Hope everyone is having a great 2012 so far! I’m beginning mine with a slight thumb injury caused by over vigorously kneading the gum paste from this post. Who knew of such hazards in the kitchen?! Anyway, the healing process is slow and I have to be careful not over use my right hand (though I’m constantly using it!) One of the activities that exacerbates it is handling the camera– changing lenses and even removing the lens cap is very painful for me. I may not be posting so much for awhile, and just wanted to let you know. (The photos in this post were taken pre-injury.)
The idea of making sushi at home may seem daunting to some people, but if you aren’t a purist, it really is easy enough to make on a weeknight. My kid friendly version focuses on makizushi (the rolled kind) and does not involve raw seafood– just vegetables and cooked meats.
Freeing yourself from the notion of making traditional sushi opens up your world for creative play and improvisation and is a fun activity to do with kids.
All you need is a sushi rolling mat, nori sheets (dried seaweed), cooked Japanese rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, and whatever filling you’d like to put in the sushi.
Awhile ago Jamie announced that he had a new idea for a sushi roll that he wanted to try and make. He called it “Bean Bean Sushi” and he envisioned it to be filled with ketchup and cooked green beans. I was dubious, but never one to say “no” to a vegetable creation — especially coming from my son, I told him we’d make it for lunch that day.
This is what we did. First I cooked rice in my rice cooker (here are directions for stove top cooking). While it was cooking, we got all the fillings together. I decided to make mine and Denis’ with some leftover grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, leftover grilled Kirkland marinated salmon, scallions, and avocado.
To make the rolls, I set the nori rough side up (shiny, smooth side down) on a sushi rolling mat. I spread the surface of the nori with a thin layer of the seasoned rice, leaving a margin at the top. It helps to wet your fingers with water while doing this to keep the rice from sticking to your fingers.
Then we rolled it up starting from the long side closest to us. As we rolled, we gradually let go of the end of the rolling mat (or else it would be rolled inside the sushi!) and continued to roll the sushi cylinder inside the mat until we got to the top margin. Then, we wet the nori with a bit of water — it acts as glue– and completed the roll.
I made three rolls — one for each of us. For the inside out roll, I covered the mat first with saran and laid the nori on top of the saran.
After covering the nori with rice and then black sesame seeds (you don’t need to leave an uncovered margin at top for an inside out roll), I turned the nori and rice over so it was nori side up. The rice side should be on the saran covered mat. Then, I laid some shrimp, avocado, and scallions on top of the nori and rolled the sushi up, this time with the rice on the outside, in the same manner described above. Once you get the hang of rolling, it’s really quite easy. It helps to do it slowly. Try and keep the roll tight and even while rolling. A perfect roll has all the filling in the center.
When the rolls were finished, I cut each in half and then cut those halves into fourths. So one roll yields eight pieces. It helps to use a very sharp knife and to dip the blade in warm water between cuts, so it doesn’t stick.
Surprisingly, Jamie’s Bean Bean roll was actually quite tasty. Who knew ketchup, green beans, rice, and seaweed would go so well together?
Makizushi (Rolled Sushi)
Nori sheets (Dried Roasted Seaweed)
About 2 cups of short grain Japanese rice
2 1/4 cups water
3 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
fillings for sushi (for example, wasabi, wasabi mayonnaise, plain mayonnaise, ketchup, cooked meats, smoked meats, steamed vegetables, raw vegetables, cooked egg — basically anything you can line up in the center of a sushi roll! The other day, Jamie tried to make one with edamame succotash, but it didn’t work so well, because the edamame and corn kept falling out…)
1. Rinse rice in water several times until the water is almost clear. Cook in rice cooker with water or cook on stove. Prepare fillings and have ready. Also have a small dish of plain water set aside.
2. Mix vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
3. When rice is finished cooking, transfer to a non-metallic bowl, preferably a wooden or glass one. Sprinkle vinegar mixture on top (don’t pour all at once — taste rice as you go and season to taste-you may not need to use it all). With a large wooden spoon, mix rice with a slicing motion. With your other hand (or employing a helper), fan the rice as you mix to take away the excess moisture. Keep sushi rice covered with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out while you are making the sushi.
4. Lay a sheet of nori on a sushi rolling mat rough side up. Spread sushi rice on nori in a thin, even layer, using the back of a spoon or fingers. Wetting spoon or fingers with water helps to keep the rice from sticking. Leave an 3/8 inch margin at the top uncovered. This is the part that you will use as a seam to close the roll.
5. Place spread if using and choice of fillings in the center of the roll horizontally. Lift the mat with your thumbs, holding the center ingredients with your other fingers. Slowly roll into a cylinder, while moving the rolling mat out of the way (so it doesn’t get rolled into the sushi). At the top of the roll, wet the uncovered seam of nori with water and complete the roll.
6. Wet a sharp knife and cut roll in half. Then cut each half into four pieces. Continue to wet knife in between cuts to prevent sticking (I like to have a tall glass of water to dip the knife into).