Sushi has become an international mainstream food. Sushi is now enjoyed by different kinds of people from different parts of the world. The only problem is – Sushi can get pretty pricey if you buy them in restaurants. Many people are afraid of sushi because it “seems” hard to make, but let me tell you it is very easy. I got the hang of rolling the sushi on my first try. YES, my first try. My aunt taught me how to roll sushi and I must say it is one of the best things I’ve learned to do. Now I make sushi anytime I want, it’s not one of those never to be touched foods. I sometimes even make it at the end of a long and tiring day.
When making sushi, the most important thing to remember is the rice. Many Japanese restaurants or asian food markets sell pre-made sushi rice, but I prefer to make my own rice. Japanese rice is different from other kinds of rice because it is short grained.
The rice should be rinsed 5 to 7 times depending on the transparency of the water. Then when the water is transparent, soak the rice for about 20 minutes. I just used a plain rice cooker when making the rice. I use 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of water. When the rice is cooked, loosely spread the cooked rice on a shallow dish for faster cooling. Do not leave it in the rice cooker because it will become mushy. When the rice is cooled, add the sushi seasoning (do not pour everything, leave about 1 tablespoon which will be used later). For the sushi seasoning, I used 1 cup of a pre-made seasoning I bought from an Asian grocery and to that I added 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of sugar. Mix the seasoning until the salt and sugar dissolves.
Now for the fun part, assembling the sushi! Virtually anything can be used. There are basic Japanese staples like cucumber, fish roe, crab meat and salmon that are in majority of these rolls, but really anything can be used. For my sushi, I just used the very basic ingredients – mango, cucumber, crab meat imitation, avocados and cream cheese. I used three ingredients in each roll and just made different combinations. My favorite was cream cheese, crab meat and avocado.
You will also need nori or dried seaweed sheets and a bamboo mat for rolling the sushi. I made the sushi with the nori on the outside so I did not wrap the bamboo mat in plastic wrap. But if you want the rice to be outside and the nori inside, then it would be a good idea to wrap the bamboo mat in plastic wrap so the rice does not stick to the bamboo.
Place your bamboo mat on a cutting board and then spread a thin layer of rice on the nori. You can either use your hands or the back of a spoon. I prefer the spoon but whatever is comfortable should work. Place your ingredients on the lower part of the sheet. Spread it horizontally. Always remember that less is more – if you put too much, it will come out from the sides when you start rolling. When you have everything you want, then it’s time to roll. Start by lifting the bottom and lifting it to cover all the filling, with the bamboo mat covering the roll, squeeze it hard to form the roll, but not too hard because the filling might come out from the sides. Then lift the bamboo mat and roll again, then squeeze again until you get to the end. Although this not my property, this video from YouTube is showing exactly what I’m trying to say. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8fKVK6Fo68&feature=related
Place your rolled sushi in the chopping board so you can start slicing. With a spoon or your finger lightly coat the blades of your serrated knife with the remaining sushi seasoning. Doing this will allow for easier cutting and adding a little more flavor in each slice. For one roll, you can get 6 to 8 slices depending on how big or small you want your sushi to be. I prefer smaller pieces, so I cut mine in to 8 slices. Start by slicing the center, then slicing each smaller piece to your desired size. Sushi is best served in a large platter for everyone to share.
I like to enjoy mine with a dollop of Japanese mayonnaise on each piece and a dipping sauce of soy sauce, wasabi and lemon juice.
So give it a try! It’s not hard and you might even surprise yourself!