How to Make Sushi

Sushi has been garnering some much-deserved popularity. Light, easy to prepare, healthy and flavorful are just some of the things that describe this Japanese delicacy. While more people are trying sushi every day, it appears that many of them limit their experience to dining out, which quickly becomes too expensive for most.  What exactly constitutes sushi? Where can you find ingredients? Is it safe to eat? Questions like these often prevent curious newcomers from venturing out and attempting to try their hand at preparing this somewhat enigmatic dish.

Maki Zushi is probably what comes to mind when the average person thinks of sushi. This style consists of toasted Nori (covered by rice and fillings) which is then rolled up and sliced into bite-sized pieces.

The nature of sushi is such that the flavor of the ingredients really shine through and are not masked by heavy spices. Therefore, freshness and quality are essential to preparing a successful sushi roll. Another important consideration is the quality of seafood you select. When shopping for seafood, purchase Sashimi grade whenever possible as it has been flash frozen which helps to kill harmful bacteria instead of using heat. Never use seafood that has a strong “fishy” odor as this is a sign that it has been sitting for too long and is unsuitable for consumption without cooking.

Rice is another crucial element to sushi preparation. Sushi rice is the best choice as it has a very high gluten content and short grain size. It is commonly available at specialty markets and health food stores as well as the ethnic food section of many major supermarkets. The recipe below makes a large batch so you can make a variety of rolls depending on how much rice you like to put in your rolls.  When making sushi rice, it is best to prepare it using an electric rice cooker.

How to Make Sushi Rice

Understanding how to make sushi rice is essential when preparing sushi. Here’s what you will need:

Place the uncooked rice grains in a bowl and cover them in water. Briskly run your hand through the rice grains to wash off the dust that is on the rice. The water will turn cloudy. Pour off most of this liquid but retain a small amount: about 3/4 of a cup. Repeat this procedure 2 more times and drain the rice. Place the rice in the cooker along with the appropriate amount of water and kombu and cook until done. While the rice is cooking, dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar over low heat on the stove. Remove from heat as soon as it’s dissolved.

How to Make Sushi

How to Make Sushi

Immediately spread the rice out in a shallow container without letting it cool. Pour the vinegar mix over a spatula or other wide utensil to evenly disperse it over the rice. With your spatula, mix the vinegar thoroughly through the rice using side-to-side motions with the narrow edge of the utensil to separate the rice grains. After the rice is evenly coated (and not clumpy) spread it out thinly across the container and fan it until it is cool. Flip the rice over and fan the bottom side of the rice. Do not let it cool of its own accord. Transfer the rice to a smaller bowl and cover it with a damp cloth.

Tuna Rolls

Serves 4

In order to make tuna rolls you’ll need the following:

Step 1

Cut the toasted Nori in half lengthwise and place them next to your sushi mat.

Step 2

Place one of your 4 Nori half sheets on the mat, taking care to put the shiny side down.

Step 3

Dampen your hands with a little of the rice vinegar, which will help you to handle the rice. It’s helpful to keep a tiny dish of this next to your workstation. Spread a thin layer of the sushi rice evenly onto the Nori, covering it from end to end but making sure to leave a little room at the top and bottom so that the roll can be wrapped.

Step 4

Make a small groove in the center of the sushi and spread a little bit of the wasabi paste in it. Use it sparingly as the flavor is extremely pungent. Newcomers should put a little on their finger and try it before applying it to their roll so they don’t accidentally overdo it.

Step 5

Place one of the tuna strips in the groove with the wasabi and make sure that the Nori is parallel with the edge of the sushi mat.

Step 6

Keeping the fillings in place, take the edge of the sushi mat and place it beyond the Nori sheet until the rice begins to touch. Begin rolling the sushi, exerting gentle yet firm downward pressure until it has formed a tight roll. Squeeze it and gently pack the ends with your hands to make sure the ingredients won’t fall out.

Step 7

Using a knife moistened with a little vinegar to cut the roll into 6 bite size pieces. Repeat with the remaining Nori sheets.

Note: The above sushi rice recipe will yield a large batch. To compensate for this, you can either make more sushi rolls or simply reduce the recipe as they see fit. The vinegar dressing ingredients are approximations and you should rely on your personal taste.

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