Arrival ~ Japan: Sushi

Surfing around yesterday, I happened to find Joan’s Foodalogue and her fantastic Culinary Tour 2011 group.  The group travels around the world making dishes popular to the country or region.  How fun and adventurous is that?  Very!

The group was currently set to arrive in Japan.  When I think about Japan, I think of sushi rolls and cherry blossoms.  I haven’t been so decided to travel virtually.

Cherry Blossom Burst by Okinawa Steve

I have always wanted to make sushi rolls.  But, I have a secret.  I can’t make perfect rice.  No matter how many times I try and no matter the method, I just end up with a pot of gooey gum.  Maybe it is the altitude in Denver…maybe it is my constant peeking into the rice pot but it just never turns out.  So, sushi rolls were banished from my kitchen.

But…this group is adventurous, creative and the food looked amazing so I am facing my rice and sushi roll fears to take the trip with the Culinary Tour group!  Yes, I am!

Enjoy the scenery along the way.

Nikko, Japan by Okinawa Steve

Bridge in Nikko, Japan by Okinawa Steve

Castle in Japan by Okinawa Steve

Spicy Tuna Roll:

2 rolls

2 cups sushi rice (prepared – see below)

2 sheets nori

1/4 pound sushi grade yellow fin tuna (diced and mixed with spicy mayo)

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced thinly

1/4 English cucumber, peeled and cut into small match sticks

Spicy Mayo:

2 tablespoons may (your choice, I used low-fat olive oil mayo)

2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine until well mixed.

Sushi Rice:

2 cups rice (use Japanese short-grained white rice, also called japonica rice or sushi rice. Japanese rice has the correct amount of starch needed to make the rice glossy and sticky, not mushy or dry. You can find this style of rice at most well-stocked grocery stores or Asian markets)

1/4 cup Japanese rice vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons sugar

Preparing the Vinegar Mix:

Heat the vinegar, sugar and salt in a sauce pan on the stove over medium heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved into the vinegar. Do not boil the mixture. Leave sitting off heat until needed. You can make this portion before or while the rice is cooking.
Preparing the Rice:

Rinse the rice in cold water. This will take several minutes and several changes of water. Rinse the rice until the final change of water runs almost clear and there is no debris present. You can leave the rice to soak in the water for 15 minutes, or let sit drained in the strainer for up to an hour.

Cooking the Sushi Rice:

Steam the rinsed rice in an equal amount of water (i.e.: 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of water) in the 2-quart pot on the stove top following the package’s directions or by bringing to a boil, then cooking over very low heat until the water is evaporated and you are left with lovely sticky rice. You may use rice cooker instead of the pot and stove.

Use very low heat after the initial boil and keep the lid on at all times.

Once the rice has finished cooking, it can be left off heat in the pot with the lid on for up to 15 minutes.

Seasoning the Sushi Rice:

When the rice has finished cooking, add the vinegar seasoning mix to the rice. Turn the rice out of the pot and into a non-reactive glass or wooden bowl. The traditional method uses a wooden container or Sushi Hangiri Temaki Set. Cool down the rice and add the seasoning at the same time. Use a tool like a shamoji in a gentle chopping motion to spread out the grains of rice and ensure the seasoning covers every grain. Some people use a hand-held fan to help in the cooling process.

Guess what?  I had great sushi rice.  I did.  Yeah!

Ready to fill and roll?  Yes, finally!

I found it so much easier to view the rolling process via photos or videos and rather than recreate them, I have linked to a photo tutorial and a video tutorial.

I admit, it was a long process.  Washing and drying the rice.  Cooking and cooling the rice.  Seasoning and fanning (yes, fanning) the rice and then finally rolling but it was so fresh and delicious that I do think it will be a weekend event going forward.  The options for filling are really endless!  My sushi roll days are just beginning.

Linked to Wanderlust and Lipstick

{Photos by Okinawa Steve used under Creative Commons Attribution}

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7 responses to “Arrival ~ Japan: Sushi

  1. Welcome to the tour!! You did a good job with sushi. I’ve yet to try my hand at it. Thanks so much for your contribution. P.S. Those photos of Japan are absolutely gorgeous.

  2. Congratulations on the rice and how brave to make sushi. I agree with Joan about your glorious pics of Japan.

  3. Looks like you conquered your rice fears and came up with an innovative and delicious recipe. It was fun to meet you oin the vurtual tour.

  4. You actually did the fanning part? My my … but since it brought you luck with your sushi rice …
    Really lovely sushi rolls, I think the spicy mayo must have tasted great in it. Did you useblack sesame and a 7-spice-mix to roll your sushi in?
    The cherry blossom photo set the right mood, I actually feel a bit homesick right now 🙂

  5. You made great sushi rice and fantastic tuna rolls! the cherry blossom’s photo you posted is marvellous! did you see mine? no match! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Hiyashi Soba and Tempura ~ Daring Cooks Challenge « On and Off My Plate

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