Tag Archives: Asian

How To Make Your Own Sushi For Fun And Profit

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.

Make your own sushi ingredients
Ingredients.

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

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:

  • Cucumber
  • “Crab”

Spicy mayo:How to make your own sushi

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!

How to make your own sushiCrushed Nacho Cheese Doritos

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.

The Steps:

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.

 How to make your own sushi
Sushi 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.

How to make your own sushi
Nori, rough side up and shiny side down.
How to make your own sushi
Rice on the nori! Nori tears easily so do this gently.

5. Place your ingredients on the sushi in a straight line on the end of the nori that is closest to you.

How to make your own sushi
Ingredients should be chopped into "stick" shape.
How to make your own sushi
Keep the ingredients somewhat compact and make sure each ingredient is placed throughout the length of the nori.

6. Use the bamboo mat to fold the nori over the ingredients and roll it up with your hands, keeping it tightly compacted.

How to make your own sushi
Folded over.
How to make your own sushi
Complete!

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!

9. ????

10. Profit!

How to make your own sushi
Enjoy!

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.

Chinatown Buns

We don’t venture downtown as often as we should considering all of the great things to see, do and eat. When we do go, we’re usually headed to Chinatown to buy buns, bubble tea and get something permanently etched into our skin. Our tattoo shop of choice, Sal’s Tattoo and Barber Shop (http://www.salstattoo.com/) is found there, surrounded by amazing bakeries and shops. Matt was headed for a consultation as well as to have his arm traced, while I tagged along for the food.

Chinatown is an experience – little old ladies sell baubles and plants on the sidewalk, and shops are filled with rambutan, durian, various types of tree fungus and jars of tiny, freeze-dried seahorses (I’ve yet to find a recipe for these, but if you’ve got one let me know). There’s a “smell”, but it’s less pungent on cooler days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Spadina/College neighbourhood, two particular bakeries sit nearly side-by-side offering soft, sweet, pillowy buns with tasty fillings. We normally stop at each one, loading up on bun varieties the other bakery doesn’t offer. We first stopped at Ding Dong bakery for lunch, which consisted of a few BBQ pork buns, curry beef buns and my personal favourite – the bun with a hot dog in it. But we were surprisingly disappointed by these buns, which were not as we remembered when we last dropped in. Matt described his curry bun as “soggy”, while the BBQ pork was full of onions and none of the sweet red sauce that normally accompanies it.

The remainder of our bun shopping was done at Mashion Bakery just up the street. For savoury fillings, we chose BBQ pork, ham and cheese, curried beef and hot dog (“things with hot dogs in them” cross all cultural boundaries). There are as many sweet options, including coconut buns, custard, pineapple, raisin, wintermelon and red bean. Miniature and fried versions of most bun flavours are also available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We loaded up two grocery bags full of buns, along with six loaves of coconut bread, which included all they had on the shelf plus much of what they were hiding in the back. Coconut bread resembles a batch of Wonderbread hotdog buns, but chewy, sweet, covered in sesame seeds – and each roll holds a tube of the most delicious ground up coconut filling not unlike what’s inside a Bounty bar.

Another of our favourite recent discoveries is Japanese cheesecake, a light and airy white cake with a distinct cream cheese flavour.

The buns are ridiculously cheap, sometimes two or three for a dollar. The total cost of our haul: a paltry $26. The buns also freeze well and make a great snack or lazy lunch. Next time, we’re bringing more bags.

Bun selection greatly diminishes at the end of the day, and there are never leftovers that are bagged up and sold for less later on, as far as we’ve seen. You don’t have to go all the way to your nearest Chinatown for these delicious buns, though. They can be found wild in great numbers at Asian supermarkets like T&T, as well as prepackaged at your average No Frills if they know what they’re doing.

Our next stop was the best bubble tea around, Number 9 Bubble Tea, which lets you combine various flavours to your heart’s desire. I had a coffee/coconut bubble tea followed by a blueberry bubble tea later on (elated after discovering I could double up on their tapiocas upon request, which are made in small batches and are the tastiest in the neighbourhood) while Matt discovered their amazing slushes – fruity, fine-grain slush that melts in your mouth. On this occasion, I must admit I also filled up my loyalty card and scored my second bubble tea for free.

 

Maureen’s Note: In Ottawa, Green Fresh Market in Vanier on Montreal Rd. has in my opinion the best bbq pork buns. Made fresh daily, they are made with a slightly sweet dough and generously stuffed with large pieces of pork soaking in an excellent Chinese BBQ sauce (char siu) – a bargain at 89 cents. This is my go-to early flight meal. The buns at T&T are more expensive and of lower quality with less filling, but are nicely individually wrapped. Several of the grocers in Ottawa’s Chinatown offer an array of stuffed buns as well.

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. Check out her website at www.heatherrosewriting.com.