Making sushi rolls involves a little creativity and a lot of patience. Depending on how many you are making, the act of tamping down the rice, inserting filling, rolling and finally slicing can take a fair amount of time. My sister calls it her “Zen” time. No one helps, and it does take her a fair amount of time, but in the end, her efforts and our patience pays off. A sea of colourful jewels lays before us and a smorgasbord of flavour. Every bite is a new experience, and depending on your tastes, can be quite different even in the same roll. Maybe you like to dip in soya sauce, or a mixture of soya sauce and wasabi paste. Maybe you have a soya dressing you prefer. Whatever it is you like, anyone can dig into sushi. Not just for the raw fish eater, sushi can cover many bases. Cooked fish and eels, vegetarian, raw scallops, crab, plum, spicy, mild, crunchy, soft, large and small, it’s all there.
The following will give you a recipe for sushi rice, and prepare you for some of the things you may need to buy. The rolls themselves are less a recipe, and more of a list of possible ingredients. I hope you’ve liked my three part series on my family’s favourite Japanese food. Tune in soon for ideas for your next holiday feast!
Japanese Mayo plays a starring roll in this meal
Sushi Rolls (Maki)
For rice, cook sushi rice as directed on package. When rice is ready, immeidiately add anough “Nakano” seasoned rice vinegar to taste (should be able to taste it but not be overpowering). Remove rice to bowl, cover in damp towel and allow to cool completely before beginning rolls.
Barbequed Eel Roll (Unagi)
Makes enough sauce for a few rolls
One small piece of barbequed eel (available at Japanese seafood stores)
6 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp Mirin
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Dash of rice vinegar
1. Boil everything (except eel) for 1 minute, turn temperature down and simmer until thickened.
2. Allow to cool before adding to roll.
3. Slice eel into thin strips, apply coating of sauce, roll as desired.
Oshinko & Japanese Mayo (Pickled Daikon)
Long, thickly cut slices of oshinko
Japanese Mayo to taste
Garlic Scallop Roll
1. Sauté roughly chopped scallops with minced garlic and butter until fully cooked.
2. Apply to rice and add thin lines of Japanese Mayo, roll as desired.
Spicy Crab Roll
1. Mix fresh or canned crab flesh with Shiracha Chili sauce to taste and Japanese Mayo.
2. Add thin slices of avocado to roll and roll as desired.
1. Apply thin strip of Japanese Plum sauce (not the same as American) to rice, add thinly julienned (deseeded) strips of cucumber and roll as desired.
Spicy Shrimp Roll
1. Mix shrimp, wasabi paste and Japanese Mayo to taste, apply to rice and roll as desired.
Smoked Salmon Roll
1. Thin strips of lox are accompanied by thin slices of avocado and Japanese Mayo. Roll as desired.
Raw Scallop Roll
1. Mix raw scallops with with tobiko (flying fish roe) and Japanese Mayo.
2. Apply to rice and roll as desired.
To roll sushi, the use of a Makisudare or Makisu(or sushi mat) is essential. To begin, place a sheet of Nori (dried seaweed) on the mat, apply a thin layer of seasoned, cooled rice (leaving a one inch bare space on the side furthest from yourself) and then add your desired fillings.
To make a traditional roll, simply roll tightly away from you and when you reach the bare patch, apply a small amount of water and finish rolling to seal.
Serve sushi by itself or along other sides, such as the Spicy Grilled Tuna or Sunomono Salad from the rest of this series. Just remember, what might have taken you all day or at least most of the afternoon, will most likely, disappear within 10 minutes.