So let me start this post off by loudly clarifying that I am no sushi expert. If you are looking to learn how to make amazing, aesthetically-perfect sushi, then carry on surfing. If you just want to be able to make sushi that 1. Stays stuck together 2. Doesn’t look too much like a whale spewed up on your plate and 3. Tastes good, then carry on reading!
Sushi, I believe is the perfect ‘left overs’ meal – surprising as that sounds. You can literally chuck anything in some rice, wrap it up in seaweed, dip it in wasabi and soya sauce and it will taste amazing. I always like to make loads so that I have about three days’ worth of lunches as well.
Without trying to sound cocky, my friends and colleagues alike have often commented that my sushi looks pretty good. Even the amazing Sushi Queen (http://bit.ly/1lFUxpH) has given me a bit of kudos before! And often, the compliments are followed by “I suck at making sushi. It never turns out right.” This baffles me. It is so easy.
So! I have decided to create a “how to” with some tips and tricks to making sushi. My boyfriend and I are ‘self-taught,’ however, we did pick up some hints from the fantastic movie “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” If you haven’t seen it, you must! (http://imdb.to/1gmAU9O) I highly recommend, even if it’s just for a bit of inspiration and to get you in the mood!
So here we go. Kelly’s tips to making sushi – the easy “let’s not try be professionals” way.
Step 1 – Prepare your ingredients and tool kit
As I mentioned previously, I truly believe you can chuck almost anything in sushi and it will taste good. We have made quite eccentric sushi before with fillings like venison! Here, we have fried courgette as well – delicious.
But I do recommend a staple of vegetable ingredients consisting of sliced carrot, capsicum (or peppers for you English), and cucumber – all thinly sliced. I also love adding avocado, but it’s not to everyone’s taste (crazy!).
Also consider a couple of sauces or spreads you could add. My favourites are cream cheese and sweet chilli sauce – can’t go wrong.
The meat fillings we are using here are smoked salmon, teriyaki beef and roast chicken left over from the previous night’s dinner.
Also, to stop getting bits of rice stuck in between the sushi mat sticks (impossible to get out), wrap it in cling-film. This will also protect the seaweed sheets from damage.
Step 2 – the rice
This, in my opinion, is probably the hardest part to get right. Obviously, you need to buy sushi rice specifically as it gets all nice and sticky.
First, rinse the rice to remove the excess starch, then, well, just cook it basically. Once cooked, set it aside to cool slightly.
And here comes Jiro’s tip number one! With cutting motions, use a rice paddle or flat spatula to mix and fold the vinegar into the rice (the cutting motion prevents the rice from getting smashed to bits). If possible, use a fanning friend to cool the rice and remove moisture as you mix the vinegar in.
Step 3 – add deliciousness
So everything is ready to go, it’s time to make us some sushi! But wait! Here is another tip that I swear by – a finger-dipping bowl. Because the rice is so darn sticky, keeping your fingers wet means you can work with the rice a little easier.
So. First off, spread out some rice. Spoon decent amounts onto the seaweed and spread about with your hands. It doesn’t need to be an incredibly thick layer and does not need to extend to the very edges as you cut them off anyway.
Also, make sure you leave a gap at the top end so there is room overlap the seaweed when rolling.
Then, add a decent amount of sauciness. Here I am spreading on some cream cheese – so, so good.
I also like to live dangerously and often squeeze wasabi in there too. However, not everyone can handle that as well as I can.
Next, add your fillings! I always tend to order it as follows:
Meat – in this case salmon.
and finally, capsicum
Step 4 – let’s roll
This is the part I think most people struggle with. But it’s honestly easy. I hope these images do it justice!
Start by placing your fingers on top of the ingredients to hold them in place, and use your thumbs to roll. Make sure the edge of the seaweed sheet that was once closest to you, is now touching the rice on the other side.
Once in place, squeeze the bajeebies out of it along the entire length of the roll, and the pull back the mat back. It should stay in place.
Here comes my own tip which I am super proud of. Before continuing to roll, grab one of your cumber pieces and dampen the furthest edge of the seaweed sheet. This will make it nice and sticky and hold your roll in place!
Then, continue to roll the rest of the sushi – make sure the ‘cucumber edge’ has been completely rolled over. Again, squeeze tight.
Roll back the mat and look at what you have created! Wohoo! Set it aside ‘seam’ facing down and let it all bind together.
And that really is it folks. Leave the roll for as long as possible before cutting it, remove the ends as they look weird (good to snack on while you make the rest) and it’s done!
Fancy sushi time
If you haven’t got bored yet, we can now take things to the next level with the sushi that looks like an oblong of rice with something delicious strapped on top using seaweed (I am sure it has a name).
Firstly, cut a strip of seaweed off a sheet. It only has to be about a centimetre thick which means you can use the rest of the sheet for a sushi roll.
Again, get your hands wet! Then, scoop out a spoonful of rice – about two table spoons worth – and cup into your palm.
This is another technique I learned from the legendary Jiro – and again, I am not claiming I do it well. But I do it well enough.
Basically, cup the rice, press slightly flat with two fingers, then shape with your thumb and index finger. Does that make sense? Hopefully these pictures make it clearer:
Then grab a big chunk of anything – my favourite is the avocado wedge – and wrap the seaweed strip around it – done!
And voila! You are done.It really is that simple to make edible (not necessarily pretty) sushi.