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Saturday, January 24, 2009

California Sushi Rolls

Equipment Needed:

Bamboo sushi-roll mat
Clean cutting board
Sushi knife or very sharp knife
Wooden spoon or wood or plastic rice paddle for spreading rice
Plastic wrap (optional)


1 - 10 Count Package Sushi Nori (seaweed sheets)
2 - cups Sushi Rice
(I use watermaid medium grain rice $1.12 for a 16 oz bag at Walmart)
2 - cups water
Cucumbers - sliced thinly
1 - 8oz package Crab Classics Imitation Crab (leg style), sliced
2 - Avacados - sliced
Carrots - sliced thinly (optional)

Sushi Su- Sushi Rice Seasoning
4 1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
4 - teaspoons sugar
2 - teaspoons salt

Garnish : Soy sauce, Wasabi (optional), pickled ginger

Sushi Rice takes a little over an hour to prepare, so plan accordingly. Use a minimum of 2 cups of rice to equal parts of water. Place the rice in a bowl and wash the rice with water, rubbing the grains gently between the hands to remove excess starch. Drain and repeat until the water comes out clear. It takes about 3-4 times of rinsing. If you have starchy deposits on the rice it will result in a gummy rice and you will have a improper absorption of the vinegar seasoning. Soak the rice in water until the rice looks milky white in color about 15-20 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside to dry for about 15 minutes. Choose a heavy saucepan with a snug fitting lid. (4 cup capacity) Place the 2 cups rice in the pot and add 2 cups water. Cover and cook on medium heat until boiling. Stir gently with rice paddle removing any excess rice grains that stick to the the sides of the pot. Once it comes to a boil turn the heat down to med/low cover and simmer until almost all the water is absorbed about 5-8 minutes. Then turn the heat to low, do not remove the lid and steam the rice for about 15-20 minutes. Until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to set, this takes about 10 minutes. (this will yield about 3 3/4 cups cooked sushi rice).

While the sushi rice is setting you can prepare the sushi - su (the rice seasoning). This is what gives sushi rice its delicate, tart-sweet flavor. To make the rice seasoning add 4 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 4 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt in a non reactive bowl, mix the above ingredients together until dissolved and set aside. You will need to prepare a separate bowl of solution for you hands and tools. A solution of 1 part rice vinegar to 3 parts of water this is used to moisten hands and to moisten the knife to cut the sushi. (abut 1/2 cup rice vinegar to 1 1/2 cups water). OK now you want to mix the rice solution into the rice. This is an important step to have successful sushi. For proper absorption the rice seasoning needs to be mixed into hot rice. This should be done gently so you do not mush the grains of rice. Then the rice must be quickly cooled down to room temperature to acquire the beautiful glossy sheen and chewy texture made by sushi rice. Start by loosening the cooked rice from the pot into a large bowl. Pry the rice away from the sides using the rice paddle dumping the rice into the bowl. Moisten the rice paddle with the vinegar solution you made for the utensils not the rice seasoning. Do not add any rice that has stuck to the bottom of the pan, you don't want burned or hard rice. Gently run the paddle through the rice while adding the sushi - su (rice seasoning) at the same time. Gently Fold the rice seasoning into the rice using the rice paddle. Keep folding and mixing the rice gently to incorporate the seasoning and to start to cool down the rice. This usually takes a helper to fan a magazine as you mix the rice. I don't usually have a helper since everyone in my house except me hates sushi LOL so i end up doing this part by myself at times. I just blow on the rice or use one hand to gently fold and one hand to fan the rice with a magazine. Cooling the rice gives it the nice glossy sheen. It will take about 10 minutes to cool the rice to room temperature. If the rice it to warm it is to hard to handle.


Now you are ready to start rolling the sushi. Have ready your rolling mat, rice paddle, vinegar solution for your knife to cut the sushi and for your hand. And lastly your filling for you sushi. ( I use Imitations Crab Style Leg Meat, Cucumbers and Avocados). Make sure they are all sliced and ready to go before you start to roll your sushi. Lets start, place one sheet of Nori on the counter (shiny side down) with the widest side closest to yo at the edge of your mat. You can lay a piece of plastic wrap down first before you lay down your Nori wrapper. Me I can never get that part right it slides around to much for me and i cannot properly roll the sushi, so I chose not to use plastic wrap. It's your preference. Take about 1/2 cup of seasoned rice and with your moistened hands, place the rice on the Nori wrapper and with your fingers or the rice paddle moistened with seasoning water spread out the rice evenly onto the sheet of Nori to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cover the Nori sheet leaving about 1/2 inch to 1 inch uncovered. I went a bit far on mine in the above picture, so if you went to close to the edge just take some rice off. You need room to seal you sushi roll.
Now it is time to add your filling. Place the filling end to end in the middle of the Nori wrapper. Travis took the picture to fast, so the placement of my filling needs to be up in the middle more. You will be rolling the sushi Away From You. Now holding the core ingredients firmly in place roll part of the Nori over the ingredients. Now using your thumbs slowly turn up the edges of the mat closest to you to enclose the sushi roll and filling. then raise the end of the mat slightly so you don't roll the mat into the sushi roll, and continue to roll. Make sure to hold back the filling as you roll your sushi keep rolling until all the Nori wrapper is rolled up. I dab a bit of the seasoning water from the tools we prepared earlier on the open end of the Nori wrapper to seal the sushi roll. Before unrolling squeeze the roll gently while the rolling mat is still on the sushi roll. Unroll your mat and Tada!!!!!!!!!!!! you have a sushi roll. This is my favorite part I am usually beside myself waiting to get the first bite. Place your sushi roll on a separate plate or on the counter to the side to let set for a couple minutes.

Lightly moisten the knife blade with the separate vinegar solution we make earlier for your hands and the knife. This will keep the sushi rice from sticking to the knife while you slice it. Slice the roll into 6 even pieces. Use straight firm cuts. I find that the ends are not as pretty for presentation so I just cut the ends and eat them as i go along LOL I do this cause i can hardly wait to dive in and eat them. Place the sushi slices on a pretty platter with the core ingredients visible. Serve with pickled ginger, Wasabi and soy sauce for dipping. I do not like the Wasabi.

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