~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sushi/Maki-zushi...California Rolls

Sushi/Maki-zushi... or California Rolls. Well, the other day, my husband was craving some sushi. I was glad to make some for him...I felt that it would be something light and a great alternative to a heavy meal. So I was up for it. Ok, by now some of you may want to skip this post. You don't care for sushi, you say. But let's just talk a bit about what sushi really is. You may associate sushi with RAW FISH....and, you want NOTHING to do with raw fish. Well, sushi is not always about raw fish. Actually, sushi, just means vinegared rice in Japanese. That's right! Ok, so sushi may be topped with other ingredients(including raw fish:))....but the name sushi, just means rice with vingar or sour rice. It is only when you bring up the name Sashimi, that the raw fish comes into play. Sashimi is sliced, raw fish...alone, with no rice involved. When you place the sashimi atop a hand-formed clump of rice, it is then called Nigiri-zushi. When sushi(vinegared rice) is placed inside or rolled around nori(seaweed), it becomes Maki-zushi. This is what we also know as California Rolls. Did, I lose you yet?! I hope not. This information is only the very basic information....there are many other names and different terminology that I will spare you from:)! But, if you are still interested you can click here and here for more information. I am definitely not an expert on sushi, but I do love eating it. I also love making it at home.... however imperfect they may be.I love the fact that I can make them vegetarian, use cooked fish or any ingredient that I have on hand. They are rather quite light and I don't have a heavy feeling after I eat a few of these. Now, you may think these Maki-zushi rolls would be really hard to make at home...actually, they aren't that hard to make(as long as you don't expect perfection). I am definitely not comparing my sushi making skills to sushi experts. They often devote their entire life to the art of sushi making and perfecting their skills. Sure, it takes some practice...but it is well worth it. I feel it is much cheaper to do them at home and you can vary the fillings to suit your taste. Plus, they are fresh... its a big disappointment when you spend money on day old rolls. You will need to have a sushi mat to be able to roll them...they are not expensive at all. There are quite a few videos online that teaches you how to make California rolls. Here is a simple one... found on Youtube . I chose to use the recipe from this site. Check out their cool sushi combination ideas...they are pretty neat, plus it gives you great ideas for the fillings. Oh, and check out their sushi etiquette...its pretty fascinating! My directions are pretty simple. I would recommend, if you want to make these, to watch the Youtube link and check out the other links mentioned above. It will give you a more thorough step-by-step info. For the mock Nigiri-zushi(in the photo above), I used smoked salmon with a strip of cream cheese underneath. But, you can also add some wasabi as well. We rather enjoyed these rolls. Hope you too will try them.... By the way, when I went to the market to buy the nori sheets, I accidentally grabbed the hand roll size. The sheets are half of a regular sized nori sheet. This makes the rolling part more difficult, and also made my rolls a bit tinier than normal. It was then I decided to invert them...using the rice on the outside. So, use the regular sized nori sheets for your rolls...it will be much easier.
You will need: basic ingredients

Nori, roasted seaweed sheets
cucumber, sliced lengthwise
avocado, sliced lengthwise
carrots, julienned I prefer to par cook mine or use pickled carrots
crab meat or imitation crab meat (if using)
smoked salmon
cream cheese, long, thin strips
wasabi...Japanese horseradish
pickled ginger
soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds
and any other ingredients you like...try canned tuna, as an alternative
For the rice: adapted from What's Cooking America...it will make 5 rolls(5 nori sheets)
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups uncooked Japanese medium-grain rice*
4 cups water
*CalRose is a good one
Wash rice until water runs clear. While rice is cooking, make vinegar mixture.
Cook rice....I like to use my rice cooker. It allows the rice to soak for a bit before it cooks it.

In a small saucepan, place the vinegar, salt and sugar. Heat over medium heat ... enough to dissolve the sugar. try not to let it boil. Set aside.
After the rice is cooked , let it rest for 15 minutes or so. Transfer the rice to a large bowl and separate the grains using a "cutting and folding" method...try not to crush the grains. You basically just want to fold the rice not stir it. Sprinkle the cooled rice vinegar mixture over the rice and coat the rice with it...taste it and check if it is seasoned according to your taste. You may not need all the vinegar. I like to spread it on a platter and fan the rice so that it cools down and doesn't become too sticky.
Prepare your sushi ingredients:
Cover your sushi mat with plastic wrap.
Add a nori sheet. Place a "clump" of rice and spread it on the nori sheet. You may need to wet your hands so that the rice doesn't stick to your hands. Don't pile on too much rice... Then the fun begins! Place your favorite ingredients in the middle....
For this one, I used avocado,carrots,cream cheese and capers...
Using the sushi mat, roll the sushi ..try to compact the ingredients as you go along. The mat helps you form the shape of the sushi.
I also, chose to make an inside-out sushi roll...Place a sheet on the mat, and then add the rice. Spread it out and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds or black sesame seeds.
Invert the sheet with the rice ...so that you see the nori.
Add your favorite ingredients in the middle.
I chose to use some smoked salmon, cucumber, cream cheese and pickled carrots.
Using the mat, roll the sushi.
Cut in pieces and serve the same day.
Do not refrigerate, as the rice will lose its moistness and get kind of hard. Serve with pickled ginger and wasabi.


Mindy said...

OK - someone in Montana who not only eats sushi, she can explain the different kinds. Amazing! I grew up in Helena, but never heard of sushi until I moved away...you are bringing culture to the valley. I will have to keep this blog a secret from my husband or he'll want me to make it. He loves the raw fish kind, especially tuna. Blessings today!

Ellie said...

Hi MommaMindy!
Wellll...I didn't exactly grow up in Montana:). But moved here quite a few years ago. Though I do know what you mean in regards to bringing a different culture...I remember when I first brought guacamole to a church potluck. Many of them had never tasted an avocado! We love any type of sushi including the raw!:)...compliments of my brother who first introduced us to the Sashimi and Nigri variety. We've been hooked ever since:)

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Lovely ....tempting