Tuesday, December 6, 2011

SUSHi!! Part 2

This is the second part of a post on sushi making. See Part 1 (December 5th) for a list of essentials you will need before you begin.

Making the rice
1 scant cup of rice makes 4 sushi rolls (feeds 2)
1 heaping cup makes 5 sushi rolls (feeds 3)
Rinse sushi rice a few times in the saucepan you are going to cook it in. I even like to let it soak for a few minutes while I am pulling out other ingredients. Drain off water and add 1 1/2 cups water for each cup of rice. Bring just to a boil and then turn heat down. This rice is fast cooking so set the timer for 10 minutes. You can use this time to prep filling ingredients. Also place a couple tablespoons of rice vinegar and a couple teaspoons of sugar into a small saucepan and set aside. This can be heated quickly to dissolve the sugar as the rice is finishing. This mixture is then poured over the cooked hot rice as you are stirring to cool it.

The filling
Again, here is where the possibilities are great. You can go veggie or vegan, raw or cooked, spicy or mild. My fillings are dictated by what is available to me at the moment. Some suggestions: sauteed shiitake mushrooms, raw jicama, sauteed zucchini strips, pickled daikon radish......

Asparagus is yummy in sushi rolls and even when it is not in our garden I'll sometimes buy just four or five stalks just for this purpose.
I simmer these in a shallow pan until tender
You can also use bay shrimp or chopped up fish to make a spicy mayonnaise filling. Just add some mayo and cayenne and Joe's Stuff or other favorite spicy blend. My brother and I once made a filling like this with chopped cooked artichoke hearts. Use your imagination. Below are several ingredients I prepped for recent sushi rolling session. I seared the albacore with a wasabi/oil rub. The bowl contains a spicy shrimp mixture. Everything else is just cut up in thin strips.

Making the rolls
When you are ready to roll, you will need a small container of water (I use the cup measure I used for the rice) near your work station. (You know I just had the thought that there is probably a perfectly good YouTube video that shows you exactly how to do this!) Place the sheet of nori shiny side down on the flatter side of the rolling mat. Spoon some warm but not hot rice onto the seaweed and spread it out to make an even layer leaving half an inch at the bottom and 1 1/2 inches at the top. Lay your ingredients across the center of the rice. If you are a beginner, start small. Do not over-fill or it will be more difficult to roll. I keep a small bottle of sesame oil nearby to drizzle over the filling once it is in place. The rolling part just takes a little practice. If you've ever rolled a cigarette or...ahem...anything else like that, you already have the basic concept. 

Right before you begin to roll you will dip your finger in the cool water you have placed nearby and wet the top edge of the nori. Then, using the mat to help, roll the bottom edge AROUND the top of the filling and try to tuck the bottom edge of nori in under the filling with your fingers a bit. Then use the mat to continue to make as tight a roll as you can, making sure you get a good seal with your wet edge. Roll completely up in the mat and compress lightly with your hands. Unroll and presto:

Rolls can be cut up and eaten immediately or made ahead several hours and refrigerated. Remove from fridge a good half hour before serving. They are more flavorful when closer to room temperature. Use the sharpest serrated knife you own and saw into bite-sized pieces. Arrange on a platter and serve with wasabi soy sauce. Reconstitute the powdered wasabi with a bit of water before adding soy sauce.

I love raw fish but as you can imagine it is challenging to obtain sushi grade fresh fish here in the mountains. And then there is the sustainability issue. Here is link to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's ocean-friendly seafood recommendations: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch  

I buy sushi grade Ahi (Bigeye) tuna from a grocery store here in town. Here is what the seafood guide has to say about Ahi.

Tuna, BigeyeBest Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.Ahi, Po’onui, Patudo, MaguroU.S. AtlanticTroll, Pole-and-line
Tuna, BigeyeGood Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts.Ahi, Po’onui, Patudo, MaguroWorldwideTroll, Pole-and-line
Tuna, BigeyeGood Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts.Ahi, Po’onui, Patudo, MaguroU.S. AtlanticLongline
Tuna, BigeyeAvoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment.Ahi, Po’onui, Patudo, MaguroWorldwide, Except U.S. AtlanticLongline

It looks like if you are going to get serious about eating ocean-friendly, you will need an open line of communication with your supplier. Not all of the information necessary to make an informed decision is always listed on the label. I have to admit that I am not sure about the Ahi I buy. I will need to ask how it was caught next time I am at the market. I'll let you know what I find out. It could be that I will not longer be able to purchase it in blissful ignorance....


  1. I will keep this link as the definitive sushi
    instruction manual. Looks kind of complicated, though. I better let someone make them for me if possible.

  2. Make some for me too, please