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Expensive to eat out, but dirt cheap to make your own!
I actually took a sushi class with the daughter of a good friend of mine. We had a blast, learned a lot and brought home a boat load of sushi, all for about $50 bucks! Alas, perhaps you don't live in the cultural mecca of San Francisco, then you better read on!
How impressive would serving a platter of beautifully rolled sushi to your guests that appreciate seafood?! I put together the platter to the left in under 2 hours. With the right prep work you can minimize that time! There are four essential steps to making sushi at home. Mind you the way the Japanese make their rice will differ from me, because I gave up on their method when I failed 4 times in a row (and I went to class remember!) So obviously cooking the correct kind of rice, in addition to the method used, will effect your final product.
A search of sushi rice types give me the impression that "Nishiki" brand rice is one of the better brands. Having a package of good nori wraps is essential. I just recently learned a fast technique that helps ensure a crisp nori skin for your sushi! Toast it again before you roll it! Just use a hot fry pan and toss the sheet in, one at a time, and flip after a few seconds, then remove. Also having a mixture of rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt all dissolved and ready to go over your finished sushi rice is key. And with that being said, having the freshest piece of fish or whatever it is you are rolling up into sushi is required! Otherwise just fry the fish and don't waste it for sushi! Lets recap: Fresh fish, toasted nori, Nishiki rice, prepped ingredients... yup that's sushi!
You can see from the picture to your right, that you need to be organized, otherwise you will be rolling up your sushi and then suddenly you remembered you wanted to have a dab of wasabi inside the roll but it wasn't out on your counter to remind you! In the back from right to left you see: White sesame seeds, Nori, Curry Croquettes, Kerage Chicken (on the cutting board) Tempura shrimp, Tuna, Cucumber slices, Unagi and a sharp knife.
One of my favorite sushi rolls is the Dragon Roll. Inside is tempura shrimp and cucumber, outside is unagi and tuna. Although my attempt looks, probably, less appealing then a sushi pro, I can guarantee you that my version still tastes like a pro!
Because sushi rice is so sticky, due to the nature of the rice itself and to the mix of sugar salt and rice wine vinegar that's mixed in, it will allow us to adhere the rice on the nori and flip the nori upside down also allowing us to fill the middle and have a finished roll with rice on the outside! Leaving a small edge without sushi, lightly press your rice to a thickness of about ½ inch high. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds. Gingerly, flip the nori sheet around so the rice is now touching the bamboo rolling mat, add a thin line of wasabi paste if you like, place the cucumber and tempura shrimp on the roll and roll it up using the bamboo mat at the bottom to start your rolling process.
Key is to line up the nori at the very bottom of the bamboo mat and when you finish the roll to "tuck in" the edge of the mat then pull it out to seal the nori. Also you may need/want to shape the roll a bit using the bamboo mat by firmly tucking the mat around the sushi and pressing down or around the sides to make it either a circle or square. When you have a finished roll and are ready to cut it, make sure your knife is sharp, the blade itself is straight edged (not serrated or scalloped) and wet the blade before cutting. Do not saw at it, cut it in one swift slicing motion. I make it through half the roll before I need to re-wet my blade. But that's me! This is a $30+ dinner at any sushi place.
While I have spare ingredients to make more, it only cost me about $15 a batch, yes initially you have to shell the cash out for the bamboo mat ($3), can of wasabi powder($3), package of nori($3) and bag of rice($6). But all these last longer then one batch! Chop sticks extra~