Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sushi for Scaredy-Cats, part 2

We've made sushi several times since my Sushi for Scaredy Cats post but forgotten to photograph the process.  We had friends over tonight as a last big hoo-hah before their 3rd son was born.  What better time to document our dinner?  (For the record, she ended up going into labor the next day, which makes it 2-0 for pregnant friends delivering the day after having dinner with us.)  Maybe we should offer a labor kickstart service...?

We never got around to buying a sushi-rolling mat, since our Japanese grocery is waaaay across town.  While we were at IKEA, however, we bought a $1.99 Toga placemat to use instead.  Whichever you have, be sure to wrap it tightly and completely in plastic wrap.

We started with the fixins for four adults, two 4 year-olds, and two 2 year-olds. We ran out of nori before we were all full, but it was fun experimenting with rice-only rolls! LOL They were a little squishy (and not at all proper, I'm sure), but it got the job done.  In fact, we loved them -- you could really taste the avocado without the nori there to compete.

Check out the Sushi for Scaredy Cats post for more details on the "how to" before you begin!

This time, we used julienned carrots and cucumber, cream cheese strips, avocado strips, krab, and smoked salmon --- all pretty cheap, depending on the time of year.  For the carrots, we found that using a vegetable peeler on baby carrots, then matchsticking them, worked really well.  The cucumber should be peeled and seeded before matchsticking.  If we'd had green onion, it would've been a perfect spread.  Well, and bbq eel.  Yes, seriously.  If you ate it without knowing what it was, you would want it too.  So there.

You can buy "sushi rice" and rice vinegar at WalMart now, but I can't vouch for the quality.  Here's what we did to the rice:
  1. Make the sushi rice according to the package directions.  We used 3c uncooked for this dinner, and it was exactly/barely enough for our group.  Let the rice cool.
  2. Heat 6T rice vinegar, 4T sugar, and 2tsp salt until it mixes together, then let it cool.  Again, this is the amount for 3c uncooked rice.  If you find this ratio too sweet/salty/vinegary, adjust it for your tastes.
  3. Fold the cooled mixture into the cooled rice in a large bowl.
  4. Mix a little water and a little rice vinegar into a little bowl for fingertips and knives.
Leslie was a natural sushi-roller.

See? I promised I'd get an in-progress rolling pic!  I drew a little arrow so you could see how the mat moves as you roll.  First, roll up the end of the mat that has the fillings on it, just until the end of the nori touches the rice bed beyond the fillings.  IMPORTANT: lift the mat up and away instead of letting it tuck under and touch the rice bed, or it could get rolled up into your sushi!  As you continue, you'll need to lift up that end of the mat when you roll (like Leslie's doing with her left hand, above).  Shape the sushi roll into a cylinder by tucking the mat around to the base of the roll (the little bobble in the arrow) and squeezing gently and evenly through the mat along the length of the roll. 

FACT: food tastes better when you work for it.  Click the pic above to see the Awabdys close-up.  They're darling.

Mark tries his hand at an inside-out roll.

Wetting the knife with vinegar water to prevent sticking.

We didn't have any, but you can sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds before flipping it if you want them on the outside of your inside-out roll.

The shark smells comes Caspian...

Two year-olds look hilarious trying to wolf down a sushi roll, but it's probably safer to let them take bites.  Nori-less rolls are a little less messy, too.

Woe betide her who tries to tell Caspian he can't take every.single.piece off the group plate.  Following with "until you finish what you already took" quickly resets the sushi-lover's tantrum clock.  (Speaking of clocks, check the microwave to see how long that turnaround took).

Even if your kids won't/can't eat the rolls, they'll probably eat the fillings and the rice.

The ends of the roll will always look funny (top, left), especially if you squeezed too hard when you rolled.

But at our house, there's always someone willing to eat them...for the sake of the photo, of course.

the aftermath

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