Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Sushi Adventure

My first sushis are history now, after I found all the necessary ingredients for them earlier this week. Before preparing a shushi, which I had never seen how to make before, I researched some videos from youtube to visualise the whole process and I found really nice ones.
For the base recipe I used the information on the Eat Japan 2007 website. The filling however was my choice, which means - no raw fish :) I decided to start gradually :)
Maybe some raw fish next time ...
I can say that making sushi turned out to be very easy and a great pleasure.
However I haven't followed strict guidelines about the fillings.
So, I started with the sushi rice. I used about 200 gr of sushi rice. First I washed the rice well in cold water, removing the starch from it, then I soaked it in about 500 ml of cold water and left it for 30 minutes. To prepare the sushi rice vinegar I needed to dissolve sugar and a pinch of salt in ordinary rice vinegar. I used the aromatic dark muscovado sugar, which added color and aroma to the vinegar. I soaked 2 tbsp of muscovado sugar into some 50 ml of rice vinegar, and brought to the boil until the sugar dissolved.
I then prepared the filling
Blanch one large peeled carrot in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Strain from the water and set aside to cool.
Cut 1/3 peeled cucumber in sticks. Cut 2-3 crab (surimi) sticks in halves lengthwise and pour on fresh lemon juice. Soak tuna steaks in soy sauce and set aside. Cut the carrot lengthwise and add lemon juice.
In the meantime drain the sushi rice and put in a saucepan. Add about 250 ml of cold water and bring to the boil. Then reduce heat to medium place a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. After that remove from heat, remove the lid and place a tea towel over the rice, then press again the lid. Leave this way for another 10 minutes.
After that transfer the sushi rice carefully to prevent grans from damage, to a shallow plate and stir carefully to allow it to cool. Add gradually the sushi vinegar mix stirring. Colling the rice takes other 10 minutes.
In a bowl place rice vinegar ans be sure to moisten your fingers in it before placing the sushi rice over the nori.
No need to say that the first roll wasn't successful. I used too much rice and too much filling.
But when I reduced the amount of rice, everything turned out to be perfect. So place a nori sheet on a rolling mat and sprinkle about 70 gr of rice. It's difficult to determine how much 70 gr is, but however, it does not to be too much, not too less. :) If this indication could be useful :).
place a little off the centre the filling (things soaked in lemon juice need to be drained) cucumber, a half surimi stick and a piece of carrot. Roll carefully by pressing gently. That's it! Then cut in halves and again in halves with a sharp knife. Each time you cut don't forget to dip the knife in rice vinegar.
The for third roll I decided to try a "reverse sushi" variation. So I sprinkled rice over the nori, then sprinkled with sesame seeds and a hint of ground cayenne, pressed gently and reversed the sheet with the rice upside down. On the other side I sprinkled the remaining rice, and arranged the tuna drained from excessive soy sauce, cucumber and carrot. Then I rolled using the rolling mat, pressed to shape and after that cut with a sharp knife dipped in vinegar.
Don't forget the wasabi. And the green tea.

I have to say that even the taste of these nori was better that the ones I have tried in a sushi bar in Sofia. These nori had a taste similar to a Bulgarian spice herb - called samardala - when it is freshly ground. Surprisingly for me the smell and taste were similar. Hm...

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