Japanese Favorites
August 22, 2020
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Sushi: The Raw Deal

Author: Administrator
Sushi is an enjoyable part of a meal or enjoyed on its own. Traditionally made with cooked rice mixed with a little rice vinegar then shaped into bite-sized pieces topped with raw seafood. Other varieties come in the form of a long roll wrapped in seaweed "paper". This roll contains strips of vegetables and assorted seafood and is served by slicing it into small, bite-sized pieces.

While earlier, you'd only find sushi in select Japanese restaurants and specialty stores, these days with people getting increasingly more adventurous with their foods, sushi is also available in several grocery stores.

Making your own sushi at home, using ingredients and components that you enjoy is a labor of love that is sure to impress any die-hard sushi lover. Here are a few things you will need to begin your sushi making adventure: a bamboo rolling mat, a cutting board, a sharp knife and a large bowl.

Making the rice is the crucial first step. Stay away from brown rice and anything instant. You will never get authentic tasting sushi by using those. Instead, look for short grain or calrose rice. Your rice should be slightly firmer than with other dishes. Not undercooked, just less tender and definitely not mushy. Rinsing and draining with a colander is optional. Transfer the rice in a mixing bowl and pour sushi vinegar over it. Use about a tablespoon per cup of rice. Mix well and set aside to cool. The rice needs to be cooled before you can proceed.

While waiting for the rice to cool, you can prepare the other ingredients. Take your nori seaweed - bought from Asian specialty groceries - and lay it on top of your bamboo rolling mat. You can use plastic wrap over the bamboo mat to keep things clean. Spread rice over the seaweed, leaving around an inch of seaweed exposed for allowance when rolling. Don't fall for the common mistake of using too much rice. Limit thickness to just of an inch - the nori should still be visible through the rice layer. Overloading with rice will result in an uneven roll.

Chose one edge where you will place the fish and vegetables. You will start rolling from this edge. A new fusion of flavors is the California roll. It combines avocado with crab meat and cucumber. Other variations exist and you can experiment. The good thing about making sushi at home is that you are only limited by your imagination. You don't want to put too much weight on the bamboo mat when rolling. Just get one edge started and once that reaches around the midpoint of the nori sheet, you can start peeling away the plastic. Keep going until you reach the other end. Roll it a few times on the bamboo mat to ensure that it will not unravel when you slice it. Slice the finished roll into six or eight equal parts. Serve by stacking but arrange in a way that the filling - with all its contrasting colors framed by the whiteness of the rice is shown to add to the appeal of this delicacy.


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