Sushi is one of the items that were on my culinary to-do list. Well it is not an actual to-do list, it is not even virtual, it is a series of dishes that always run through my mind as things that I want to make. Sometimes it is because it is a dish that I particularly like, sometimes it is because it contains specific techniques and some other times it is just because that dish is something plain challenging and it will give me a sense of accomplishment for actually being able to cook it right. Somehow they also are the funnest to cook.
I know Sushi can be intimidating to a lot of people. Actually reading about it can come out quite intimidating. But let me debunk all the myths: Sushi is a 5 over 10 in the difficulty scale. There are a couple of tricky things, but nothing that you would not get the hang of after a minimal time, depending on your own hands skill.
The most important thing to learn is how to handle the rice, the second thing is rolling.
The rice is not, by all means, as tricky as a meringue. If you read about sushi like me, I know how they can be over uptight about folding the rice with the vinegar. Pshhh!!! Folding egg whites is trickier, way trickier. If you can fold egg whites, you will do fine with sushi rice.
As for rolling, you just need to find the right tightness to roll in. My first roll was a tad looser than it is supposed to be, but in my second one, I was already doing well.
An inside out Sushi roll is a bit trickier, be sure to have cling film or a plastic wrap of some sort in double, so the flipping would be easier on you. Also the margin of the Nori to be left without rice on the inside out roll, should be smaller by about half.
I used the recipe on this link for the rice cooking and seasoning, but what they did not mention is that while seasoning the rice, you should fan it. No need to stress over this just pour your vinegar mixture and have someone fan for you, my sister helped me. If no one there, add the vinegar gradually and fan in between. Voilà! Super glossy rice like you see it in the restaurant.
I also adjusted the quantities for 1 cup of rice, the recipe was pretty accurate it yielded three rolls. The site has really interesting information, it is worth the read. But the essentials about rolling lie in this page and this page.
For the filling I used surimi (fake crab), carrots, cucumbers and avocados, using variations in each roll. I had them all cut evenly in sticks. It would be easier for you if the sticks are the size or close to the Nori sheet. I also used toasted sesame for my inside out roll.
So without further ado, here is what I used to make my three sushi rolls.
- 1 cup rice
- 230 ml water (ratio of 1.15 to 1 in favor of water)
- ½ big carrot cut in sticks
- ½ cucumber cut in sticks
- ½ avocado cut lengthwise. Trim if necessary.
- 6 sticks of surimi
Cook the rice on high heat, stir every minute or two, until the water boils. Then, lower the heat to minimum and cover the pot. After 4-6 min, check the water level. If there is no more water, only bigger grains of rice in the pot, that means the rice is ready. You will also see empty holes in the rice.
Turn heat off and let it sit from 5 to 10 minutes depending on quantity. Pour into a wooden bowl if possible and add the rice seasoning, folding slowly while gently fanning the rice. Let it cool till it can be possible to handle it.
For the seasoning:
- 1/6 cup rice vinegar
- 2/3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2/3 tsp salt
Add ingredients together in small pot, on medium heat until all solids are mixed in. Bring to a boil. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes depending on quantity before applying to the rice.
To roll the sushi
Have rice vinegar water and a dry towel handy.
1. Place a Nori Sheet on a sushi mat. I used a plastic wrap in between them too, so the mat would keep clean.
2. Wet your hands with the vinegar water. Take a lump of rice and put it in the middle of the Nori sheet, spread evenly without pressing the rice and leaving about 1.5 cm margin empty on the far end of the Nori sheet.
3. Rinse your hands if necessary and dry them, add your filling at about the first 1/3rd of the Nori sheet. Roll.
4. Place on a cutting board and with a sharp knife cut the roll in half, wipe or rinse your knife, then cut each half in half and so on, making sure you rinse your knife after each cut.
Here is a video of rolling and cutting, it will make things easier to capture then explaining.
For the inside out roll, repeat step 1 and 2, but the margin left should be about 0.5 cm, then spread sesame or any garnish you like.