This time, I tried my luck with this essential element of Japanese cuisine: homemade sushi!
To make homemade sushi is to first understand the rules implied by this art of eating: the emphasis is not on quantity, but rather on quality and presentation. It’s not so much about cooking, but about preparation: you just have to follow a series of steps and make arrangements. As usual, I recommend watching videos on the subject to familiarize you before you start: this one, among others, is excellent.
- short grain rice,
- nori seaweed leaves,
- rice vinegar,
- toasted sesame seeds.
There are of course different fish, for my first time I made simple, nothing raw, and within the reach of all:
- smoked salmon,
- and also lump eggs (cheap “caviar”).
- green onions,
- carrots and cucumbers finely chopped,
- as well as pieces of avocado.
But if your heart tells you, no need to stop there, the possibilities are many: tofu, omelette, other vegetables or fruits, etc. To serve, you will also need soy sauce and marinated ginger (which is bought at all).
I cooked 2 cups of rice, with 550 ml of water. While the rice was cooking, I heated 50 ml of rice vinegar with 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan over low heat until the granules dissolved. Then I pulled out of the fire, and let it cool. Once the rice was cooked, I poured it into a big bowl not too deep, and I added the vinegar mixture, then mixed well with a spatula.
My book then said to use a fan (I used a magazine instead) to help cool the rice very quickly. I was skeptical, but it worked very well in just a few minutes. During this stage, it is necessary to mix the rice a few times, so that the temperature is equal everywhere.
The preparation Some steps in my case.
- To cut the vegetables.
- Make a kind of Japanese mayo by simply mixing 1/4 cup of mayonnaise with a teaspoon of soy sauce.
- Make a quick tempura batter, cover the shrimp, then fry for a few minutes in the wok. (This step adds a different and nice texture, but is quite optional.)
- Make a creamy preparation of pollock, chop 1/2 cup, then mix it with chopped shallot, a tablespoon of Japanese mayo, the juice of half a lemon, a few drops of hot sauce, salt and pepper .
With all the ingredients in front of me, I rolled and assembled my sushi, one after the other, by varying the ingredients (vegetables only, Californian -goberge, mayo and avocado, smoked salmon and avocado, tempura shrimp with carrots and caviar, cucumber with pollock mix, etc.)
Different kinds of homemade sushi
I also tried different “styles”:
- makis: traditional rolls surrounded by seaweed,
- nigiri: rice ball with a piece of fish on top,
- gunkan: small disk of rice surrounded by seaweed higher than rice, to deposit on the upper part another ingredient which would not hold in place otherwise -caviar or mixture of pollock,
- temaki: cornet,
- uramaki: rolls upside down, with the seaweed in it and the rice on the outside – so you can use it to roll the rice in grilled sesame seeds or caviar.
To ride, I used a small bamboo mat. We must place a sheet of seaweed first, cover rice to form a carpet more or less thick, put the fillings in the middle line, then gently roll by pressing on the placemat.
My rolls were not perfect; I think it takes a lot of practice, to get to ride pretty tight! The rice is very sticky, so I recommend using a small bowl of water next to soak your hands often. Once rolled, we can finally cut, with a big knife rather sharp. It was a bit difficult, especially for the pieces on the edges; the filling tended to come out of the roll.
Result: I will not hide it, even for such simple sushi, it was long. Very long. It may have taken a couple of hours, so it’s not an experience every day. But on the other hand, it was worth it all the same. It made me understand why sushi is so expensive: there are so many small details, meticulousness, steps! With my inexperience, I did not expect a great meal, to be honest. But it was delicious, well beyond my expectations! I would certainly do it again, maybe with friends, around a glass of wine, while we can talk and we are in no hurry.