Traditionally, sushi is fermented fish and rice. Its origin is from Southeast Asia, where it is still eaten in this manner. Literally, sushi means “it’s sour”. Contemporary Japanese sushi, has little resemblance to this type of dish (thank God!), and it has a great variety of combinations using sea food and vegetables. Some can be spicy, others can have fruit in them, such as pineapple or mango, other are more salty, fishy, or pungent. All of them are based on Japanese rice, which after being cooked is mixed with a rice vinegar and sugar blend.
The only special equipment you need to make sushi rolls is a sushi mat or “makisu”, this is made out of bamboo and it is the base for all the ingredients to be rolled in and give it its cylindrical shape. You can find it in any Asian gourmet shop.
Now, regarding the ingredients: Make sure you buy sushi rice, you will find that the grains are shorter than regular rice. The things I get when I want to make sushi at home are always a pack of seaweed or “nori”, a tube of wasabi paste, a jar of pickled ginger, Philadelphia cream cheese (not the kind in a tub, but the bricks… so you can slice it), sushi rice, sesame seeds, and make sure you have soy sauce for dipping.
For the filling, you’ll be surprised of how little you need. Just get one unit of any kind of vegetable you need. You’ll be able to make plenty of rolls with just one avocado, carrot, cucumber, a few lettuce leaves. And get any variety of sea food you want to use. I always go for crab, tuna and/or salmon.
Making sushi rolls is something we enjoy preparing together with my sister, Petra. We love it almost as much as we love eating them until we can’t have another bite! It’s been our thing for years, although the last time we got together to make them, was last December. She’s a med student, so between her schedules and mine, it’s gotten harder to do this more often. But we did get together recently, and had our sushi fest! It was delicious. We’ll surely do it again before this year is over.
Oh! and another thing, which is also important. You need a really sharp knife to cut the rolls with, to get a neat slice. Otherwise, even if you have a perfect roll, everything will fall apart.
Ingredients for the Rice:
3 cups Japanese rice
3 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 dry seaweed sheets
Ingredients for the Roll Filling:
1/2 8oz package Philadelphia cream cheese
1 carrot, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 cucumber, seeded and julienned
4 sticks imitation crab meat, julienned
1 pineapple slice, julienned
1/2 avocado, julienned
4 lettuce leaves, julienned
Soy Sauce for dipping
Sushi mats, for rolling. It is best to have two, if you’re getting help from a second person.
- Wash the rice thoroughly, and place in your usual rice making pot. Add 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice.
- Bring rice to a boil, and cover it. Let is cook for 20 minutes on LOW heat.
- Turn the heat off and let it steam for an additional 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare sushi vinegar (sushi-zu) by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a sauce pan. Put the pan on low heat and heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool the vinegar mixture.
- Spread the hot steamed rice into a large plate or a large bowl. Please use a non-metallic bowl to prevent any interaction with rice vinegar. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold the rice quickly. Be careful not to smash the rice.
- It’s best to use sushi rice right away.
- You can prepare some wasabi mayonnaise to add little dots of it on top of each individual roll. Just mix mayonnaise with a little bit of wasabi (or not so little if you want it very hot) and a few drops (and I mean drops!) of soy sauce.
- We’ve included this video to help you with the rolling part:
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