Now, just hang on a second! Sushi is
NOT just raw fish! How do you know you don't like it? Have you ever
actually tried it? Do you have an open mind? Yes, there are pictures of raw fish in this post, but there are also lovely photos of non-fish and cooked seafood sushi! So, pour yourself a cup of green tea, or sake, and join me, as we explore this culturally
different and amazingly healthy food style!
Sushi does require a few specialized 'tools' but they are cheap! You can generally buy a 'sushi kit' at well-stocked grocery stores that will include a rice paddle, a bamboo rolling mat, chopsticks
and, often a starter package of sushi rice and seaweed nori.
Sushi Rice is a short grain rice that is washed and then
Kombo (a type of kelp),
Sushi begins with rice, unlike sashimi, which is the Japanese style of presenting sliced raw fish on its own, or only with garnishes. The origins of sushi date back almost 1200 years, but sushi has only evolved to
include rice since about 1700 AD.
the rice is steamed, it is 'paddled' with special sushi vinegar, a sweet vinegar, which adds flavor to the rice, but also gives it a glossy texture.
other ingredients we need include:
nori -the thin sheets of seaweed used to contain the rice and other ingredients
wasabi - A hot paste of Japanese horseradish
Miso - a fermented mix of soybeans, salt and vinegar (not pictured)
Pickled ginger - a garnish and palate cleanser for the plate
The last two, the pickled ginger and soy, are generally served on the plate or as a side for dipping. Depending on how hot you like things, you can mix the wasabi and soy together to create your
own personal dipping sauce!
As well as some fresh salmon (above), and tuna (not pictured here)
and some cooked and butter-flied shrimps. Other seafoods commonly included in sushi are cod, snapper, eel, salmon roe, the list is endless... Need a party idea? What about a sushi party? Cook up a bunch of rice, assemble a variety of ingredients and let your
guests assemble their own sushi!
If you are going to make your own sushi, go to your local fish monger or the fish counter at your grocery and tell them what you are doing (They won't laugh!) They will be able to recommend the freshest and best cuts of
most nori that you purchase is already toasted, but I like to toast mine a bit further. I find this helps the texture; otherwise it can be tough and hard to bite through.
It's easy and quick -- just quickly run the sheet of nori over a hot burner a few times;
you will see and feel the texture change.
Ready to Roll!
Our first roll will be a Maki-zushi, literally 'rolled sushi'. I have laid out the bamboo rolling mat, set down a sheet of nori and spread a thin layer of the seasoned rice over the nori covering all but the top inch
or so. The rice can be quite sticky unless your hands are wet, so keep a bowl of water handy. Now, you can add as little (or none) or as much wasabi down the middle of the roll. I think I was a bit heavy handed here!
Now, we'll add some of our freshly sliced tuna (tekka) and deseeded cucumber strips.
Gently fold the mat and the nori away from you, using the mat to tightly 'snug' the roll together. Keep rolling, lifting the bamboo away as you go. When you get the the end, dampen the end edge of the nori with some water (just run you wet finger along the
seam) and the roll will 'seal'.
Now, since we have used Tuna for our roll, we have created
One roll generally slices into 8 pieces. So, how does it look? Not bad for not having practiced very much!
Shall we try an inside-out roll? First, we will place a piece of plastic wrap on our bamboo mat, and sprinkle it with toasted sesame seeds (many inside out rolls use fine fish roe instead). Then, with wet hands, we will
spread a thin layer of sushi rice, as before. Finally we will place our sheet of toasted nori on top, and a bit of wasabi, if desired. If I lift the corner, you can see the structure....
I've decided to add cucumber, avocado and the cooked shrimp... That is part of the beauty of sushi! You can make up your own flavor combos!
Like before, we will gently fold the roll over, pulling away the plastic and the mat, but pulling them snugly into the roll to form the rigid shape.
Our finished inside out roll. Had we not added the shrimp, this would be a classic California roll.
Now, for another type of 'roll'... The hand roll, or
Nigiri-zushi. Nigiri means 'squeezed', referring to the way the rice is squeezed into a ball in your hand before being combined with the topping of choice. Form several ping-pong ball size balls of sushi rice, and set aside. Then take your
'topping', in our case a butterflied cooked shrimp (ebi), or avocado slice, and lay on the fingers of your left hand. Place the sushi ball on top and gently squeeze. Set the sushi down, rice side down, and gently form the rice into a tidy bundle under
your topping. Often, Nigiri-zushi is 'belted' with a strip of nori.
Now, for our final roll, the cone roll, or
temaki-zushi. These are so easy to make, and can include almost any ingredient. They are also easy to eat, so they make a great party dish.
First, cut your sheet of nori in half and then thinly spread sushi rice over the bottom half.
Holding the roll in your left hand, add your fillings.
In our case, tuna and deseeded cucumber in one roll, and salmon and avocado in another.
Shall we eat?
Salmon and Cucumber Maki-zushi with soy and wasabi for dipping, garnished with pickled ginger and seaweed salad
Inside Out Maki-zushi with sesame seeds on the outside
Belted Avocado Nigiri-zushi with a button of Miso paste
Our shrimp hand roll, or Ebi Nigiri-zushi
Salmon and Tuna Hand Rolls
Tuna and Salmon Cone Rolls
So, are you a convert, or were you already a fan?