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Assorted Sushi 什錦壽司

Sunday, April 13, 2008 | Labels: , , |

Some recipes from Book of Practical Japanese Cooking.

What a pretty picture!

I love sushi so I decided to try my hand at making some tonight. Making or rather assembling sushi is not as easy as it seems, practice definitely makes perfect! But, I am really proud of myself today, hehe... If one carefully follows instructions, an almost perfect looking sushi is not as elusive as it may seem. The sushi rice is particularly important - using Japanese sushi rice is imperative to ensure the right consistency and of course to avoid the sushi from falling apart easily. For tonight, I made some decorative sushi which resemble colourful brocade balls that Japanese children play with (Temari-zushi), some commonly seen nigiri sushi and some maki sushi (rolled sushi). One can be especially creative with assembling the rolls, use whatever ingredients that may suit your fancy and experiment!

Temari-zushi pictured below, look at how adorable these little sushi balls are! 多可愛!

To assemble the above:
Slice at an angle the salmon into square pieces. Make 6 small, loose balls of sushi rice about 1 inch in diameter. Soak a piece of gauze in Hand Vinegar (1 cup water with 2 tbsp rice vinegar) and wring it out well. Set a square of fish on the gauze, season with a small amount of wasabi and place a small ball of rice on the fish, then wrap the gauze around the sushi and twist to finish shaping. Make a shallow depression in the center of the top with your finger, unwrap and sprinkle with some sesame seed.

Use a piece of gauze or cheesecloth wet in Hand Vinegar to gently twist and 'shape' the sushi ball:

Nigiri Sushi


To assemble/ shape: Again, moisten your hands with Hand Vinegar (to avoid rice sticking to your hands), take a small amoust of sushi rice (about 1 1/2 rounded Tbsps) and cradle it in your right hand at the base of your fingers (pictured below). Crimp to form a rectangular block about 2-2 1/2 inches long with rounded edges and sides. Place a piece of salmon in your palm near the base of your fingers, spread a little wasabi on the fish - next press the piece of rectangular sushi rice onto the salmon. Shape by pressing the sides of the rice and 'mould' it to the fish. You can top with other kinds of sashimi grade seafood like toro (tuna), ebi (shrimp), unagi (grilled eel) or even tamago (egg).

Press the sides of the rice gently with your fingers to form the rounded rectangular shape:

Assorted Rolls (Maki Sushi):

For maki sushi, you will need a bamboo rolling mat. It's easier to simply wrap the bamboo mat with cling-film (food wrap) to avoid the food from getting onto the mat. This is because bamboo mats should not be washed - it should be simply brushed and left to air-dry. Rolling the sushi requires some careful attention - for instance, for the simple roll I made pictured below, simply place the nori sheet onto the wrapped mat, wet your hands in Hand Vinegar and put some sushi rice all over the sheet (filling two-thirds of the sheet). Place the ingredients horizontally, in an almost straight line, one ingredient about 1 inch from the other. Next, simply roll by curling up the edge closet to you, press with mat, roll up about 1 inch, press again, and continue to the end of the rice. Remember to wet the ends of the seaweed to ensure they stick together.

When cutting, wet your knife in Hand Vinegar each time (flick your wrist gently to remove excess water), this will ease the cutting of the rolls and prevent the rice from sticking to your knife.

My maki rolls


This (below) is a variation of maki roll where the seaweed is on the inside of the sushi. Simply fill up the whole sheet with rice. Turn it over onto the mat. Place the ingredients on the top side of the sheet now and roll as above. Roll the outside of the sushi onto some salmon roe.

My uramaki roll

Spreading the roe onto the outside of the roll:

To make Sushi Rice:
Cook 2 cups of sushi rice as you would normally. However, before actually cooking the rice in the rice cooker, place the washed uncooked rice in a colander and let it expand for about 30-60 minutes. This additional step will ensure a better consistency for assembling sushi later.

Sushi dressing:
1/2 cup rice vinegar
5 1/2 tbsps sugar
1 1/2 tbsps salt
1 inch length konbu (kelp)

Mix the ingredients above together and heat until sugar dissolves.

To prepare the rice:
When the rice has finished cooking, turn it out into a large bowl (preferably wooden). Slowly pour about 2/3 cup of the sushi dressing (which should be cool - you can force cool the dressing by placing the bowl in iced water). into the cooked rice and mix by 'slicing' across the rice instead of mixing in a circular option with a rice paddle. Mix well and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, mound the rice in the center and cover the bowl with a damp cloth and the rice is ready for use.

As you can see, assembling sushi does require a fair amount of time and patience, but the results are definitely worth it!

Other Japanese Recipes:

Simmered Rockfish (Mebaru Nitsuke)

Deep-fried Rockfish Cheeks with soy-bonito sauce

Japanese Clam Soup

Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce

Deep-fried Rockfish Boat

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