It's been such a long time since I've made sushi and I finally got around to using my makiyakinabe (Japanese for roll-bake pan literally) that I bought expressly for the purpose of making tamagoyaki for nigiri sushi. This is my little brother's favourite sushi and I have been promising him I would make some even before he returned for the summer holidays. Now that he is leaving and going back to the UK actually tomorrow (sob!), I finally got around to making the sushi yesterday. I know, I am such a procrastinator! Anyhow, I was glad I did, not only for him but also because it was quite fun and it reminded me of how much fun it was to make sushi. It was my first time however at tamagoyaki and trust me, I was not totally sure if I would be able to make a decent one. I am glad to report that I think I made a decent version :O (though there is always room for improvement) and I hope my little photo tutorial helps if you attempt to make some for the first time.
This sweet-tasting omelette sushi is not only appetizing, but they look quite pretty too don't they? I always thought that the nori (seaweed) strip binding the egg and rice together made the sushi look like little gift parcels with the nori strip as the ribbon. Anyway, they are just so pretty to look at and trust me and although a little time-consuming, making sushi at home is so rewarding - not only for the delectable and gorgeous results but the process itself is just so fun. On the other hand, making the tamagoyaki was a little daunting at first but I soon got used to it, I think that the small size of my pan also helped as I only needed to use a pair of chopsticks to roll the egg layer as my other hand had to hold the pan steady. Once you get the hang of it, you'll probably look forward to making the vibrant omelette rolls again and again.
By the way, I think tamago sushi is a great 'starter-sushi' for kids especially since the flavours are not exotic at all and the egg is fully cooked.
Makes about 30 nigiri sushi
Notes from Jen:
1. Make sure to use Japanese short-grain rice for the best results.
2. Do make sure the sushi dressing is entirely cool before pouring into the rice.
3. Do not mix the dressing into the rice with a regular circular motion as this will break up the grains too much.
For the sushi rice (su-meshi) (Recipe from The Book of Practical Japanese Cooking)
1 cup Japanese short-grain rice
For the sushi dressing: (alternatively you can buy bottled sushi dressing from most Japanese or other Asian grocery stores)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsps sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
1 inch worth of konbu (kelp)
1. Firstly, wash the uncooked rice and allow to expand in a colander for about 30 minutes. This step is to ensure a better consistency for shaping sushi later.
2. Next, prepare the dressing by boiling the ingredients above together on low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove konbu as soon as mixture starts to boil. Allow to cool to room temperature.
3. Cook the rice as usual in your rice cooker.
4. Once the rice has finished cooking, turn the rice out into a large bowl (preferably wooden), by now the sushi dressing should have cooled. Start by pouring about 2/3 of the dressing onto the rice while making slicing actions across the rice to mix the dressing in with a rice paddle. Do not mix in a circular fashion as this will break the grains up too much. Continue the above with the remaining of the dressing.
5. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, mound the rice in the center and cover with a piece of damp cloth, your su-meshi is ready for use!
For the tamagoyaki
Notes from Jen:
1. Cook the eggs over low heat to avoid burning as a thin layer will burn pretty quickly over high heat'
2. Don't be tempted to spoon more egg mixture into the pan as a thick layer will not roll well and since it takes longer to set, you may end up burning the egg layer.
3. Make sure you start rolling when you see the egg layer has set underneath with the top still slightly gooey, if you wait too long, the roll will not work as the slight gooeyness works as a 'glue' of sorts for the roll.
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp shoyu (or substitute with light soy sauce)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1. Firstly, mix the eggs together with the seasoning above with a pair of chopsticks or a fork. Don't use a whisk as we don't want to incorporate air into the egg mixture.
2. Prepare a non-stick (preferably the rectangular ones) pan and a bowl of oil by the side of your stove with a brush or scrunched up paper towel. This is for oiling the pan in between adding the layers of egg.
3. Oil your pan lightly and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add about 2-3 tbsps of egg (depending on size of pan) to form a thin layer on the pan. Cook over low heat, once you see the egg starting to set, with a pair of chopsticks or fork, roll the egg layer towards you gently.
4. Remove pan from heat, oil the rest of the pan again. Pour in another thin layer of egg (about 2 tbsps but note that the pan I used was small, about 5 inches by 8 inches), with your fork or chopsticks, gently lift the rolled egg a little to let the new egg mixture get under the roll as well. This helps to stick the layers together.
5. Now, with your pair of chopsticks, roll the egg away from you (so the roll you made the first time will be your starting point).
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 above until half of your egg mixture has been used up if you're using a small pan like I did or if your pan is larger, please adjust accordingly.
7. Once your egg has been rolled, place on bamboo mat and shape for a tighter roll.
8. Allow to cool to room temperature. Slice with a sharp knife, about 1/2 inch thickness.
9. Your tamagoyaki is ready to be used!
1 portion of sushi rice (as above)
1 1/2 sheets of nori (seaweed), cut into strips
2 tbsps vinegar mixed with 1 cup of water (for hand vinegar)
1. Wet your hands with the hand vinegar, then take about 1 1/2 tbsps worth of the sushi rice and sort of cradle it in your right hand at the base of your fingers. Crimp with your other hand to form a rectangular block with rounded corners.
2. Gently press down on the top of the rectangular block with your finger and lay a piece of sliced egg on top.
3. Take a nori strip and wrap it around the rice and egg, seal side down. If the nori strip is too long, simply cut it off to adjust for the size of your sushi.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 with the rest of the rice and the egg slices.
5. Serve the sushi with some shoyu (or light soy sauce) with some wasabi as dipping sauce.