Let’s make sushi!

A few years ago Sam introduced me to sushi.  We were living in Shadyside at that time.. a neighborhood within the city limits of Pittsburgh with a “yuppie” vibe (as Sam would describe it) So, when in Rome, we ventured out to the local sushi restaurant after our morning trip to Starbucks and Borders. Of course, I was a little intimidated to try sushi…. raw fish wrapped in seaweed.. people really eat this stuff? But I quickly learned that not all sushi is created equal (or raw).started with Kappamaki. [ “Kappa” meaning cucumber and “maki” meaning roll. ] and avocado rolls. Eventually, I eased my way into california rolls [crab, avocado, cucumber ] and shrimp tempura rolls [“tempura” meaning fried.. mmm yum]. But don’t let me give you the wrong impression…I am far from being the sushi conosur. I only recently started exploring sushi featuring smoked salmon [philadelphia rolls, spicy salmon rolls..] and I wouldn’t dare to make my own sushi with raw fish. Yup, you read that correctly, I have been making my own sushi! The idea came to me as a birthday gift to Sam. Homemade sushi and an ice cream cake made out of ho-hos…. I definitely know the way to my guy’s heart! So in hopes of making his birthday a memorable one, I ventured out to the local Asian food grocery store for a few supplies. (I later discovered that most of the sushi supplies can also be found in local grocery stores) 

How to make a California Roll

Sushi shopping list:
  • Japanese short-grained rice (also called japonica or sushi rice)  
    • [Rice is very important. Regular white rice simply will not work!]
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Nori [sheets of dried seaweed]
  • Vegetables [avocado and cucumber]
  • Imitation crab sticks
  • Bamboo rolling mat 
  • Plastic wrap [to keep mat clean]
  • Chopsticks of course!

Making Sushi Rice:

1. Rinse the rice in cold water for several minutes. 

2. Steam 2 cups of rice in a rice cooker with an equal amount of water

(2 cups rice: 2 cups water) 

3. While rice is cooking, mix 1/4 cup Japanese rice vinegar, 2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup sugar.

4. Heat vinegar mix over medium heat in saucepan 

5.  After rice is finished cooking, add rice vinegar mix to cooked rice. 

6. Use rice soon after preparing or cover with a damp cloth to keep moist and sticky. 

Do not refrigerate cooked rice. 

Lets Roll!

  • Wrap bamboo mat in plastic wrap (this will help to make clean up easier) 
  • Place Nori on bamboo mat.
  • With damp hands or a rice spoon, spread the cooked rice onto the nori. You should be able to see the nori through the rice. 
  • From here there are two options:
    • Option 1: The nori can be kept with the rice-side up. When rolled, the rice will be on the inside of the roll. 
    • Option 2: The nori can be flipped with the rice-side facing down. When rolled, the rice will be on the outside of the roll. (For beginners I would suggest this option and keeping the nori kept rice-side up)
    • Line the bottom of the rice covered sheet with crab sticks, pre-cut avocado slices, and pre-cut cucumber sticks. As I did below.

    • Now its time to roll! 
      • Make sure all ingredients are equal in position.
      • Holding the closest edge of the bamboo mat, roll the sushi away from you. 
      • Tighten the roll as you go. Press your hands over the bamboo mat to further pack the roll. 
      • Once tightened, you should be able to unwrap the bamboo mat without the roll coming apart.
      • Move your full roll to a cutting board.  Slice it first down the middle. From there you can cut it into sixths or eighths. 

    Video: How to make an inside-out California Roll


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