Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's A Wrap ... Sushi That Is! Homemade Sushi!

Soooo .... What are your thoughts on sushi? Have you ever made sushi? When you think about it, all sushi is is rice, seafood, and veggies. I’m a total novice when it comes to sushi making. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you the difference between sushi and sashimi and all the other wonderful finger edibles gifted to us from Japan, but I do like them.

Granted, I’ve never dipped far into the sushi pool, mostly enjoying nummy little bits of cooked shrimp, crab, and salmon with rice. Last week, though, I saw some sushi at the grocery store, and thought to myself why buy day old sushi when I could tackle making it at home. I bought a little sushi rolling mat at the store for $1.50, and picked up some cucumber, avocado, shrimp, salmon, nori wrappers and sushi rice. I was going to get the veggies and seafood anyway, so all I needed was some nori wrappers and sticky style rice. I really wanted some crab, but since it’s currently priced at the equivalent of pure gold, I figured we’d forgo it this time around.

You’ll never believe what happened next. Wanna know what happened? Wanna know? Huh, huh? (Insert drum roll here.) My kids wanted to be involved in making it! My oldest and youngest were really interested, my middle girl kind of stood off to the side ready to nab any stray cucumber slices that might pass her way. My hubby remained noticeably silent which is an indication of not being thrilled. With a controlled glum expression, he wondered aloud what the nori would taste like, and I assured him that it’s flavorless. It adds a bit of color, but mostly it’s job is to help with the rolling process.

The internet provided lots of insight into the process. YouTube has gobs of sights showing how to roll the rolls, and one of my cookbooks had some great suggestions on different ways to form the little bundles of yum. Now I should point out that I didn’t attempt anything fancy, but it was soooo easy to make. In the end, everyone ate it! Hallelujah! Let me show you what we did!

Sushi Rice

1-1/2 cups sushi rice
2 cups water
2 T rice vinegar
2 T sugar
1 teaspoon – sea salt

Rice the sushi rice three times in a bowl of water. Put the rinsed rice into a heavy weight pot. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes. Keep lid on pot and remove from heat. Let sit 10 minutes. Transfer rice to a non reactive bowl. Combine rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt in a small bowl. Heat for 30 seconds in microwave. Stir into the rice and combine well. The rice will be super sticky. That’s a good thing.

Shrimp Salad and Salmon Roll

1 cup – tiny little cooked shrimp (we call those popcorn shrimp)
½ cup mayo
Cooked smoked salmon – lox style sheets
nori sheets
sushi rice
cucumber slivers or shavings
thin slices avocado
black sesame seeds

Combine shrimp and mayo in a small bowl. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on top of a sushi mat. Place one sheet of nori, shiny side down, on top of the mat. Spoon out enough rice to spread a thin but solid layer of rice over the nori. With WET hands, press down the rice until it is a uniform layer. Near one end, place a couple strips of cucumber. Do the same for the avocado.
Now put down a couple spoonfuls of the shrimp salad. Put down a couple strips of salmon. (I made some with and without the salmon).
Using both the plastic wrap and the sushi mat, very tightly roll the sushi. Using the mat, really pull on the roll to make it nice and tight.
Here's what it should look like when you are done rolling.It's nice and tight and uniform.I left the plastic wrap on it to help with slicing.Using a wet, sharp knife, slice into bite sized pieces. Wipe and wet the knife in between each slice. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds if desired. Serve with dipping sauce and/or spicy mayo.

Dipping Sauce

Mix equal parts mirin, wheat free soy sauce, and rice vinegar. I took it easy on the vinegar.

Spicy Mayo Sauce

½ cup Mayo
1 T Mirin
Dash Sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sweet Spicy Chili Sauce
Mix together in bowl. Adjust spiciness by adding more chili sauce

To make little formed nori-free bites, I used a plastic ice cube tray as a form. Wet the little compartments in the tray. Place halved cocktail sized cooked shrimp or salmon in the tray. Top with sushi rice. Really tamp down on the rice. Turn upside down, and firmly tap the tray to get the sushi free style bites out.Garnish with cucumber or avocado. My son loved the salmon ones.

For my oldest girl, who really wasn’t digging the sushi, I served hers “scattered” style in a bowl with sticky sushi rice, shrimp, avocado, and cucumber.Look at how gorgeous that shrimp is! She loved the rice. Not so crazy about the avocado, but I’m not complaining!There was NOTHING left! I was tempted to ask them, “Who are you and what have you done with my children?” In the end, though, I just smiled and ate my sushi, all the while thankful that the picky eaters club members branched out and tried something new. An added bonus is that these are gluten free, all the way, baby!

What about you? Do you like seafood, rice, and veggies? Think you’d like some of my sushi?


Tatersmama said...

I have never ever tried making sushi.. let alone tried eating it!
It's more "never had the opportunity", more than anything.

But I swear, you make this look and simple, that I'm going to have a go at it!
I'll let you know what I think. I can already tell you what my guy is gonna think... but there's a McDonald's just down the road, if he wants to be picky. ;o)

And I'll raise my glass to James Ruse today as well!

Peter M said...

Bravo Paula...looks as god as any I've seen at the sushi joints here.

Lisa said...

Wow, you rock! I love your step by step because now I might make some.

Pam said...

You did a great job! I am not a huge fan of sushi but yours look really tasty to me. I am glad your kids got involved - I love cooking with mine.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

it really does look great - i like the idea of not having to cook much too!

doggybloggy said...

oooooohh favorite is - a fresh roll....this looks great.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I'm a sushi lover but have never made it. You make it look so simple.

Cathy said...

Wow, Paula, good for you. I've never tried to make sushi. Yours looks perfect.

You've inspired me to give it a go. You make it look easy.

Grace said...

what a fun family activity! although i wouldn't care to eat it, i think it'd be a blast to make--nicely done!

OhioMom said...

I am so impressed at how your sushi turned out, I love sushi and thought it was beyond my skills, you make it look so simple. Also like how you used the ice tray .. kudos Paula!!!!

Marjie said...

It's beautiful, but I've never had sushi. I thought it was raw! I'd probably be with Miss Twin on having separate ingredients. But it surely was pretty food!

Cheryl said...

You go girl! Impressive, I like sushi but not the straight up raw stuff, this looks totally doable!

Navita said...

Hi first time here n love the gorgeous sushi...its almost a show off dish...more of a visual treat...ur slook great! :)

Deborah said...

How fun is that!?! I've always wanted to make my own sushi, and you make it look so easy!

Esi said...

I love sushi, but I have never made it myself before. Looks like it would be fun!

The Blonde Duck said...

I would be so intimidated!

Pam said...

How fun! I am so impressed!

Lisa said...

It is fun isn't it? I made sushi rolls with my nephew a couple of years ago. I don't make it often but I do like it. Your rolls look fantastic!

Jan said...

Well done, Paula. I'm impressed. I've never tried sushi as I always associate it with raw fish, but I could eat these little beauties any day.

Jan said...

I've never tried sushi - I really must give it a go.
You've made an excellent job of making it yourself!

noble pig said...

Wow, you did an awesome job! I love sushi but have never made it myself. I need to.

Aggie said...

I love sushi...but I use that term lightly...the only raw stuff I will eat is salmon or tuna, but it has to be in a roll. My husband loves it all and eats big pieces of it (sashimi?)... but I like mine with the rice and veggies.

I'm very impressed with your sushi!! Great job getting your kids involved too! Now I have a craving!

Paula said...

Hello all! I'm sushi glad you left a msg!

Tatersmama: It really is simple, and much more filling than it looks!

Peter M: Thank you, kindly! I was surprised at how easy it was to do.

Lisa: Thanks! Let me know if you decide to try making it.

Pam: My kids are showing more interest all the time in cooking!

Med Kiwi: Hi Maria! It was fun, and clean up was so easy because I used the plastic wrap!

Doggybloggy: Thanks! I'm interested in learning more about the different combo's. I'll probably stick to the cooked fish varieties! I saw a photo of a popular kind of sushi where the nori wrapper serves as a "cone" for the filling. Could be interesting!

Katherine: It was so easy to do! Give it a shot ... do you think your girls would try it?

Cathy: Thanks! Making the sushi was fun! My kids loved forming the sticky rice ones!

Grace: It was fun. I kept thinking this would be fun to make with blogging friends!

Ohio Mom: You could totally ace making this! With all your baking experience, forming this would be a snap!

Marjie: I'm not interested in the raw kind, and I just know that my hubbyman wouldn't touch raw fish. Middle daughter really liked the rice and cucumbers the most, little one kept downing shrimp, and son loved the salmon!

Cheryl: I hear ya on the straight up raw stuff. I know some folks love it, but that just means more cooked ones for me!

Navita: Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you again!

Deborah: Thanks! Any baby news?

Esi: It was fun to make and eat! This would be fun to make with friends, too!

Duckie: Hey, maybe we could come up with a BBQ beef sushi roll!

Pam: Thanks! It was fun to try something new.

Lisa: How fun that you made this with your nephew! I hope to make this again, and try new flavors, too!

Jan: They really are tasty little beauties! I'm not interested in the raw stuff, but I'll never say no to cooked crab, shrimp, or salmon! Hmmm ... smoked trout would be a good one to try next!

Jan: It really was fun to try something totally different that what I'm used to. It was my "something new for the day" dish!

Noble Pig: Thanks! I wonder what kind of wine goes with sushi. The rice is sweet, then there's the fish, plus the veggies, and the salty sauce. I, um, stuck with iced tea.

Aggie: Thanks! What actually got me going on this, besides seeing it at the store, was that my kids like bento ... you know where all the food is seperated. I figured if they liked those flavors, why not take a leap to something outside the box -- ha! ... no pun intended!

Mrs. L said...

I've always wanted to make my own sushi. Love your step by steps. I might have to give this a try.

Lori said...

We love sushi! Your rolls are beautiful, and they look professional!

Judy said...

I love sushi. Your rolls look beautiful and yummy!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Nice job getting the kids in the kitchen. The sushi looks fantastic! I gotta get my b/f in the kitchen with me one day to make this! :D