Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Making sushi at home can be a fun activity to make your favorite kinds of sushi and can be a great way to save money. With a little practice, sushi making can go relatively fast, making it an easy and healthy dinner option.
Sushi is the tradition of raw or fermented fish and vinegar rice that started out as convenient street vending food in Tokyo Japan. There are so many versions of sushi now, that sushi can be made to any preference and with a wide range of ingredients.
My Brazilian friends J and F have been making sushi at home for a while, and they've really mastered the art. I just watched this time, to soak up a few tips and make a mental inventory of all the ingredients I would need. Now that J and F have the hang of it, the preparation goes relatively fast.
They start with the rice ahead of time.
Sushi Rice:
A short grained rice with more gluten in it should be used for sushi, because it sticks together more easily.
Rinse the rice several times until the water runs through clear. That way any talc or other starches can be removed before cooking
Cook rice in almost equal ratios to water. For example, 3 cups of rice to 3.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil uncovered, then cover the rice for approximately 20 minutes.
Let the rice cool.

Vinegar seasoning:
5 tbs rice vinegar (only rice vinegar will do)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Bring these ingredients to a slow simmer in a pan until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat. Gradually stir the seasoning into the rice and allow to cool uncovered.

Now for the other ingredients, these can be varied to preferences of course:

seaweed or nori sheets
fresh fish (the very freshest possible)
cooked shrimp/crab meat
carrots and cucumber julienned to matchstick size
wasabi paste
soy sauce
pickled ginger (I've been told that this is to cleanse the pallete in between tasting different sushis)
chives or spring onions

The amounts of the ingredients depends on how many you plan to serve and can be judged by just eyeballing the amounts.
J & F made Temaki sushi, which is a type of presentation of sushi in which the ingredients are rolled up into the nori in the shape of a cone. The nori sheets can be quartered into four squares for this. If making this kind of sushi, it is easier if some of the fish is chopped very finely, mixed with a small dab of mayo and wasabi paste, and sprinkled with diced chives. Then the rest of the ingredients can be added as you wish.

Other great ways of preparation are to slice the fish (in this case, we used salmon, as it is most commonly available, fresh and inexpensive in Finland) thinly, and to leave it raw or to quickly sear the fish slices on each side. To sear the fish, the pan must be hot before adding the fish, and you should have tongs or chopsticks on hand to flip the slices quickly. To sear the fish briefly give the fish a smooth texture.
On the seared salmon slices, J spread some of her special seasoning mix on top for flavor. This consisted of mayonnaise, wasabi paste and chives. I'm sure a little lemon juice would also be nice, or if you prefer cilantro or lemongrass to chives it could be a good option.

If making makisushi, or the rolls you are used to ordering at a sushi restaurant, you will need also a bamboo mat, or some other surface that can be easily rolled. For uramaki, in which the rice is on the outside of the roll, you will need some sesame seeds to sprinkle before adding the rice, so it does not stick to the mat. If making futomaki or hosomaki, with the nori on the outside, you don't need to worry about sticking as much. Spread the rice thinly along the mat or the nori before adding filling. You will need a very sharp knife to cut the roll into slices afterwards.

Most importantly, remember to relax and have fun. There is no one right way to make sushi, and as long as you use fresh ingredients you are bound to have a delicious and healthy meal!

Douzo meshiagare! (Enjoy your meal!)

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