIA ROLL
you are going to introduce someone to sushi, this
is the way to do it. A California roll contains crab
meat, avocado, and cucumber.
about a cup of rice on the sheet of nori, leaving
about an inch of uncovered nori at one side. Do not
pack the rice, rolling will take care of that. The
rice should be less than a 1/4 inch thick -- you should
be able to see nori through the rice. The biggest
mistake is using too much rice.
avocado slices on top of the rice first, one slice
thick, near the edge of the rice, the edge opposite
the uncovered nori. Unwrap and split a piece of imitation
crab meat lengthwise into two pieces. Place the two
pieces end to end on top of the avocado. Then add
several strips of cucumber next to the crab and on
top of the avocado. (If you put the avocado on last,
it is a lot messier to roll.)
prefer to place the nori on a sheet of plastic wrap
on top of the bamboo mat, to keep the avocado and
rice out of the mat. Slowly fold the mat over, tucking
the end of the nori to start a roll. (Keep lifting
up the mat and plastic wrap as you go.) Lessen the
pressure slightly to straighten out the roll, if needed.
Then continue rolling with medium pressure.
roll from mat and cut into 6 or 8 even pieces. Important
Tip: Keep the knife very moist to prevent sticking,
remoistening before each cut. First cut the
roll in half, then fold the two halves together and
cut into thirds (6 pieces) or quarters (8 pieces).
Sushi bars usually serve the roll sliced into 6 pieces,
but 8 is easier. Turn the pieces on end and arrange
Sometimes, if the end pieces are quite uneven,
the ends are cut off at the one-third point and
stood on end. Then, the other section is cut in
half at a slight angle. All pieces will then look
more alike when stood on end.
sushi bars make an "inside out" California
roll. The rice is spread over all of the roll, there
is no uncovered edge as above. Then the nori is turned
over onto the plastic wrap so it is rice side down.
The ingredients are placed on one edge and the roll
is rolled as before. After rolling, the roll is rolled
in toasted sesame seeds prior to cutting, or sesame
seeds can be sprinkled on top after cutting. Optionally,
flying fish roe can be used in place of the sesame
seeds (it actually tastes better, but sesame seeds
are easier to find).
PREPARING SUSHI RICE ~ Shari or Sushi Meshi
cooked for sushi should be slightly harder in texture
than for other dishes. You will need approximately
one cup of cooked rice for each roll. It is easier
and better to make too much rice than too little.
Every recipe for sushi rice is different, but they
all work. You might find a recipe on the bottle of
rice vinegar, on the bag of rice, or on the package
recipes call for rinsing the raw rice until the water
runs clear, but I often neglect this. The reason it
is rinsed first is to remove talc from the rice. Most
rice seems to be coated now with some sort of cereal
starch, rather than talc, so rinsing could be omitted.
They also suggest letting the rinsed rice drain in
a colander, or zaru, for 30 - 60 minutes. It's up
to you. Just promise me one thing - that you
will not use instant rice, converted rice, or brown
rice. The rice you use should be short-grained
rice, preferably Cal-Rose.
fairly consistent recipe is to use equal amounts of
rice and water, which will make the same number of
cups of rice as the total of the rice and water. Another
book mentions adding water until it is one inch above
the rice, but I would go with the one-to-one ratio.
The rice and water are brought to a quick boil, boiled
for 1 minute, covered, simmered for 20 minutes, and
let stand for 10 minutes after removing from the heat.
It is optional to add a piece of kombu to the water
and rice while it is brought to a boil, then removed.
Another option is to add a few drops of sake or mirin
to the water, but it will make little difference when
the vinegar is added afterward.
the hot rice in a large bowl and pour sushi vinegar
evenly over the surface of the rice, mixing it into
the rice with quick cutting strokes. You should use
one tablespoon of vinegar per cup of rice. Fan the
rice at the same time to cool the rice quickly. What
I often do is pour the vinegar into the pan and stir
it in, then spread the rice out on aluminum foil on
a cookie sheet to cool. If you are keeping track of
the terminology, a hangiri, handai,
or sushi oke is a rice cooling tub and a uchiwa
is a rice cooling fan.
you cannot find sushi vinegar, you can make your own.
To make sushi vinegar, combine 1/3 cup white vinegar,
2 tablespoons sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, and a dash
of MSG (optional) in a small saucepan. Bring to a
boil, stir to dissolve everything and remove from
PREPARING SUSHI OMELET ~ Tamago
Yield: 4 - 6 sheets.
chopsticks, beat 4 large eggs with 1 Tablespoon sugar
(or more to taste) and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour through
fine-holed strainer into glass measuring cup to remove
any membrane. Heat skillet and oil well. pour a small
amount of the egg mixture (1/6 to 1/4 of the total)
into the skillet and tilt pan to spread. When the
bottom has set, remove from heat and carefully lift
up egg sheet taking care not to tear the sheet. Turn
over and return to heat and cook lightly for a few
seconds until the second side is golden. Carefully
remove and drain. Repeat.
Yield: 1 sheet.
same recipe, but cook entire amount at once. Cooking
is similar. The preferred pan is a 9-inch square tamago
medium thick egg sheet. Yield: 1 sheet. Beat two large
eggs with 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon
salt. Pour into well-greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Bake in preheated 300 F oven for 15 minutes. Carefully
flip egg sheet onto paper towel and drain. (I would
be tempted to cook all of these in a similar manner,
possibly using a square baking pan.)
Yield: 1 roll or sheet.
four large eggs, 4 Tablespoons dashi (stock, see below),
1 Tablespoon sugar (or more to taste), 1 teaspoon
mirin (sweet rice wine), 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, and
salt to taste. Strain as before. In a well-oiled tamago
pan, pour in about a quarter of the mixture and spread
as if making a crepe. As the mixture cooks, and as
it bubbles and sets, roll it and move to the back
of the pan. Reoil the pan and add more mixture, being
sure to get some under the roll. Again, as it cooks,
roll the roll to the front of the pan, then move to
the back. Repeat until all the mixture is cooked.
Remove the roll from the pan and roll as if for a
sushi roll and squeeze out excess liquid. It can be
rolled into a round or rectangular shape, then is
sliced when cooled.
basic stock, usually made from dried bonito flakes
and dried kelp. You can use instant dashi, called
dashi-no-moto, which is like a bouillon cube. You
can also substitute any other stock if you don't like
the fishy taste.
SOME SUSHI RECIPES