Ready to make a plate of food that looks like this?
For the rice:
- A rice cooker - I like an electric rice pot but a covered pot will work also
- Rice - I prefer either Cal-Rose or Kuhio Rose brand but any Asian short grain rice will work.
- Rice Wine vinegar
- Sake - do yourself a favor and buy one you would also drink.
- Dried kelp (Dashi-Kombu) or fresh seaweed - Asian markets have this
- NOTE: If you can't find this, don't sweat it. Just salt the water
- Nori - there are usually 10 sheets in a package
- cucumber - seeds removed and cut into strips
- thinnly sliced scallions
- thinnly sliced mushooms or use enoki mushrooms
- diakon (radish sprouts)
- thinly sliced avocado
- toasted sesame seeds
- fresh fish - there are no rules here...get creative and put in what you like
- ask your fish guy for "sashimi grade Ahi" or buy it frozen
- imitation crab sticks
- cooked shrimp
- masago (these are the little red fish eggs - OK to substitute cheap caviar)
- cream cheese
- mayonaise (Best Foods brand seems to taste the best with seafood)
- wasabi paste (most grocery stores have this)
- pickled ginger (most grocery stores have this)
- tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce (not gluten free) - depending on preference
To make the rice
1. Put 4 cups of rice in the rice pot. Rinse and drain the rice until the water is clear and not cloudy. You might need to repeat the rinsing and draining 6-10 times. When the water is clear, drain one last time then add 4 to 4.5 cups of clean cold water to the rice and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes, add 3 tbsp Sake to the rice and the dried kelp or seaweed if using that. Adding the kelp adds a salty taste to the water and seems to make the rice stickier. If you don't have this, add about 2 tbsp of sea salt to the water instead.
3. Turn on the rice cooker and let it cook
4. While the rice is cooking mix 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp salt and stir it to dissolve the solids. Let it sit until the rice is done.
When the rice is done, remove the seaweed or kombu piece and invert the pot onto a large cookie sheet or pan with an edge. We have a rice cooking bowl (pictured below) which is a giant bamboo dish that lets the rice spread out while cooling. Drizzle the rice vinegar/salt/sugar mixture over the top of the inverted rice pile so that it is evenly distributed.
|Fanning the rice to cool it|
Using the side of a spatula or rice paddle, separate and spread the rice out into a thin layer on the cooling tray. Try not to crush or break the grains. I've found that if you turn it from underneath and sort of fold it over (rather than stirring it) it works pretty well. While you are turning, spreading, etc have someone take a magazine (or an actual hand fan) and fan air over the rice. Repeated turning, fanning, and spreading/separating will allow the rice kernals to separate and cool properly. You will notice them starting to get glossy. Don't rush this process - you may need to keep turning the rice over and cooling it for 5-10 minutes. When you think is cooled and nicely sticky and glossy put a clean dish towel over the rice to keep it moist until you are ready to use it.
To Make the Sushi
Once the sushi rice is done, the hard part is over. To make the sushi you will repeat a few simple steps.
1. Take a clean dish towel or place mat and put a piece of the nori shiny side down.
2. Dip your fingers in a bowl of water with a splash of rice vinegar in it (this helps keep the rice from sticking to your fingers)
- Crab Roll - chunks of imitation crab, a thin layer of mayo, salt, pepper, avocado
- Tuna Roll - strips of Ahi
- California Roll "Roma Style" - cream cheese, cucumber, masago
- California Roll "Marie Style" - cream cheese, avaocado, crab, mushrooms, sesame seeds
- Spicy Tuna - strips of Ahi marinated in a sauce made of Best Foods mayo, chili sauce (we use the leftover to-go packets from Panda Express), salt, pepper, garlic
- Spicy Shrimp - chopped up cooked shrimp in the same sauce used with the Ahi
- Crab Roll "lobster" style - chunks of imitation crab, drizzled melted butter, lemon juice
- The Roma - a log or ball of sushi rice rolled in sesame seeds and/or nori flakes (no nori wrapper)
- South of the Border sushi - shredded carnitas or chicken, avocado, shredded cheese, and picante sauce (Why not? It's just like a rice taquito!)
- Caesar Roll - chopped romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, cooked chicken in strips, and caesar dressing (A salad you can eat while driving!)
So how expensive is this to make....rice is ridiculously cheap (I buy it in 20lb bags and store it in smaller air tight containers), the vinegars and soy/tamari are a few dollars a bottle, the Ahi was from Major Market in Escondido (about 2 lbs for under $10), the shrimp was $9.99/bag (but was buy one/get one) and we used about half the bag for the sushi, the rest of the stuff was under $20. I think all together it was under $50 and we got 15 rolls with 10-12 pieces each. That's heck of a lot of sushi for $50 IMO and at about $3.00/roll it's a bargain compared to going out for sushi.
Good luck and have fun. Get messy and make it a family activity. We've done it for a movie night and it was a fun group activity.