WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE SUSHI ROLLS YOURSELF
If you’ve ever visited Japan you know how the people are very detail oriented in almost everything they do. I once saw a man with a coat hanger attachment on his suitcase so that he could put his jacket there when he wasn’t using it to avoid any creases.
When it comes to food it is even more impressive, as they are very careful about preparation, ingredients and presentation. What you see in the poster or on the television advert will be exactly what you get – no false advertising here. So if you want to make a Japanese recipe, you’re going to have to really put a lot of effort in to be able to do it right! Here I’ve put together some tips for doing so with sushi.
The most important things you need to get are a rice cooker and a very sharp knife. Sure it’s possible to cook rice on the stove or in the microwave, but it I recommend watching that it’s cooking correctly, and you can use this time should be spent on preparing other ingredients.
The knife needs to be very sharp both for thinly slicing the raw fish and for cutting the sushi rolls into bite-sized pieces with will be quite difficult if you have an old, blunt knife.
You should also buy a bamboo rolling mat, though if you cannot find one it is possible to use a hand towel instead. Also plastic wrap is needed to put on the mat to stop the rice and seaweed sticking to it. To make the experience much more authentic you could also get yourself some chopsticks, chopstick rests, sushi tray and matching small bowls (remember it’s all in the detail).
First of all you need to buy the right rice, as longer rice does not get as sticky as necessary and will hurt the presentation. Buy rice that says ‘sushi’ on it, or if everything is written in different languages in the Asian store then ask for which rice they recommend.
When it comes to buying the raw meat (salmon, tuna, octopus, squid, prawns) you must get it as fresh as can be! (sushi grade) As you’re going to eat it raw it cannot be old not just because it won’t look so nice but also because of health risks. If you live far from the sea then you’ll have to do some research to see who gets fish to the town the fastest, and check it is very brightly coloured. Then be sure to keep it in the fridge just up until it will be put on the rice.
Other ingredients that you most likely will get at the Asian food store/section are: nori seaweed wrap, wasabi, Japanese rice wine, kewpie Japanese mayonnaise, pickled ginger, soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds and crab meat. The common vegetables used are carrots, cucumber, avocado and shitake mushrooms.
Be as careful as you can in the preparation stage. Slice everything thin and equal, and with the fish find out which cut is best (angled, cubed, paper-thin or thread-cut for example). Make sure the shiny side of the seaweed is on the outside, don’t put too much rice on it, add the ingredients to the bottom third and do your best to get the first roll as tight as you can! Constantly dip your fingers in a mix of water and vinegar to stop things from sticking to you and don’t be afraid to unroll and start again if you didn’t get it right.
It would be best to start with regular sushi rolls, however once you have the hang of it another popular trend is inside out rolls, with the rice outside the seaweed. This is when you’ll use the sesame seeds to decorate.
Do you have any other sushi tips? Share your comments below.