Sushi for the Novice Sushi Chef
Here are a selection of sushi that the novice sushi chef will find easy to put together. The ingredients are readily available, and will allow you to practice your art. Remember, if the worse comes to the worse, you can always eat your mistakes. 🙂
These recipes are designed for the Western palate which demands more pungent flavours than the Japanese. The Japanese prefer to taste the freshness of the vegetables or fish whereas the Westerners want flavour and pungency.
A Japanese visitor to a Western Sushi bar would be horrified when they see the amount of Wasabi and Soy Sauce we add to our sushi. In Japan it would be regarded as disrespectful to the Sushi chef (who take 8 years to learn their art) to ask for more Wasabi.
The amount of ingredients below will produce enough sushi rolls for 6 - 8 people to enjoy.
- 2 cups Premium short-grain rice - sometime packed as Sushi rice.
- 120 ml Flavored Sushi Vinegar - or plain Rice Vinegar
- 1 Bamboo rolling mat
- 3 Tbsp Namida® Wasabi Paste (heaped), made from Namida® 100% Pure Wasabia japonica Powder
- Soy Sauce
- Pickled Ginger
- Nori Seaweed or Soy Paper (1/2 sheet for each desired roll or hand roll)
- White sesame seeds - unless you are allergic
- 3 Japanese Eggplants, peeled and cut in half lengthwise and then into 6mm (1/4 inch) strips
- 2 English cucumbers cut in half lengthwise and then into 50mm (2 inch) strips
- 2 Portobello Mushrooms, Stemmed and cleaned
- 500 gms (1 lb) Asparagus, hard ends trimmed - fresh if in season otherwise canned ones work just as well. The canned ones do not need cooking.
- 2 Avocado, skin and pit removed, cut into 6mm (1/4 inch) slices
- 250 gms (9 oz.) Smoked Salmon, thinly sliced
- 7 Tbsp Olive Oil
For the Rice:
(For best results use an electric rice cooker and follow the manufacturers instructions, and then skip to step 3.)
1. Bring 2 and 1/2 cups water to a rolling boil in a thick bottomed pot and add the 2 cups of rice.
2. Reduce heat to lowest setting and cover, let rice steam for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender but still slightly firm
3. Remove rice from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
4. Add sushi or rice vinegar and using a large wooden spoon or spatula mix thoroughly and allow rice to cool for 10-15 minutes in a bowl. Cover with a cloth.
For the Mushrooms:
1. Heat 4 Tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat until oil begins to shimmer, then reduce the heat to medium high.
2. Add whole cleaned mushrooms to pan rounded side down, and cook for 90 seconds.
3. Flip mushrooms over, cover pan, and reduce heat to medium and let cook for 2 more minutes.
4. Remove from heat, slice mushrooms on the bias into one thin, one inch wide strips.
5. Let cool on paper towel.
For the Japanese Eggplant:
1. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat until oil begins to shimmer, then reduce heat to medium.
2. Add peeled and sliced eggplant to sauté pan and cook for 90 seconds or until eggplant begins to brown.
3. Flip and cook the other side an additional 90 seconds or until both sides are brown and eggplant is tender.
4. Remove from heat and transfer cooked eggplant to paper towels to cool.
For the Fresh Asparagus:
1. Bring 1 litre (1 qt.) of water to a rolling boil and season with 1 tablespoon salt.
2. Add asparagus and cool 90 seconds until fork tender
3. Remove from hot water and “shock” asparagus in ice water to stop from cooking.
Assemble the Sushi roll:
Now that you have all the bits and pieces cooked and prepared then all you have to do is assemble the sushi rolls. 🙂 This is not as difficult as you think!
1. Feel the nori sheet from both sides and you will find one side to be smooth and the other a little rough. The nori should lay on the rolling mat with the rough side facing upwards.
2. Smear a small amount of Namida® Wasabi Paste on the nori sheet leaving a 2 cm margin at the furthest edge of the nori sheet.
3. Get your hands wet, and make about a handful of rice to a ball of rice. It's important to keep your hands wet while working with sushi rice because it is sticky. When you work with the nori though, you should keep them as dry as possible.
4. Gently put the rice ball in the middle of the nori sheet, and start spreading it evenly on the nori, creating a layer of rice covering almost the entire sheet except the upper 2 cm edge of the nori sheet that should be left uncovered. The far edge of the nori needs to be empty of rice in order to close the sushi roll properly.
5. Now it's time to place a slice of fish (preferably no more than one) on the edge of the nori, along with 1-3 pre-cut slices of vegetables (carrot, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, or whatever you fancy).
6. Using the closer edge of the rolling mat, close on the filling with the nori making a rectangular shaped hill and tighten it from above.
7. Move forward, continue rolling in the rectangular hill steps, keeping it tight with every move until you reach the end of the nori. Put pressure on the roll from all three sides at all times, especially on stops to allow it to roll tightly.
8. Apply a small amount of water (from the fingers is OK) before you make the final roll to close the nori. This will make the nori stick to itself and hold the roll closed.
9. Allow the completed roll a few minutes to rest before cutting it.
10. Use a wet, sharp knife to cut the roll in to little sushi units. 6-8 units per roll.
11. Serve with small bowls of soy sauce, Namida® Wasabi Paste and pickled ginger.
10. Lay out completed sushi on serving plate. Sit down with your friends, and enjoy the fruit of your labours. 🙂
You can purchase 100% Pure Wasabia japonica rhizome powder here. This powder is freeze dried to retain all the ITC content and contains no additives.
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