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
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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 other toppings.
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,
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
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 on platter.
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
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 of nori.
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 heat.
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 pan.
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
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
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