While the idea for the evening was to learn to make sushi, we thought it more fun to expand it to “Making and Eating Japanese Cuisine.” This included edamame, steamed dumplings, cold sesame noodles (click to see recipe – Yum!), mochi ice cream (click to learn what it is), and of course, sushi. To add to the evening, we ate with chopsticks and served all the dishes on square plates (my husband’s favorite wedding gift).
Making the Sushi
Step 1: The Rice
In order to make good sushi, it is important to have both fresh sushi-grade fish and sticky rice. I have heard and read so much about the rice needing to have the perfect “stickiness” that I looked at several websites until I was convinced I had the right recipe. Essentially, the key is to get the right kind of rice, which you can get at any Japanese specialty store. Just ask for sushi rice. Interestingly, while recipe hunting, I found an Alton Brown recipe for making risotto using sushi rice! Anyhow, once you have the sushi rice in hand, grab your rice cooker and cook the rice. Once it is done cooking, add a mixture of rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Click here to see the full recipe I used. (Believe it or not, we almost ran out of rice so don’t worry about this being too much!)
Step 2: The Sushi-Making Ingredients
Since this was our first time making sushi, we decided to keep it simple. We had on hand sushi-grade tuna and salmon, nori (seaweed paper), cucumber (I used Japanese cucumber), carrots, avocado, Sriracha Sauce (the best hot sauce ever!), wasabi, pickled ginger, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and cream cheese. I julienned the carrots and cucumber while the avocado was cut into thin slides. We also cut the sushi-grade tuna and salmon into long, thin strips. The ingredients were set out and it was time for everyone’s creativity to begin!
Step 3: Rolling the Sushi
We had a few sushi rolling mats on hand. If you don’t have any, try a local Japanese market or Bed, Bath and Beyond. Place Saran Wrap around the rolling mats, which will help make the process easier and keep you rolling mats clean. Additionally, have a small bowl of water to help prevent the rice from sticking to you. Next, place the nori shiny side down and add a thin layer of rice. I emphasize thin because I could barely get my nori closed as I used too much rice. Be sure to leave about an inch if nori clear of rice. About 2 inches away from the end of the nori closest to you, line up your ingredients and start rolling the sushi away from you and toward the end of the Nori you left clear of rice. Avoid rolling your mat into the sushi. Instead, use the mat to guide the roll closed. Once you are near the end of the Nori, wet the end clear of rice and seal the roll closed.
NOTE: If you want to make an inside-out sushi, once you place the rice on the nori, flip it over and place the ingredients on the nori side, rather than the sticky rice side. Then roll it up.
Step 4: Cutting the Sushi
We found it most helpful to cut the sushi with a knife that had a serrated edge. Cut the roll in half. Then cut each half in half and continue to do this until you have the roll cut to mouth-sized bites.
There are several websites available that show more pictures and provide further instructions along with recipes for different types of sushi rolls. We ended up making a spicy tuna roll by mixing the tuna with Sriracha Sauce and mayonnaise.
Thanks to Jocelyn for guiding us in the sushi making process and to the ladies for being open to this adventure. I have some of the ingredients left and might make another roll tonight!
Check out Second Tuesday’s Facebook page for photos.