Friday, March 25, 2011

California Rolls!

Making sushi is daunting to most people but don't fear the roll: it's time-consuming but not difficult. Really, the hardest part is watching how fast they disappear versus how long you spent making them.

Cook 3 cups of rice. You want sticky rice, which is either called (wait for it) sushi rice, or just short-grain rice. While it's cooking, mix together about 1/3 cup of seasoned rice vinegar (Marukan brand is easily found in the Asian section of our grocery store) and about a Tablespoon of sugar, or to taste. Some people like their rice sweeter than others.

Your other ingredients are nori (seaweed) sheets and anything you want to use as filling.

I used strips of cucumber that I soaked for about an hour in a little of the seasoned rice vinegar, sliced avocado, and some surimi mixed with mayo.

As soon as the rice is done, transfer it to a large bowl and drizzle the vinegar mixture in a steady stream while stirring the rice. Professionals like to fan the rice as they stir because they say it keeps the rice from getting gummy; I don't worry about it.

Now open up your bamboo mat. What, no bamboo mat? Then you need to throw all your fillings into your seasoned rice and eat it with a spoon, then take a trip to the Asian market and start over. You need this to roll the sushi. Lay a piece of nori on the mat, then spread your hot rice to the edges of the mat horizontally, but leaving about an inch on either end so that when you roll the sushi, rice won't come out the top of the seaweed.
Lay your ingredients in the center of the rice, then give it one fold over so that everything's encased. Now give the whole mat a good squeeze so it holds together, then continue to roll til you get to the end.

This is what happens if you spread your rice too far to the top edge of the nori.

Look at them beautiful sushis! Cut them with a serrated knife dipped in water before each cut. This will keep the sushi neat and not looking like you cut them with a hacksaw. In our house the ends are the sole property of the chef, not to be eaten by any non-helpers.

Dinner is served, if they last that long.

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