Remember when I posted the photo of my dining room set for sushi and I said the only things missing were friends and a platter of sushi? Half of that is no longer true as of last night. The husband was out of town for a while tonight so I had the kitchen to myself with no one expecting anything to come out of it at any certain time so I took this opportunity to break out all those sushi toys Aunt Miranda set me up with and leisurely play.
I took tons of pics which is a lot harder than it seems when you've got one hand holding on to the bamboo mat and the other hand sliding around the camera trying to get a decent shot. I had fun. I think most people who've rolled/formed their own sushi would probably agree with me that it's not hard, exactly, just a little tricky, as in, takes a little practice to get the muscle memory and coordination to get the rolling down for uniformity, an eye for the right amount of rice and middle ingredients, and then a sharp thin-bladed knife and a deft hand.
My entry for Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen's Weekend Herb Blogging, my focus wasn't on a specific herb, but the plant Porphyra, known to us by its Japanese name "nori", the seaweed wraps encasing or wound up into our sushi rolls. It is also the "seaweed" you find small strips of in your miso, or other soup at a Japanese restaurant. Nori is an edible species of red sea algae that is dried and formed into wraps the size of egg roll wraps in a process very much like papermaking. Nutritionally, nori is a good source of magnesium, potassium, and iodine, and an even better source for thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, copper, and manganese.
Kalyn will be posting a round up later tonight at Kalyn's Kitchen with entries from all over. Check her out! (That sounds naughty.)
Okay, here's how it works. First, you must prepare the rice, steamed in a rice steamer or on the stove as I did, using 1 cup rice and 1 1/4 cups water, simmering for 20 minutes and then left with the lid on to steam for another 15 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the filling ingredients. In my case I wanted to start VERY simply with cucumber, wasabi, and avocado.
In a glass measuring cup, mix together 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, and a dash of salt. Pour this over the cooked rice (in a non-reactive bowl) and gently mix in using a wooden spoon or paddle.
To form a standard roll, cut a sheet of nori in half, lay it out on the bamboo rolling mat, and with wetted fingers, pat a small layer of rice over the sheet, leaving a small head space at the top side.
Rub as much or as little wasabi as you like in a straight line just up from the bottom edge where you're going to place your fillings.
Next the fillings on top of the wasabi line. The fillings can be anything but, again, I wanted to start extremely simply to get the hang of the process before I went nuts with fillings.
Wait a minute...Anyone see a problem in the previous pics? Uh...I got so excited I forgot the rolling mat. Okay, so that's easily fixed with a pastry....what are these things called?
Let the rolling begin. As you firmly, but gently, roll towards the center, you keep your ring fingers holding the ingredients in towards the bottom so that they don't squish out and get away from you.
Voila! Oh. Wrong language. What's Japanese for "voila"? How about Ta-da!
Does this remind anyone else of that original Star Trek episode with William Windom (the sheriff on Murder, She Wrote), the one where the crazy captain hijacts the Enterprise to hunt down the big floating evil thing that ate his ship? You know the one where if you look down the center of it you go insane...and he did. Right before he flew the shuttlecraft down the throat and killed the thing.
Did you ever notice on the original Trek that they lost about a dozen more shuttlecraft than they ever had on board before they set out on that five year mission? I always wondered about that. Was Scotty replicating them down there in the shuttlebay?
Back to sushi. Next, to make an inside-out roll, the same process is followed with one exception. After the rice is on the nori, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top and flip the nori/rice combo upside down on the mat, leaving the plastic wrap between the nori and the mat.
The fillings are placed on the nori side this time.
As you roll the sushi, keep pulling the plastic wrap away from the rice.
Ta-da! Two rolls!
The inside-out rolls can be, but don't have to be, rolled in toasted sesame seeds or roe.
To cut, use a very sharp thin-bladed knife and cut into 6-8 pieces and plate.
Japanese steakhouse Seafood Dipping Sauce "Yum-yum sauce"
Recipe given to me by Janice Keeton who credits local Chef John Blansit for its creation
1 tbsp butter, softened at room temp
1 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp real mayonnaise
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4- 1 tsp Rooster (hot red chili sauce) sauce (to taste)
1 tsp rice vinegar
Directions: Stir oil into softened butter a bit at a time until smooth. Mix in mayo a bit at a time until smooth. Mix in rest of ingredients. Refrigerate until needed. Set out a bit before use to allow butter to resoften. Re-whisk before using.
Cook's notes: To make larger amounts, note that the ratio of butter to oil is 1:1, the ratio of the butter/oil combo to mayo is 1:1, and then rest of the ingredients can be increased logically and to taste. For example, to make enough sauce for a party, you could use 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/2 cup mayo and then increase the rest of the ingredients x 4.
After this photo was taken, I went to the cabinet for a regular plate, piled all my goodies in the one blue square plate, put that and the sauce dish onto the regular plate, grabbed my chopsticks, and took the whole thing into the living room where I sat at watched the last two hours of Gladiator, one of my all time favorite movies. For about the 10th time. What a great night.
Anybody else love that movie? I know it was probably marketed to the young men who love gladiator fighting, but I think the themes and message are incredible, not to mention the writing. I could talk forever about the characterizations and arcs, the dialogue, and the themes but let's just say I love that it's, to me, an inspiring movie about a man who never lays down his honor or moral core, no matter what life does to him or even when the bad guys strip everything and everyone he loves from him.
I'd call that an evening of sushi success.