Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sushi Rolls

I know sushi is a controversial subject, but I am willing to risk it.  Most people either hate it or love it. When someone says sushi at our house, watch out for the stampede. If you ask my kiddo if she likes sushi, her exact words would be, "No, I don't like it, I LOVE it!" Seriously. People are always surprised by my kids love of sushi. So, naturally, making sushi at home was a no-brainer. It just had to happen. I was pleased as punch to find out it was easy peasy.

Step 1: THE RICE

First, and most important, you have to prepare the rice. Find a good, short-grain rice at your grocery store, such as Calrose (has a Rose on the packaging), or you can actually buy rice that is called: Sushi Rice. Can't go wrong there, right? Rinse your rice well, about 5-6 times, or until the water runs clear. This is really an important step - it makes all the difference.  I generally use 3 cups, by the way, then add it to your rice cooker with equal amounts of water.  When it's through cooking, you'll add your Sushi Su. What's that, you ask? It's basically a vinegar mixture that you mix in with your rice. My three cups of rice generally makes enough for 5-7 rolls. 

3 cups rice
3 cups water

Sushi Su:
2 Tb. rice vinegar
1 Tb. red wine vinegar or mirin
3 Tb. sugar
1 Tb. kosher salt, or 2 tsp. table salt

Mix the Su ingredients in a small bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds. Stir it to help dissolve the sugar and salt. You may need to heat it again for 30-40 seconds if it doesn't seem to be dissolving very well. In a wood or glass mixing bowl, dump the hot, cooked rice and pour over your vinegar mixture, and gently fold it in until well mixed. Then wait 10 minutes and stir again to help incorporate the Su evenly. Then cover the bowl with a warm, wet cloth and keep it warm. Your rice is ready. Whoo-hoo to you! 


Choosing your filling can be the trickiest part. If you love sushi, you probably have your own favorites you want to try. If you are a newb to sushi, don't worry. We won't judge you. The great thing about sushi is that you can pretty much use whatever meat and veggies you want. And if you need a starting point, I would recommend trying the California roll.  Its just crab, avocado, and cucumber. A few other fillings options could include any of the following: 

-cream cheese, salmon, shrimp, tuna, fried spam, scrambled eggs, jalapeños, bacon, zucchini, chopped nuts, onion, steak, green onion, or grilled chicken. So choose wisely. 


Note: I know this looks like very long set of instructions, but once you got it down, it goes fast. 

Buy sheets of seaweed, called Nori, which we found in the Asian isle of our grocery store, or at a local Asian food store. For those of you faint of heart at the sound of seaweed, try the soy wrappers. They are practically flavorless. I personally prefer seaweed, though. Flavorless and me do not get along. Also, grab some toasted sesame seeds. Your gonna need 'em. Or mix it up with some coconut instead. We also bought some bamboo rolling mats. The rice is really sticky, and sticks to the bamboo, (helpful hit:) so what I do is stick the bamboo mat inside a gallon size zip-lock baggie to keep the mat from getting all gooey- and you have easy clean up. Genius, right? I am probably mocked by pro sushi makers, but I just put my smug nose in the air because I am making the world a better place. 

Take a sheet of seaweed, and fold it in half , press the crease, and it should break right in half. Place one piece on your rolling mat, or gallon size baggie (with the zip-lock away from you). The seaweed should be in a "landscape" position, rather than "portrait"- for those of you with photo-smarts. One tip, take a small amount of Mayonnaise and rub it in your hands. This will help the rice from sticking to your fingers. Or use food-preparers gloves, and rub the mayo on them. Then, take a scoop of your prepared rice, and lay it on the seaweed, and spread it out to cover the entire sheet of seaweed. It helps to cover the edges of the seaweed- at least it looks better. Also, you need just enough rice to cover the seaweed. It shouldn't be very thick after spreading it. I plop it down with a spoon, then use my mayo covered gloved hand to spread it out. Then just grab an edge of the seaweed and flip it over. Note: the rice will stick to the seaweed. Trust me. Just try it. You will be so glad you did. It is really exciting!

Now, slice up your fillings. I usually do this during the time the rice is cooling and absorbing all the vinegar mixture. Slice it into long, thin strips. Then lay some of each ingredient in the middle of the rice, lengthwise and parallel to the seaweed.

Now- we're finally to the rolling- take the edge of your mat (closest to you) and pull it up and over the sushi, away from you, slightly pushing on the back of the matt to start the sushi rolling up over its self. You can gently squeeze the roller around the sushi roll, to help it all stick and compress together. Then remove the matt, and sprinkle your toasted sesame seeds on (or coconut). Using a very sharp knife, (careful now) and a handy wet towel, run the knife through the wet towel, and then cut your sushi in half. Then place the two rolls together and cut them into several pieces.

And there you have it. Now that was a lot of instruction, but not a lot of work. If your confused at all, try consulting the Pioneer Woman's blog. She has more pictures to help explain how to roll your sushi. My recipe is from Alton Brown on Food Network. We tried a few recipes, and some of them seemed like they had too much vinegar. Just passing that along.

Now, just serve it up with a small dish of soy sauce, some slivered ginger and a dab of wasabi paste, and eat up! Good luck!

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