Last week, I attended the Sushi 101 class I had signed up for in December. The first thing I learned is that sushi is all about the rice. This makes it surprisingly vertical and allergy friendly. It does not have to contain any fish in it at all. If you are after raw fish, you are interested in Sashimi. Sushi can have fruit, vegetables, fish, chocolate, or meat in it. It is the rice that makes it sushi. Presentation, however, is important. In class, I learned seven different ways to make sushi, complete with presentation tips. Since the rice is the most important piece, I have included a recipe for sushi rice at the end.
The first thing we covered was how sticky the rice it. In order to have it not stick to our hands, we first put on rubber gloves, and then use a very small amount of oil to keep the rice sticking to our gloves. This pretty much allowed us to work with the rice without it sticking. The other trick I learned was to not squish the rice. As it is very sticky, what you want to do is shape it, and it will hold together. Now, on to the types of sushi!
The first type of sushi we learned to make was Temaki, or had roll. This type of sushi was easy to make, and resulted in a larger proportion. It has a cone shape as it final shape. We used a half sheet of nori to roll the cones with.
The next kind of sushi we made was Makizushi. This is the rolled sushi cut into 6 to 8 pieces. We learned to make it both with the nori on the outside, and the rice on the outside. To my surprise, we learned the version with the rice on the outside first, and it was easier to make. When you slice the roll, do not saw at it, rather, just gently pull the knife towards you.
Nigirizushi, or hand formed sushi is a log of rice, with an ingredient on top. If needed, wasabi may be used to keep the topping in place, or a thin strip of nori may be wrapped around.
The next one, Gunkanmaki, has the nori wrapped around the rice, with the rice forming the base of an oblong bowl. This sushi will hold ingredients that would fall off of another type of sushi. While many people did spicy tuna for this one, I did not, as the sauce had eggs in it. I may try to adapt the spicy tuna recipe at some point though.
In its most common form, Inarizushi is a fried tofu pouch filled with sushi rice. If you make it at home, however, you can add very small chopped items to the rice. I would like to try this with some chopped mango and cilantro in it.
Oshizushi, or pressed sushi, is layers of rice and other ingredients in a rice press. It is important to remember not to press down on the sushi, rather, you want to use the top to keep it in place as you pull the press, leaving the sushi below. My green onion and fish roe version was surprisingly good.
The last type of sushi I made was Chirashizushi. It is simply stuff on sushi rice. Now, presentation is important in all cooking, even this last type, so I tried to make sure it was presentable.
Now that you have seen my sushi pictures, here is the recipe for the rice. Try it, and play with your options. It will taste good no matter what it looks like, and with practice, it will look nicer each time you make it. As far as I can tell, the ingredients are allergy safe, but it is always a good idea to double check. Remember, you do not have to have fish in your sushi.
|2 cups||uncooked short or medium grain rice||420 grams|
|2 cups||water||475 milliliters|
|1/4 cup||rice vinegar||60 grams|
|1/4 cup||mirin||60 grams|
1) Rinse rice until water until water almost runs clear.
2) Add cooking water, and cook as directed by the package (generally 1 part to 1 part).
3) Mix rice vinegar and mirin together, season rice.
4) Let rice cool to room temperature before making sushi.
- Short-grain or medium-grain Chinese or California rice should be used, not long grain. Traditionally, short-grain rice was used.
- When stirring in the seasoning, be careful not to smash the rice together. You want to lightly season each grain of rice with your figure tips. Each grain should be whole, and seasoned. Unseasoned rice grains will become hard.
* Metric rice measurements are based off of this online Rice and Rice Flour Conversion Calculator. I want to get a scale, at which time I will be able to better capture and assure good metric ingredients. Until then, let me know if I get any of them wrong.