Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sushi...well really Maki

Making sushi or maki at home is surprisingly easy, and requires only one special tool.
I will show some of the basics with a few variations. There are really endless possibilities for fillings; raw or cooked fish, vegetables or tofu. You can also play with sauces; BBQ, hot sauce, mustard or teriyaki

To start make sushi rice. This can be found at many large supermarkets or whole foods.
Follow the directions on the package. As a general rule use 1 1/2 water to one rice, with a pinch salt.

While this is cooking, make the vinegar dressing.
1/2 cup sushi vinegar (or rice wine or white)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar

Warm the vinegar with the salt, stirring until dissolved . Add the sugar and continue stiring until dissolved, do not boil. This can be stored in the refrigerator if there is extra.

When the rice is done, turn it out onto a work surface. I like to use a silpat lined cookie sheet. This prevents sticking and contains the rice.

Gentle drizzle a little of the dressing over the rice, gently stirring to coat. Continue to toss the rice, adding just enough dressing to coat the grains with out making them overly wet. There should not be liquid in the tray.

Let the rice cool as you prepare the rest of the fillings.

To prepare vegtables, such as cucumber and carrot, julienne using a mandoline or sharp knife.

Last night I made crispy shrimp and BBQ salmon.

To prepare the shrimp, peel, devain and clean.
To keep the shrimp straight (this makes it easier to roll) I insert a skewer in them before frying.

To prepare them for frying, toss them in flour, then egg wash (eggs with a little water), then panko.

Fry until cripy on both sides, about 3 minutes. Then pat dry with a towel.

One important thing is to have your mise en place in order. Before you start to roll, have all the fillings cut, have the rice prepared and sauces ready at hand. It is also good to have a small bowl of water to dunk your hands in to help prevent the rice from sticking.

To roll the maki you will need a sushi roller, they are available at most kitchen stores. I like to cover it with plastic wrap to prevent the rice from sticking and getting stuck.

Lay a piece of nori on the roller, shiny side down. Dip your hands in the water and place a handful of rice on the near end of the nori. Using your finger tips spread the rice out to cover about half the sheet.

Lay your filling down the center of the rice.

You can have some of the items stick off the end. This gives a nice dramatic look when cut.

Then using the roller, rollup the nori, tucking the sheet in as you come around. Squeeze to press the rice and filling together. To seal the roll, using a little water on your fingers brush across the end of the nori that is sticking out. (If there is more than about a half inch, you can cut this off before sealing.) Then continue rolling to seal the end. Place on the counter cut side down to help seal the end.

To make inside out rolls, start again by spreading the rice on the nori. I like to sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Then flip over. This time fill from the opposite end, with no rice underneath. Place the filling about a half inch in. Then roll the nori around the filling. This time the rice will seal the roll shut.

Cut the rolls into 8 to 10 pieces using a very sharp knife that is a dipped in water. Whip with a towel between cuts to make clean cuts.

Serve the rolls with some pickled ginger and soy for dipping.