~ Sean ~
Many years ago I worked with a guy who married a gal who had done a study abroad with her twin sister in Japan. We had them over to our house to teach us how to make sushi rolls because we loved them but it is expensive to eat out so we didn’t have it often. It is actually very cheap to make though.
We did this fairly regularly and would also make finger rolls. I like the raw fish, especially tuna, but couldn’t get Wanda to try it. Even on our two week trip to Asia where I was in sushi heaven, I couldn’t get her to eat any raw fish. Shortly after our Asia trip we went to visit Kev and Rose in Fairbanks. Kev, Colin and I went to Valdez and came home with something like 17 Silver Salmon. While filleting them Kev was putting the smaller ‘scraps’ into a pie tin. By the time we were done cleaning the tin was full. We grabbed the wasabi and some chop sticks and were able to convince Wanda to give it a try. Wouldn’t you know it, she loved it!
The key to sushi is the rice. So here’s the recipe:
2 cups sushi rice (short grain or pearl rice)
2 cups plus 6 tsp cold water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 Soak rice in bowl of cold water. Stir the rice around the bowl with your hands. When the water is cloudy strain off the water. Repeat this process until the water is no longer cloudy. About 5 times or 5 minutes.
2 Place rice to drain in a strainer and let sit 30-60 minutes.
Some say to let drain for one hour in the winter, 30 min in the summer. (Sounds strange, don’t know if it is true).
3 Place rice in medium size heavy saucepan. Add water and cover tightly. Do not lift the lid at any time from this point until the rice is done.
4 Place over medium high heat until the rice steams (approx. 10 mins). Turn heat to high and cook 2 minutes. If using an electric range change heating temps by changing burners to prevent overcooking. You may notice a white foam around the lid and the lid jiggling up and down.
5 Reduce heat to medium and cook another 5 minutes until the foam stops and you hear a crackling sound. Turn heat off and let stand, covered, 15 more minutes.
6 Remove cover and fluff rice using bamboo paddle. (not sure how critical a bamboo paddle is) Wrap lid in cloth towel and return lid to pot. Let stand 15 minutes.
7 Spread out hot rice in a shallow, large-bottomed non-metalic bowl or platter. Large surface is so it will cool quickly. While the rice is still hot sprinkle with the vinegar and toss the rice with vinegar
8 Immediately start to fan the rice to cool it. Fan for approx 2 mins. Cover rice with a wet cloth towel and let stand for 15 minutes or until its at room temperature.
To make rolls you’ll need a rolling mat.
Prepared sushi rice
cucumber seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
carrot thinly sliced lengthwise
crab meat (real or artificial)
Place nori shiny side down, long side running left to right, on rolling mat. Dip fingers in a bowl of water vinegar mixture (6:1 ratio) so rice doesn’t stick to your fingers. Spread rice 1/2″ thick on all but the top 1″ (far end) of the nori. Place cucumber, carrot, avocado and crab on the near across the width of the rice. Wet the 1″ of nori not cover in rice with a little water vinegar mixture.
Grasp near end of mat with both hands and roll tightly making sure the mat doesn’t get rolled into the roll.
Once rolled squeeze together firmly and remove mat. To cut wet knife with water vinegar mixture. Slice in half and then slice each half into 4 pieces wetting the knife between each cut. Serve with wasabi, soy and pickled ginger.
Once you have this mastered try an inside out roll. One additional ingredient you might want to use is toasted sesame seeds. You can buy them toasted or toast your own.
Inside out roll:
Place nori shiny side down, long edge running right to left. Cover entire sheet with 1/2″ of rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Cover your mat with plastic wrap or place a wet towel over it. If using plastic wrap (my preference) spray it with cooking oil (Pam). Turn rice covered nori onto towel or plastic wrap. Run a streak of wasabi from left to right on the middle of the nori (optional). Place avocado, cucumber, carrots and crab meat across the nori on the end nearest you. Grasp mat with both hands thumbs underneath with fingers pressing lightly on the ingredients with fingers. Roll firmly together with mat. Slice as above.
If you like the raw fish substitute tuna for crab meat in the above.