Sushi

Sushi Part I

114Sushi has got to be our hands-down favorite food! It has the perfect combination of delicate fish, crisp vegetables, and the umami savory flavors of soy and nori. To make your own sushi you’ll need to get a few basic tools, and of course some great fish.

Let’s begin by talking about your sushi making essentials:

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The basis of sushi is rice and fish. We like using a premium short grain rice because it sticks together better than long or medium grain rice. The seasoned rice vinegar provides a tangy flavor that makes the otherwise plain rice stand out as its own ingredient. Nori is a pressed and toasted sheet of seaweed that’s used to hold rice and fillings when making sushi rolls. A bamboo sushi rolling mat lets you form the perfect roll shape. Plastic wrap comes in handy when making certain rolls by keeping the rice from sticking to your mat or cutting board. Lastly, the soy sauce and wasabi are used as condiments to accent the sushi while eating.

In addition to the essentials, some optional but helpful tools include:

Now that we have everything together, it’s time to start making rice. We use 1 cup of uncooked rice per person. Start by measuring out your rice and putting into a large bowl. In order to make sushi rice you need to wash the rice to remove excess starches. Fill the bowl with water, swirl the rice around then carefully pour off the water. Repeat the process until the water is mostly clear. This usually takes us about 5-6 wash cycles. Once your rice is washed, move the rice to a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes allowing it to drain. Then, you can add the rice to your rice cooker, or pot, along with 1 cup of water per cup of rice and start the white rice cycle (or bring to a boil, then reduce to the lowest setting for 30 minutes). When the cooking cycle is done, we like to leave it covered and let it sit for an additional 15 minutes.  This allows the rice to absorb any excess moisture.

When the rice is done, turn it out into a large flat bottomed tray or bowl. The next step is the most important part of transforming the rice into sushi rice. Gently separate the grains of rice with a paddle while adding seasoned rice vinegar and cooling down the rice. If that sounds like too many things at once, you can use some simple tools to help you. We use a small desk fan placed at the edge of our bowl to slowly cool the rice. While that’s running, we sprinkle the vinegar on the rice while mixing it with the paddle using a cutting motion. We use about 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) of vinegar per cup of rice. Continue fanning the rice and mixing in the vinegar until all the grains are well coated and the rice reaches room temperature. Make sure to taste your rice. It should be soft but not mushy, and have a slight tang of vinegar. Once the rice is to your liking, cover it with a damp towel and set it aside.

When making sushi, you need very fresh and reliable seafood. If you don’t know the first thing about what fish to use for sushi, be sure to go ask your local Fish Monger. For our sushi we selected the following fish: Big Eye Tuna, Albacore, Scottish Salmon, and Baja Hiramasa Yellowtail.

In upcoming posts we are going to talk about how to turn your fish into delicious sushi and sashimi.

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