Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sushi Maki 101

In order to make a sushi roll, you don't need to go through 5 years of fish cutting studies in Japan, neither you need anyone telling you that your first time ever sushi looks more like a sea cucumber in a rush hour out of the water.
what you do need is some good will, and of course a good guide to help you.

* Sushi rice is best made with a rice cooker. You are welcome to borrow mine if you don't have one, but it is a great investment! I usually make a single batch, which is level 3 in a rice cooker. (probably 2 c. dry rice) I add 1/2 tsp or so of salt, 1 tsp sugar, toasted sesame seeds and about 1/2 c of rice vinegar.

Step 1:
Feel the nori sheet from both sides and you will find one side to be a bit smooth and the other a little rough. The nori should lay on the rolling mat with the rough side facing upwards.

Step 2:
Get your hands wet, and make about a handful of rice to a ball of rice. It's important to keep your hands wet while working with sushi rice because it is sticky. When you work with the nori though, you should keep them as dry as you can. Keeping a bowl of water and a dry towel in your rolling zone is pretty necessary.

Step 3:
Gently put the rice ball in the middle of the nori sheet, and start spreading it equally on the nori, creating a layer of rice covering almost the entire sheet except the upper margin of about 2cm that should be kept uncovered. Later on, that margins are going to be needed empty of rice in order to close to sushi roll properly.

Step 4:
Now it's time to place a slice of fish (preferably no more than one) on the edge of the nori, along with 1-3 pre-cut slices of vegetables (carrot, cucumber, green onion, asparagus, and so on.. allow yourself to get wild on this matter)..
My favorite is crab, cream cheese, avacado & cucumber.

Step 5:
Using the closer edge of the rolling mat, close on the filling with the nori making a rectangular shaped hill and tighten it from above. Move forward, continue rolling in the rectangular hill steps, keeping it tight with every move until you reach the end of the nori. Put pressure on the roll from all three sides at all time, especially on stops to allow it to roll tightly.

Step 6:
Use a wet, sharp knife to cut the roll in to little sushi units. (6-8 units per roll)

There you have it:

...and I always make a plate for a friend or neighbor! (Julie got this one!)