Maki Sushi

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Sushi and photo by Kelly CA © Sarah Phillips 
Dear Sarah,
We made sushi last night and I thought that I could share it with the board.
I know this isn't baking but I'll bet there are a lot of folks who would like to know how to do this.
We make and eat maki sushi all the time around here and it's pretty easy to make. The hardest thing about it is all the chopping prep you have to do.
It is SO much more economical than getting it at a sushi place.

Maki sushi, or sushi rolls, are very easy to make at home, once you know a few tricks and tricks.

A. You need to purchase a sushi rolling mat in order to make maki sushi. This is, simply, a matt made of thin bamboo sticks that is tied together with cotton string.
It is used to help you make a nice tight sushi roll.

B. You must also use the correct type of rice when you make sushi. We use medium grain Calrose rice.
Medium grained rice is sticky when cooked, unlike long grained rice. When making sushi, sticky is a good thing.

2 cups of dry rice will give you between 6 and 8 maki sushi rolls.

2 cups medium grained Calrose rice
1/4 cup rice vinegar(unseasoned)
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Teaspoons salt

1. Cook rice in a rice cooker until tender.
2. Remove rice from rice cooker and place it in a large bowl. We like to use a large wooden salad bowl.
3. Mix together rice vinegar, salt and sugar and stir till sugar and salt are dissolved.
4. Pour vinegar mixture over the rice.

5. Mix rice with vinegar mixture, using a folding motion. Mix until rice cools a bit and starts to look glossy. Your rice is now ready to use.

C. Before you start assembling your rolls, you must prepare your roll fillings. Really, the sky's the limit. We always make a variety of fillings for our maki sushi. You DO NOT have to use raw fish when you make sushi.

KELLY CA SAYS: I like to use cooked shrimp, crab and even smoked salmon. I have used crab sticks, which are imitation crab meat formed into maki sized sticks. You can see them on the plate with the characters from the movie "Cars" on it. You can also make completely vegetarian sushi. Our favorites are sliced avocado, cucumber and teriyaki shitake mushrooms...which are reconstituted dried shitake mushrooms, cooked with a sweetened soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, sake mixture. After the mushrooms cook in this mixture for a while, I thicken the liquid with a little cornstarch/water slurry.

We also like smoked salmon, combined with thin sticks of cream cheese, julienned green onion and sesame seeds. Mixed veggie rolls are also good...julienned cucumbers, with carrots, that have been julienned and cooked briefly in water till they are crisp-tender, and avocado.

D. There are squares of dark green seaweed, also called nori, which are specifically made for sushi making. You should be able to find this in the Asian section of your grocery store. It should say "toasted(or roasted) nori" or "toasted sushi nori".

E. You will also need wasabi, which is a bright green Japanese horseradish. This is usually sold dried and you simply reconstitute it with a little water, till it forms a paste.

F. Another traditional accompaniment is sweet pickled ginger. SO YUMMY!

G. Toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling

H. Bowl of water which is essential, because it keeps the rice from sticking to your hands.

1. Have all of your ingredients and supplies ready.

KELLY CA SAYS: Here I have my rice ready, my rolling mats are good to go. So is my wasabi paste, toasted sesame seeds and my bowl of water.

2. When you are ready to start, lay your sushi matt out on your counter and place a sheet of nori on it, shiny side down. Have a small bowl of water nearby.

KELLY CA SAYS: You MUST moisten your hands before you attempt to put your seasoned rice on the nori or you will be covered with rice!

3. Grab a handful of rice and spread it out over most of the nori, leaving at least an inch of rice, on the far end, free of rice.

4. When you are ready to fill your roll, dip your finger into your wasabi paste and paint a stripe of wasabi the whole length of your rice.

KELLY CA SAYS: Here, I am making a California Roll, which consists of a crab stick, avocado slices and I like to add a little bit of green onion and sesame seeds because I think hey taste better that way.
The crab stick goes on...

Then the avocado slices.

Green onion strips and a little sprinkling of sesame seeds...

5. Now it's time to rock and roll!! When you are finished adding your filling, roll up your maki to encase the filling like a jelly roll!
A. Begin rolling up your maki by lifting the near end of the rolling matt.

B. When you near the end of rolling the nori, wet your finger and moisten the end of the nori with water. This will make the nori stick to itself and insure that your roll will not fall apart.

C. Continue to roll, until you reach the end of the nori and then give the matt a little squeeze to make sure your roll is nice and tight.
KELLY CA SAYS: Here is a picture of a finished roll.

D. Set your rolls aside till you have used up all of your rice.

KELLY CA SAYS: The roll wrapped in plastic is an "inside out" maki roll.

6. When all your maki are formed, it is time to cut the maki into evenly sized pieces. It is VERY important to use a VERY sharp knife with a thin blade.

KELLY CA SAYS: I usually cut 6 sections from each roll.

A. Fill a tall glass with water and dip your knife into it and wipe it on a clean kitchen towel. Between cuts, do the same.

B. Then cut your roll in half. You will then cut off the ragged ends of your maki.

C. As you cut, the sticky rice will get all over your knife. Between cuts, dip your knife back into the glass of water and wipe it on a clean kitchen towel.

7. When you are all done cutting your maki, arrange them on a tray with a little cone of wasabi paste and a nice rosette of pickled ginger. Pour a Sapporo or some sake and eat like a king, on a pauper's budget.


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