Greetings guest-blog readers! It has been over a year, but I have once again been asked to guest-blog on a subject near and dear to my heart. No, not video games (she wouldn’t let me), but food, specifically sushi.
While living in Chicago, I developed a serious appreciation for this particular category of food and recently, after receiving some help from some good friends, I tried my hand at creating sushi at home.
The process is a bit labor intensive (though not to the same level as brewing beer), but in the end, I think it is worth it. It is also a whole lot cheaper to make sushi at home; last night, for a total of probably about $10, I made five rolls (admittedly a bit much for two people), which would likely run at least $40 at a nice restaurant. Basic equipment includes a sharp knife and a bamboo rolling mat. A wooden paddle is also common, though in truth, I don’t see why a standard silicone spatula wouldn’t work.
The most time consuming process is probably making the sticky rice. Sushi is made with a shorter grain rice than your average Uncle Ben’s, which, after it has been properly washed, cooked, seasoned, and cooled, is both fluffy and sticky. Working with it is a bit of a pain as well, which is why every sushi guide recommends keeping a bowl of water on hand in which to dip your hands (and eventually, your knife) to keep the rice sticking where you want it and not to your hands.
Fillings are all pretty basic. We have used carrot, cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese. Seeing as how we cannot easily obtain sushi-grade fish (flash-frozen to a point low enough and long enough to kill any microbial critters) in our small town, we have been using imitation crab sticks (not great, but certainly not terrible) and smoked salmon (found in the deli section).
Once you have stuck a layer of rice on the nori (seaweed wrap), the fillings are layered in, and it is time to roll. The roll is not as tricky as it sounds once you get the hang of it. If you try this for yourself, you may consider initially attempting an inside-out roll (with the nori on the outside, not the rice) as it is easier to work with. Another helpful tip I was given is to wrap the rolling mat in plastic wrap. This keeps the sushi from sticking as much and makes cleanup much easier.
Once the sushi has been rolled, proceed to the board and cut into anywhere from four to eight pieces, depending on the size of the nori. It is also essential here to wipe off your knife on a damp rag and dip it in the water between every slice. It is amazing how much of a difference this makes!
Once you’ve mastered the process, feel free to experiment with all sorts of fillings. If you get really adventurous, you can try this, though you may want to practice on a roll or two before taking a stab at this one.