An ancient delicacy of Japan, sushi has been a staple food of the country for nearly 1000 years. While in old times fish would be wrapped in fermented rice to preserve the raw fish, today, we wrap sushi in vinegar rice, adding to the texture, flavor, and to increase the ease of consuming sushi. There are many different types of sushi available. The form of sushi you may most recognize, though, is known as “makizushi”: a form of sushi rolled in seaweed.
Buying Sushi Ingredients and Equipment
It is important that you use Japanese rice. American rice will not be sticky enough to produce a proper sushi roll. Also, make sure you purchase Japanese rice vinegar to enhance the rice.
Most ingredients you need for any type of sushi can be found at any local grocery store. If you wish to use fish in your makizushi roll, try to find fish labeled as “Sashimi-Grade.” This means it is clean and has been frozen below -4F. Shellfish, tofu, or egg can be used instead of raw fish.
Adding vegetables to your dish, such as avocado, carrots, and cucumber, can add to the zest and texture of your sushi roll.
Nori, or seaweed, will be used to wrap the sushi rolls. This should be available at any supermarket or Asian specialty shop.
Using condiments such as ginger root, wasabi, and soy sauce is common practice for Japanese sushi eaters. Real wasabi may be difficult to find, so making it from wasabi powders might be easier in western countries.
Purchasing a sushi mat will make rolling the sushi a breeze. These come available in kits that may include how-to books, chopsticks, and other helpful tools.
Preparing the Rice
Rinse the rice thoroughly, making sure the water runs clear before moving further into preparations. Use a rice cooker to boil the rice. Wrap the rice in a light cloth to lock in moisture. Heat the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small pan until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Then let the mixture cool. Spread the rice evenly over a flat plate, and lightly pour the rice vinegar mixture over that. Gently fold the rice over itself without squishing the rice together. Once the rice has cooled, it should have a shiny appearance and be ready for use immediately.
Rolling Some Sushi
Place the nori seaweed over the sushi mat shiny side down. Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of sushi rice over the seaweed, leaving about an inch of space with no rice on the side opposite of you. Align the fish and vegetable ingredients in a narrow strip over the rice on the side closest to you. Get your fingers moist with water and get the bare seaweed wet. Using the bamboo sushi mat, roll the sushi tightly until the nori is touching each other. This should create a seal between them.
Serve and Enjoy
You can now cut the makizushi roll into several slices with a sharp steel knife. Place the cut sushi pieces on decorative plates and serve. You can add flavor to the sushi by dipping it in soy sauce or wasabi, and clearing your palette with sliced and pickled ginger. While most unknowingly eat sushi using chopsticks, the Japanese eat it using their hands. Chow down and enjoy this amazingly simple, yet delicious Japanese treat.