Hop,skip and Jump

Friday 8 May 2009 | Posted by Kishi | South Asian Cooking

sushiI was going through my pantry to search for some ingredients and check what all I have so I can try some New Mexican recipes. I tried Sancho’s yesterday at South ex and my experience was not a satisfying one. They didn’t serve beer, so my friend was a bit upset coz our plan was to snack on nachos and watch the IPL match. Forget beer they didn’t serve us water for a while. The food was not at all authentic. We tried burritos, sizzling fajitas, melon martini and rose sangria. And quesadilla-the only on the menu I recommend. The debacle meal made me frenzied to try some Mexican food at home and fulfill my hankering.
I owe my Mexican food knowledge to my Chef friend Crystal who is half Mexican and has also travelled with me there and made me venture into some very delicious vegetarian meals and changed my perception. I was searching for tostada’s coz I remember picking up a box. In my entire exploration, in the ever filled cupboard I found a packet of Nori Seaweed. Suppose sister had got it from Singapore and it’s just been lying around.
So I decided to hop from Latin to South East Asian cuisine.
Nori = Seaweed=Sushi! For those who are wondering what’s Nori – its dried and pressed layer sheets of seaweed or algae. All sushi has a base of specially prepared rice, and complemented with other ingredients
Here is my take on it …my dad didn’t enjoy it and we concluded he doesn’t like Sushi. Mom and I in actuality got pleasure from making and eating it…so try it.

Ingredients/Amount

Short grain rice 1 ½ cups
Water 1 ½ cups
Salt 1 teaspoon
Sugar 1 tablespoon
Rice vinegar 1/4cup

Sushi Fillings:

Nori seaweed 1 pack
Avocado, cut into thick strips 2 each
Cucumbers cut into thick strips 1 each
Carrots cut into thick strips 2 each

OPTIONAL:
Pickled daikon
Sesame seeds, toasted 1/4 cup
Black sesame seeds 1/4 cup

Sushi Garnishes/condiments:

Pickled ginger aka GARI 1/2 cup
Wasabi 1/8 cup
Water 1 tablespoon
Soy sauce, light aka SHOYU 1/2 cup

To Cook the Rice:
Wash the rice until it is clear. Cover with 3 cups water, add salt and sugar, and bring to a boil on the stove. Cover and place in a 350º oven until it is tender, approximately 30 minutes. Transfer rice to a flat pan and allow to partially cool. Add vinegar and mix well. Cover and reserve.

To Prepare the Fillings:
Have all of the ingredients including the rice, the filling, and the garnishes prepared before rolling the sushi. The vegetables should be cut into long strips that are approximately 1/4 inch wide.

To Assemble the Sushi Rolls:

1. Place a piece of the nori onto the bamboo mat and spread the cooked rice out to the edges leaving a 1 inch strip at the top of the nori to “seal” the roll. Moistening your hands with cold water will prevent the rice from sticking to your hand and it will spread much easier.

2. Spread a small amount of the wasabi down the center of the rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place the fillings down the center over the top of the wasabi in single rows. Leave the filling sticking out both ends.

3. Begin rolling by lifting the mat over the top of the filling with your thumbs and hold the filling in place with your fingers. Roll tightly to the end and form into different shapes like circles, squares, or semi-circles. Get the roll as tight as possible without tearing the nori. Unroll the mat and check for uneven areas. Reposition the mat and reshape as needed. Set aside and allow resting for a few minutes before cutting.

4. To cut the sushi, a sharp knife is a must and you need to be aggressive and cut with swift deliberate strokes. If cutting is a problem, try dipping the knife into cold water and wipe off any water and residue before each slice. The three basic cuts are the straight cuts, the end cuts, and the diagonal cuts. A combination of the different shapes will help to produce a more interesting presentation, although the length of the cuts should be consistent.

5. Arrange the sushi onto boards or platters and garnish with wasabi paste and the pickled ginger. Serve with chopsticks.

Suggestions: Anything can be used to fill the sushi rolls including a variety of vegetables like carrots and asparagus, different cooked meats, and fish both raw and cooked. Tofu, eggs. It’s a game of probability. Mix and Match and a new type of sushi will be born! For my meat eater friends try the California Roll with king crab legs, cucumbers, and avocado or the Philadelphia Roll with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and cucumber. I made one with corn and cream cheese with red chilies. If the Nori has a rougher side, spread the rice onto it because it will stick better. Thinner rolls can be made for hors d oeuvres and larger rolls would be more appropriate if served as an entree. You may want to wrap the bamboo roller (I had picked mine from Singapore) in plastic wrap to keep it clean.

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