Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sushi - Easier Than You Think

Share it Please

     Sushi can be ridiculously expensive when you eat out, even at the cheap little sushi-go-round places that are becoming more popular these days. To combat this dilemma but still get our sushi fix, I’ve been making it at home for probably 5 or 6 years now. When talking to friends or family about dinner options and I mention sushi, they often wonder if I’m being serious about making it at home or if just referring to ordering take out.

     It seems when you mention making sushi, people often conjure up images of a serious-faced man behind the counter in a white ensemble with a ridiculously sharp knife and decades of experience. While I do not dispute this is probably a badass sushi spot to imagine, the reality of making it at home is super easy and much less intimidating than this imagery.

     Just to be clear, we still go out for sushi every great once in a while. We usually go out so I can enjoy the salmon or tuna rolls and Thomas can enjoy some tempura vegetables. Saki is usually a given, as well. Being pregnant, however, the raw fish and Saki is off limits to me for a while, so we pick another fare to grub on.

     Making sushi at home requires only one essential tool: a very sharp knife. We find that using a serrated bread knife, not a steak knife or serrated utility knife, is the magic trick for us. We use the Victorinox 10-1/4-Inch Fibrox Wavy Bread Knife . Thomas does the cutting and I do the rolling, but the handle on this knife is made of Fibrox, a great material to keep your hand from slipping around if it is wet or has some grease on it. Our go to kitchen set of knives all feature this handle and we love them.

     Beyond the sharp knife, you need to know how to cook some sushi rice. No brainer here, you can search around for some tips and tricks, or if you have a rice cooker, it is super easy for you. Otherwise, I’ll give you my sushi rice cooking rundown. Water to rice ratio should be 2:1, so 2 cups of water for 1 cup of dry rice. We just make one cup of rice for the two of us and usually get about 5 or 6 rolls. Bring your water to a boil, dump in your rice, stir it well and turn it way down to low-medium and put a lid on it. I have an electric stove with a 1-10 dial system and I put it around 2.5. Don’t peak at your rice. Don’t do it. You might have a little bubble over or some spitting from around the lid, but this is normal. If it’s pouring out, I’d turn it down even more. Low and slow is the key here. It takes about 10 minutes or so, give or take a couple to finish the rice. Turn the heat off when it has finished.

     If you want to season your rice, do it when the cooking has finished. For one cup of rice, I use 1 tablespoon each of rice vinegar, tamari (gluten free soy sauce), and sugar. Swirl this around in a bowl or cup to help dissolve the sugar then dump into the rice and fluff with a fork. Let the rice sit with a lid on it while you finish up the rest of the prep work.

     Rolling the sushi seems to be what intimidates folks the most. I use a cutting board or my counter. No fancy bamboo mats or paddles, just my hands and a clean, dry flat surface. Get out a sheet of your nori (the seaweed wrap for the sushi) and lay it down on the working surface. It usually comes as a rectangle, and you’ll want a short side toward you. I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop rice out for consistency. Spread your rice around to almost the edges with a fork, leaving about a 1” – 1.5” space at the side closest to you for placing your fillings.

     Once you have your filling in place, place your fingers near the top of your fillings and scoop up the edge of the nori with your thumbs. Now that you’ve got the roll started, just use your fingers and thumbs to walk the roll up the rice covered nori, tucking in any loose filling that shoot out the ends. Transfer seam side down to a plate or another cutting board for cutting.

     Filling options are fairly open-ended here and where your creativity (and random leftover veggies) comes into play! We’ve used cream cheese (vegan or regular), match-stick sliced carrots, cucumbers, pickles, green onions, red onions, avocado, sesame seeds sprinkled on the rice, lettuce, spinach, kale, hot mustard smeared on the nori under the fillings, and radishes just to name what I can think of right now. It really is open to whatever you want to put in there.

Generic Sushi
Serves 2

Toasted nori - look for this in the International food isle or in a specialty store if you have one nearby. Amazon also has good options.

For the rice:
1 cup dry sushi rice
2 cups water
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs tamari

For the filling:
(Filling options are endless, but here are some suggestions based on my favorite fillings)
Cream cheese
Green onions
Red onions
Sesame seeds

First... Boil water, add rice, stir, reduce heat down to low and cover. Cook for around 10 minutes. Mix the tamari, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl before adding to rice after cooking is done. Fluff with fork and let sit for a few more minutes while you finish prep work.

Then... Prep your filling choices, cutting them into match-stick shaped pieces. They don't have to be uniform or pretty, just a general shape so they roll easier.

Finally... Place a sheet of nori onto your working surface, place 1/3 cup of rice in the middle, and smooth out to near the edges, leaving around 1" - 1.5" at the bottom end to place your ingredients. Roll the sushi, using your fingers to stabilize the filling and your thumbs to flip the end up, and walk the roll to the top of the nori. Transfer seam side down to a plate for cutting.

     One of the things I didn’t mention here is how great of a couple’s activity making sushi is. There is a good bit of prep work involved with all the cutting and various little things to do. It is something that I look forward to making a couple times each month with my spouse, even though we almost always make dinner together. We both really enjoy the meal, thinking of new filling ideas, or just noshing on sushi and Saki while we watch a movie together.

- Patricia

No comments:

Post a Comment


Follow The Author