I have a confession to make. I love sushi. It’s portable, it’s beautiful, it’s totally different to the everyday sort of food I normally eat and it’s heavily associated with raw fish, all of which are things which are massive plus-points for me. I first made sushi in university, and it’s something I like to do occasionally as it’s lots of fun. It’s also, however, very time consuming; hence I don’t do it very often. If you’ve not made it before, I found this website to be really helpful when I first made it.
When I was in Oxford over the weekend, I took the opportunity to go to the MK Oriental Market on St Clements. I love this shop! The staff are friendly and its small size is deceptive as it’s really very well stocked. There’s nowhere near where I live to buy sushi ingredients, so I picked up some rice, pickled ginger and wasabi (I already had a large packet of nori in my cupboard). I wish I’d thought to pick up some miso while I was there too, but I’ll have to have a proper trip next time I’m in Ox.
A lot of people are scared of eating sushi because they think it has to involve raw fish. It doesn’t. While I love raw fish, the sushi I made tonight didn’t involve any. You can use raw or cooked ingredients, and some of my favourite sushi includes stir-fried veg with ginger. The great thing is that you can play with the ingredients so that you have what you like. Tonight I did some with strips of cucumber and shredded salmon skin which had been dry-fried on both sides until crispy; and some with spring onions, runner beans and mushrooms sliced finely and stir-fried with garlic and galangal.
Sushi is best eaten on the day it’s made, but I made this batch for my lunch tomorrow and Thursday. I’ve managed to keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days; the veg ones keep better than the fish. Of course, there are lots of different types of sushi – here I’ve just made simple Futomaki, but I’ve done Nigiri, Inside-Out Rolls and the incredibly beautiful Shikai-Maki before. I’ve also made pickled ginger before, but it’s sitting in the fridge at my parents’ house 🙂
Sushi (makes 3-4 rolls of around 6 pieces each)
200g sushi rice
250ml cold water
Couple tablespoons rice vinegar (although I used cider vinegar to no detriment)
1 dessertspoon sugar. If you’re worried about the look of your sushi, use white sugar! I used brown so mine’s a slightly funny colour…
1 tsp salt
3-4 sheets nori (roasted seaweed for sushi)
Your favourite filling
Soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger to serve
My not-so-beautiful sushi sitting in my beautiful lunchbox to take to school tomorrow. Wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce at the ready in the little pot in the corner. I’m so cool!
- Rinse the rice well in running water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in a pan with a lid with the cold water for 10 minutes.
- Bring the rice and cold water to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID OF THE PAN! Turn the heat up to full for a few seconds and switch it off.
- Remove the lid, place a clean teatowel over the rice and replace the lid. Leave the rice to steam for around 20 minutes.
- Spread the rice onto a wide board. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and sprinkle over the rice. Using a spatula, turn the rice over and over to fully coat in the vinegar mix and cool the rice.
- Lay down a piece of nori. It is easiest if you have a bamboo sushi rolling mat, but a clean teatowel works too. Spread some of the rice over the bottom of the nori. I find this is easiest with my hands. Have some vinegar ready in a bowl, as it helps to stop the rice from sticking to your hands. Try and spread it thinly – I managed to clump it all up to one side, so my fillings are all on the skew.
- Add your filling on top. Gently bring the bottom of the nori over the rice and filling by lifting the mat or teatowel. Roll the nori over, pressing together as you do so. Wet the top edge of the nori with vinegar and roll up completely, pressing together well.
Stir-fried veg, all rolled up
Crispy salmon skin and cucumber
- Very carefully wet the blade of a sharp knife with vinegar. Trim the ends from the roll, then cut into small pieces. I’m sure I read somewhere that it’s supposed to be cut into 6, but I don’t remember where I read it or why that’s the case.
- Serve with wasabi mixed with soy sauce, and a slice of pickled ginger between pieces to cleanse your palate. Yummy!