Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sushi for beginners



I am one of those people who wishes the "sushi fad" will pass, I have been wishing this since it started being a fad. Since people started eating sushi with a knife and fork, with salt and pepper. Since people started putting biltong and cream cheese in sushi. What do greek restaurants have to do with sushi exactly? I may be unpopular for my thoughts but so be it. I started eating sushi 15 years ago when it cost a lot less because it was less in demand and I would really like it to stop being a luxury already.

It's not all bad though, while in most places sushi is still stupidly expensive, without it being a fad we wouldn't have great all you can eat specials. Sushi supplies are also a lot more readily available in shops all over the place. So not all bad because it means I get to make sushi.

There are 2 secrets to great sushi. The rice and the fish. The rice needs to be slightly sticky but not mushy and the fish needs to be as fresh as possible. If you have those 2 things right, the rest is all just practice, practice, practice.

I learned by watching sushi chefs when ever possible, for me the videos and "sushi making kit" booklets were just confusing but watching masters at work put it all in perspective. I roll the pieces with my hands then shape with the mat, I find that the easiest. You, however, must do what feels right. Make sure your nori is fresh, if it's not 100% fresh, toast it a little. Fill it with what ever your hear desires and remember to clingwrap your mat.

Sushi rice

What you need:
4 cups sushi rice
4 cups water
1 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp salt

What to do:
Soak the rice for an hour. Drain then put in a pot with a tight fitting lid and add the 4 cups of water. Bring to the boil, cover and drop to the lowest heat possible. KEEP COVERED, do not lift the lid. Cook for 15 minutes then take off the heat. DO NOT LIFT THE LID! Steam for another 15. 
In the meantime heat up the vinegar with the salt and sugar till everything dissolves. 
When the rice has steamed, you can now take the lid off (no more shouting I promise), pour the rice into a plastic or wooden bowl. Pour the vinegar solution over the rice, dispersing it evenly. Mix the rice using a cutting motion to avoid squishing (yes, squishing is a perfectly acceptable word) the grains.

Allow to cool. 

As for the actual rolling part, that is something you need to see but make sure to make the rice layer thin and don't press the rice down or squish it too much

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