Sushi is delicious. It’s a popular take-out item, but it can be made at home much more easily than you think. To get real specific, “sushi” only refers to the vinegared rice found in various applications from nigiri (fish on top of rice) to maki (rolls of rice with stuff). Technically, this is Makizushi or “maki”.
Along with the following food items, you will also require a sushi rolling mat (or a bamboo placemat from the dollar store) and some plastic wrap.
Mandatory sushi ingredients:
- Sushi rice
Sometimes sold as sticky rice or calrose rice… if there’s a picture of a sushi roll on the package you are probably good to go. Cook it in a rice cooker, let it cool.
Nori are dried seaweed sheets. For some reason I thought you had to soak them in advance or something in order to transform them from delicate, dried crunchy pieces of mermaid-tail coloured paper into the soft, stretchy sushi coating we all know and love, but you don’t – the humidity from the rice takes care of all of that.
- Rice vinegar
- A couple spoonfuls of white granulated sugar
Our optional sushi ingredients:
Hold on to your butts, because I am about to significantly improve your life. Spicy mayo, found on many delicious sushi roll varieties, is nothing more than mayonnaise mixed with Sriracha chill sauce. You’re welcome. Now you have the most delicious condiment for dipping, to spread on sandwiches and more. You’re not eating straight mayo, it’s an exotic treat!
The restaurant that awakened my desire for sushi, Kinki in Ottawa, has a roll with crunchy stuff in it that appears to be crisped rice mixed with Dorito cheese. It’s probably not exactly that, but it totally tastes like it. Here we have cleverly skipped a step and simply crushed Doritos. Get a little crazy and go with extra spicy if you so desire.
1. Dissolve the sugar and vinegar together on the stove and allow this to cool before adding it to your rice. Mix well. Almost immediately, the rice will unstick itself and you will panic as it takes on the appearance of plain white rice – fear not, for this is only a disguise. If you let it sit for a moment it will recombobulate itself back into sticky rice.
2. Place the bamboo mat on a firm surface and have a bowl of warm water and a stiff spatula handy.
3. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the bamboo mat. This is supposed to make it easier to form the sushi roll, but I find it gets in the way sometimes. You will have to find the best way for yourself.
4. Place the nori rough side up (it has a rough side and a shiny side) and gently spread the rice on it using the spatula. Wet the spatula in the water periodically to make this easier – but overall, this is the hardest part. Cram the rice onto the nori in a thin but tightly-adhered layer using the spatula, dipping it in the warm water to help it slide along the rice. Iron Chef Morimoto can do this simply with his wet hands at ninja speed, but we are lesser beings. Keep the rice layer only about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick – the thicker this layer, the bigger the rolls will be. You will need less rice than you think.
5. Place your ingredients on the sushi in a straight line on the end of the nori that is closest to you.
6. Use the bamboo mat to fold the nori over the ingredients and roll it up with your hands, keeping it tightly compacted.
7. Chill the sushi in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so. I made this step up, I don’t know if you need to. It makes it easier to cut.
8. Slice the sushi!
Guest contributor Heather Rose is a freelance writer living in Toronto with her puppy, Bodie and boyfriend, Matt, one of whom enjoys her culinary experiments more than the other. She applies her life-long philosophy – “I did my best” – to all her recipes and cooking experiences.