How To: Make Sushi Rolls

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I had a hankering for sushi tonight and took you all up on your request for a sushi roll How To. We've been making sushi at home for about 4 years now, but I feel like I got the hang of this by about the 4th or 5th time we did it. It's a learning experience, for sure, but don't give up! The rewards are delicious.

Here's what you'll need:
Reed mat or placemat (for rolling)
Sushi Rice (if it doesn't specifically say sushi rice on the front, check to be sure there's a sushi recipe on the back)
Seasoned rice vinegar
Nori papers (seaweed wraps)
Soy Sauce
Wasabi (be careful with this stuff- it'll clear out your sinuses like nobody's business)

Fillings (below is our line-up of usual suspects):
     Imitation crabmeat
     English cucumber
     Avacado (ripe, but relatively firm)
     Salmon (or whatever you prefer- get it from the fish counter and ask to smell it. I'm serious.)
     Canned crabmeat
     Sriracha Sauce
     Chili Garlic Sauce
     Sesame Oil (or Hot Sesame Oil)
     ANY OTHER DELICIOUS VEGGIES YOU WANT, like carrots, red bell pepper, green onions...


About 45 minutes ahead of time, prepare your sushi rice according to the directions. We use 1 1/2 c dry rice for the two of us to prepare about 6 rolls and 8 pieces of sushi and it's always too much. But we're piggies.
Once your rice is cooked, remove the top and drizzle two quick circles of rice vinegar into your pot. Mix thoroughly and let it begin to cool. (Hot rice = icky lukewarm fish)

Slice up your veggies into narrow strips.
(Avacados are easy, but below is my cucumber trick, learned from "JieJie Sue," which means big sister Sue, who was our translator during my little brother's adoption. Sissy S got to know her again as an adult when she moved to Beijing and she taught me this wonderful trick when I was there last summer.)
Slice about half of your cucumber into diagonal medallions about 1/4" thick. Spread them out on your cutting board so they overlap. Then, cut thin strips up the length of the medallion.

If you want Spicy Crab filling:
Mix Sriracha sauce, Chili Garlic Sauce and Sesame oil into one can of crabmeat. This is also delicious if you finely chop fish of some sort into the mixture. Or use the concept with only chopped fish. Spicy tuna? Yum.

Slice your fish into thin strips (I will ask my Guy to show you all how to slice the salmon for regular sushi next time)
Below is our collection of goodies from tonight

YEEHAW- here's the fun part. Rolling a Sushi Roll.

Place a piece of Nori Paper SHINY SIDE UP on a rolling mat.
Gently spread a heaping scoop of cooled rice on the bottom 3/4 of the paper using the back of your spoon.

Place your fillings lengthwise on the rice about 1 1/2" from the bottom of the roll.

Lift the mat upward and forward with your thumbs and begin to tuck the fillings tightly in the center of the roll. Continue to roll the mat forward while applying pressure.

Tuck the Nori Paper under your fillings to form a tight coil.

Apply pressure and roll the mat forward to continue rolling your roll. Roll.

When you have about 1" left at the end, apply a thin layer of water and roll it forward the rest of the way. Place the roll on a plate with the seam on the underside to help it stick.

Once you have all of your rolls completed, slice them into a little over 1/2" sections using a nice sharp knife. If you notice any pulling or sticking, dribble a little water on both sides of your knife blade. I find that two back and forth cuts will do the trick. Don't saw through and don't press down or you won't have pretty sushi rolls.

In a small dish, combine whatever combination of wasabi and soy sauce you're comfortable with. Use a small amount of soy sauce to start with and mix it together to form a paste (it's easier to mix the wasabi in fully with less liquid at first) and dilute with soy sauce to taste.
FYI- this amount of wasabi shown below might kill you dead. Please use less if you're a sushi newbie.

Dip your tasty rolls into your soy sauce mixture.

Stuff. Your. Face.

Let me know if your have questions or need tips- I'm happy to help ensure your homemade sushi adventure becomes a full-fledged obsession. Link up a photo in the comments of your at-home sushi adventures! 


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