Foodie Friday: Sushi

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Sushi, at the very least, is a weekly habit for me. Since the university brought in a sushi vendor, my habit has been healthily supported. It’s fresh, (usually) healthy, and bit-sized. What more could you want?

Making my own sushi, however, is a bridge I’ve never crossed. As you probably know, I excel mostly at projects and recipes that allow me to improvise and…mess up. Isn’t making sushi rice a precise operation? Rolling sushi rolls a delicate venture? As I set out to try it, I was nervous.

But, as usual, my fretting was unnecessary. Sushi is easy and I think you should try to make it, if you haven’t beat me to it! As I discovered, a fantastic approach is to host a party to teach yourself and your friends.

Dale and I stocked up on the basics:

  • Sushi mats
  • Nori (seaweed wrappers)
  • Short grain rice (often labled “sushi” rice)
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled ginger

We asked guests to bring fillings, which ended up including:

  • Yams
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Jalapeno
  • Cream cheese
  • Vegan shrimp
  • Mango

We also grabbed tempura to use with our fondue pot, in case guests wanted to add a fried/crispy element to their sushi creations. This was especially good with the yams and shrimp. One guest found success in tempura-ing his whole roll.

Following advice from the various websites, Dale and I used our steamer/rice maker for several batches of sushi rice. We produced a lot, which lasted us through our party and well into several lunches in the days following. In seasoning the rice, I found that I preferred a little less sugar and rice vinegar than most recipes called for. I suggest starting low and tasting as you fold it in.

Getting a feel for rolling took a couple of attempts. Luckily, sushi still tasts good, even if it’s falling apart. : ) My favorite filling combinations of the night included: mango/cucumber/avocado and jalapeno/cream cheese.

There are a lot of quality resources to inform a sushi newbie like me. The two I found most useful were:

How to Make Your Own Sushi Roll

Lay out the sushi mat and add one sheet of nori, shiny side down.

Wet your hands and begin to smooth out sushi rice over the nori. Keep using water to make this process go smoothly! Leave about 3/4” of one edge of the nori exposed.

Near the opposite edge, lay out your fillings in a line. Fillings should be about 1.5-2” away from the edge.

Begin rolling from the edge where the fillings are. I found that it’s helpful to get my thumbs on the edge near me and put my fingers under the mat to squeeze and roll at the same time. Keep rolling the sushi in on itself until the exposed nori folds over to seal the roll. You can use water to set the seal. (The success of this step depends heavily on the rice-to-fillings ratio, something that you just really need to get a feel for with your own preferences and tools.)

Finally, cut and enjoy! As you can see, this was Oliver’s favorite step, even though he didn’t get to taste the sushi.

P.S. – For a special sushi-themed dessert, check out what Mariko brought for us to enjoy, over at Crafty Mariko!


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