Today’s post is dedicated to homemade SUSHI. Some may think that it’s way too hard to even attempt to make, but that is definitely not the case. If you have the right ingredients and follow the proper steps, you’ll have great tasting sushi at a fraction of the cost of dining out.
First I’d like to start by saying that this was my first time making sushi and thankfully, it was an absolute success. I’m no sushi expert (as you can see from my uneven, lopsided rolls in the pictures below), but there are a few key points you must follow in order to make authentic sushi. There are essential tools, a long with some necessary ingredients that you will need.
Preparation is key in having a positive experience while making sushi. One of the most important things you can do is to ensure you have the right type of rice and cook it properly. There’s nothing worse in making sushi, than having crumply rice that doesn’t hold together. Another important part of this process is make sure you have a very sharp knife! Sharpen your knife before using, if unsure. This is absolutely essential in order to cut smooth, clean rolls. A dull knife won’t cut through your roll and will leave you with a broken up roll with dangling seaweed – not fun.
Below is a picture with the bamboo mat and some of the ingredients that you will need. There are many ingredients that are not shown in the picture, however those ingredients are pretty straightforward.
Sushi rice is a type of Japanese short-grain rice. It needs to be rinsed thoroughly to remove the excess starch, this is an important step.
Making Sushi Rice
What you need:
2 cups ‘sushi rice’ (Japanese short-grain rice)
2 cups water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place rice in a medium-large sized pot and rinse the rice with cold, fresh water. Move around the rice a few times for a good stir, then slowly pour out the water, ensuring to not make any rice fall out. Repeat this 4 times. The water will be milky in colour, but will slowly turn more clear by the fourth rinse. Make sure to dump out all of the water. This first step washes away the excess starches. Skipping this step will probably leave your rice slimy and mushy.
Add 2 cups of water to the pot of rice and bring to a boil on high heat, uncovered. Once the water starts to boil, give it a stir and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Cover with lid and set the timer to 20 minutes. Let the rice cook on low heat for 20 minutes without uncovering. Then remove from heat and keep the pot covered. Let stand for 10 minutes covered, (don’t peak, as the steam will escape).
Prepare the rice seasoning by whisking together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl. You can heat this mixture over stovetop to ensue the sugar and salt grains have dissolved, or leave it out for some time, usually about 10 minutes and the grains dissolve on their own.
When the rice is done, transfer to a large bowl and pour in the rice vinegar seasoning. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, you will need to ‘cut’ the rice. This a type of folding technique that will not mush your rice. Gently continue to cut and fold the rice to ensure it is evenly coated with the seasoning.
Slightly wet a towel and place the damp towel over the bowl to completely cover the rice. Let sit for 45-60 minutes, until rice is at room temperature. The damp cloth allows the rice to cool, while preventing it from drying and hardening. Do not store in the fridge. Once brought to room temperature, the rice should be used immediately.
While your rice is cooling, prepare the ingredients.
The ingredients I used were julienned cucumber, sliced avocado, and of course shrimp tempura.
*** Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the avocado to keep from turning brown.
Making Shrimp Tempura
What You Need:
bag of raw shrimp, deveined and shelled
Tempura batter (I used store-bought batter to save time)
3/4 cups + 3 tablespoons ice-cold water (you’ll need more for filling up a bowl of ice-cold water.
Prepare the tempura batter according to package directions (sigh…I know it’s not homemade). Once the tempura batter is prepared, place the bowl of batter over another bowl filled with ice-water. This will ensure the batter stays cold.
Once shrimp is deveined and shelled, you need to diagonally slice the shrimp with shallow cuts underneath the shrimp. This will allow you to straighten the shrimp without it breaking. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large frying pan, using just enough oil to slightly cover an entire shrimp. To check when the oil is ready, drop a pinch of tempura batter in, and it should immediately start sizzling away.
Dip shrimp in tempura batter, evenly coating the shrimp with a pretty thick layer. Now gently drop the shrimp in the hot oil and fry for about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes each, or until golden brown. When done, place shrimp on a paper-towel covered plate to drain the excess oil.
*** If you have a lot of the tempura batter left over, cut up some veggies of choice and make vegetable tempura, using the same steps as above. I used yams and broccoli, which came out delicious.
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
Directions: Heat ingredients on medium heat, whisking constantly for about 10 minutes or until thickened.
Unagi sauce is a thick, sweetened sauce that adds the perfect amount of flavour to various rolls, especially shrimp tempura rolls. A little goes a long way with this sauce, so use sparingly.
Spicy Mayo (for dipping)
1 tablespoon mayo
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
(This is a good ratio for the sauce, but you can adjust for your desired spiciness.)
Ingredients to keep at the table:
Once rice is cooled and all ingredients are cut and prepared, it’s time to set up the bamboo mat for rolling.
Nori (seaweed paper)