Sushi, How I Love Thee

sushiI’m sure many people could claim the same, but I’m a sushi junkie. I love the stuff — how it tastes, the springy sensations of nori as you grab a roll, how good you feel after eating it — what an absolutely amazing food!

I was given the gift of making-sushi-knowledge when I played host to a couple of friends of mine, Eryn and Ellen, while they waited on the availability of their new apartment. Eryn worked at a local sushi restaurant and taught me the ins and out of creating a fine roll. It was a great payment for letting them stay at my place. I definitely came out ahead!

The other day, I was walking by the fish case at work and spied some lovely spicy tuna, glistening on its bed of ice and knew that sushi dinner was in my immediate future. I purchased 3/4 of a pound, which made a LOT of rolls for the evening’s fare.

First, I cooked one cup of dried sushi rice. Once the water cooks off, the rice is sticky. That’s what you want. I then mixed in one Tablespoon of rice vinegar and one Tablespoon of sugar (I had dissolved the sugar into the vinegar ahead of time) to the rice using my fingers, making sure that the liquid was distributed thoroughly.

sushi startAfter rinsing my hands, I laid out my bamboo mat (similar to this) and placed a piece of nori onto it. Then I spread — with my fingers — an even strip of rice across the bottom of the nori and placed the tuna on top of that.

sushi rolls, uncutThen comes the hardest part — using the mat, slowly roll the nori onto itself. Once the rice and fish has been enclosed with a layer of the nori, lightly squeeze evenly across the whole roll, slowly rolling as you do so, until you have a tight, even roll with a bit of nori still waiting at the end. Dip your fingers in a small bowl filled with water and slide your fingers across that last bit of nori that hasn’t yet been rolled. That will stick the end piece to the rest of the roll. Continue this technique until all of your rice and fish has been used. It will take some practice to get nice, even rolls. Don’t despair! They still taste good, even if they look a bit funky. Keep trying until you get the hang of it. (As you can see, I’m still working on the centering-the-fish aspect.)

Cut sushiSince the amount of tuna ended up making quite a few rolls (six to be exact), I had some fun with it. I added some avocado to a couple of rolls, Larrupin Dill Sauce to one, green onions to some… the possibilities are endless. Be creative! It’s fun you get to eat, after all. Then it’s time to cut. Use a very sharp knife. I always do this next to the sink so that I can rinse my blade as often as needed. Since the rice is sticky, it will coat the blade quickly. Cut each piece the width of two fingers or so. If you like taller rolls, go for it. It’s your dinner, so do what makes you happy.

Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger and enjoy how your belly happily buzzes after the meal.

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