We eat loads of Japanese food at our place. It’s healthy, clean and doesn’t make you feel like you need a nine hour nap when you’re done feasting. But best of all, one meal can cater for everyone’s tastes – especially when we do these sushi rolls.
*Sushi rice. Don’t try and swap it for another type of rice – it just doesn’t work. You can find all these Japanese ingredients in the Asian section of your local supermarket.
*Nori – aka flat sheets of seaweed.
*Japanese mayonnaise – optional.
*Wasabi – green Japanese horseradish. Optional, and packs a punch so use it sparingly.
*Japanese ginger to serve – optional.
*Japanese soy sauce to serve.
*Fillings – now this is where you get to customise your sushi rolls. At our place, favourite ingredients include: carrot, cucumber, capsicum, tofu, salmon (raw from the fish shop – make sure you ask for sushi grade) as well as smoked salmon, caviar, egg, avocado and prawns. You could also use crab meat, lettuce, shredded chicken or tuna.
Rice: First up, you need to cook your rice. Add equal amounts of water and rice to the pot – eg: if you use two cups of rice, add two cups of water (this is the amount used to make the sushi rolls pictured). Bring rice to the boil for about 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium. Once the water is just about absorbed, turn to low for a further 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let rice stand 15 minutes with the lid on. Stir through 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar. We usually cook our rice a couple of hours before it’s needed and refrigerate until needed.
Filling: Slice all ingredients into strips. Carrot, cucumber, capsicum, tofu (my favourite!), avocado etc. With the egg, make a plain egg omelette and then slice into fine strips. Prawns and other seafood can also be sliced. The key here is to be organised, with everything ready for rolling on the bench.
Roll ‘em up! This can be tricky the first time, but it gets easier with practice. Lay your sheet of nori on a sushi mat (also available in the Asian food section at the supermarket). Spread your cooled rice evenly over the top, leaving gaps at the top and bottom. Then, add your fillings, including mayonnaise or wasabi. It’s much easier to roll if you don’t add too much, especially for beginners.
Once you’re loaded up, start at the end closest to your body, use the mat to guide your nori, and roll up and away from yourself. Be firm, take it slowly and remember to tuck the end closest to you. Once your sushi roll is rolled, it should resemble a long cylinder.
Pop it aside, and start on the next one. Repeat. Refrigerate for 10 or 15 minutes to make the rolls easier to slice, using a VERY sharp knife. Again, take it slowly and try to slice your rolls evenly. We usually discard the end pieces.
Serve with soy, mayonnaise, ginger and more wasabi (if you’re game!)
*With thanks to Simon, my very special hand model!