My first formal introduction to sushi was actually through my job. For one-on-one meetings my boss would often take us to a Japanese restaurant near the office. I would have never gone there on my own, but, being there with him, I felt it rude not to try. As you can tell from my Foodie description, I enjoyed mostly traditional america foods prior to starting this blog. I began to real enjoy the basic, fish-free sushi, and eventually the traditional raw fish. At these meetings, I was always glad my boss covered the bill, because good sushi can be expensive! Since my tastes have evolved over the past few months, I soon had the idea to make my own. I figured we’d be saving money on the meal, and we might enjoy the experience. I enlisted the help of rlk, and together we set out making our own sushi.
In order to pull this off, we knew we had to go to a more traditional asian cuisine market. American grocery stores usually don’t have the volume of products and supplies to make your own sushi. So, we picked a local asian market near us and started shopping. As a new cultural experience, going to an asian market is good cheap thrills. The layout of the store was basic, and similar to an American store, except that the aisle were organized by region (Japan, China, Taiwain, etc.). The inventory is vastly different. The were stocked with items like Sweet Tamarind, wasabi, asian snacks and small candies, TONS of rice, seaweed wraps, and soy sauce by the gallon. Many of these items we picked up as we needed them for the sushi.
Back at home, we laid out the items we needed. Our goal was to make a traditional California Roll. I started on the first roll. In order to make the rice the right kind of sticky consistency, I put rice vinegar in a large bowl of the rice and mixed it in. Next, we chopped carrots, celery, and cucumber and avocado. For the fish, we chose a freshly cut side of salmon (that was also readily available at the asian market). I cut the salmon in thin stops, soaked the it in the soy sauce and prepared to roll!
So an essential item in this sushi-making process we found out is the mat. It’s used to roll and control the sushi roll as you make it. We were able to pick up some cheap ones at that same store, but I can see how having a nice mat for those who make a lot of sushi can be a great asset. I cut a rectangular piece of seaweed paper from one of the larger sheets, placed it on the mat, and put the vinegar-mixed rice on top, with just a bit of space all around the edge of the seaweed paper. On top of the rice I sprinkled white sesame seeds, then flipped the whole thing over on top of the mat.Now, with the seaweed paper facing up, I added the vegetables, avocado and salmon I had cut up together in a line lengthwise down the center of the paper. Finally, I peeled up the edge of the mat and used it to roll the assembly together.So I made the sushi with the rice on the exterior of the roll, because that’s the way I like to get them in restaurants. They can also be made with the seaweed paper on the outside. I’m not sure which way is more traditional, if it’s a regional thing, or if it matters at all, but I can tell you that having the rice on the outside is a little tough to control. A bit of the rice was left behind on the mat when I unrolled, and I don’t think I had the proper rice-to-seaweed-ratio because the rice didn’t make it all the way around. But no matter, it was still really fun! I cut them up the best I could and plated them.
Rlk made a roll too–amazingly. She made it with the paper on the outside and sized her seaweed paper better. She also thought enough to wrap her sushi mat in plastic wrap, which I think helped with removing the roll from it.It was so fun to make our own version of sushi. You get so much more than you would at a restaurant, and for a fraction of the cost! There are so many versions that I’d like to try again with a few different ingredients. We often now go to Asian restaurants and take note of the sushi styles we like for when we make our own again.