Disclaimer: I have previously taken one sushi making class, but this is my first time attempting it at home from scratch. The most important takeaway (more like the only one I remember, lol) from that class was “keep your hands moist so the stupid rice doesn’t stick!”
This set “only” took a small blood sacrifice and 2.5 hours of my time to make from start (washing the rice) to this… attempt at plating. >_> Don’t give me shit about the tray. Let’s just call it traditional? Because vermillion is a traditional Japanese color. Do I at least get a point for making it semi presentable?
- Back Row: Gunkanmaki with (fail) salmon roses on top of a bed of to tobiko (flying fish roe) and slivers of green onion for garnish
- 3rd Row: Makizushi with salmon and tobiko
- 2nd Row: Gunkanmaki with battered, pan-fried spam, toasted white sesame seeds, tobiko and green onions again; + slice of the salmon maki roll that wouldn’t fit in the 3rd Row
- 1st Row: Pigs in a blanket. (Egg fried spam + green onion + a finger of rice. spam IS mostly pork, AKA pig)
- Right: Salted, seared beef tongue makizushi with, guess what!!!!! Green onions and toasted white sesame seeds
The takeaway? I like green onion and it grows very well in my backyard so I spam it in my “cooking” hehhehheh. I was trying to keep things simple by reusing only a limited number of ingredients. The most expensive thing in here is not the salmon, but the flippin’ beef tongue. The pre-sliced stuff rivals gold, price per ounce (not really). However my sister looooves that stuff, tongue not gold thank god, and this was for her birthday dinner since we were too busy to go out. Plus I’m really fond of it too.
My first roll (as represented by that lone slice piece in row 2 was waaaay off in terms of rice ratio seeing as the filling wasn’t centered. However, I mostly got it down and was decently pleased with myself by the last roll (see the left beef tongue cross slice). I do not have a mat and this set was made without one so it is definitely possible to make sushi without it. From what I learned it’s mostly just for final shaping before plating.
The tub of tobiko required a blood sacrifice to open. Watch those nasty, sharp plastic edges 😛
Rice and Seaweed
Obviously, I bought the seaweed sheets. Did not make them from scratch.
I used this recipe for cooking the sushi rice and making the sushi vinegar, going with the version that uses 4 tbsp of rice vinegar, 1 tsp of salt and 2 tbsp of sugar. I nuked the solution twice in 15 second intervals to get everything dissolved before drenching the rice.
The above pictured spread is the results of 2 cups of sushi rice and 8 sheets of seaweed (which turned out to be way excessive). The birthday girl and my dad “helped” me fit it all of it onto the platter you see by “disposing” of several pieces.
If you can’t find “sushi rice” aka Japanese hulled short-grain rice at a resolvable price, I have a substitution for you in the next paragraph. By the way, “first crop” rice is highly, highly preferred for the moisture absorption properties to make the grains tender and properly sticky. if you use non-first-crop or rice that’s been sitting around for a while, add more water in the cooking pot.
This is an acceptable, functional mix that i have found: 3 parts short-grain, sweet rice (aka glutinous rice, not to be confused with Japanese short grain rice) to 1 part medium grain CalRose Rice. Make sure that you BLEND the rice well AFTER washing/rinsing as the grains tend to sort themselves and settle for size. You want the mixture to be as homogeneous as possible when you add water and put it to cook.
To answer some questions:
- The 3:1 ratio is by volume not weight. be consistent in the way you pack the measuring cup.
- 2:1 is not sticky enough.
Update: Round 2
I made more sushi, again, the day after and changed the components ratio of the sushi vinegar a bit and found that I preferred the taste of the resulting sushi rice. For 4 tbsp of rice vinegar I added 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of fish sauce (the three crabs brand).
2 cups of rice is juuuust enough to go with 6 sheets of seaweed and make 7 rolls. I trimmed 1.5 inches off each of the seaweed sheets (8 x 7.5 inches) off the longest side then overlapped and “glued” the trims back together with a carpet of rice for the last, 7th roll
This is not quite enough to feed a family of four so I will need to cook three cups of rice next time and slap it all on top of 9 sheets of seaweed.
**Another Round: My Favorite Variation
2. 5 Tbsp white cane sugar
0.5 Tbsp Fish Sauce (Three Crabs Brand)
0.5 Tsp salt
2 Fl Oz Rice Vinegar (Marukan)
This variation is a little sweeter and pairs well with briny or salty, rich things. Not so great with just cucumber maki or tamago yaki though. Rice probably needs another half tsp of salt for those items.
I doubled the sushi vinegar for double rice (4 cups). Feeds 6 with plenty to spare.
Things to Try
Shinode Sushi Rice
Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice
Heng Shun white rice vinegar
More play with the sugar amount and maybe types of sugar.