Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Look What I Have Created: SUSHI

Remember that scene in Castaway, when Tom Hanks makes fire for the first time and is so incredibly proud/psyched?

He was all "LOOK WHAT I HAVE CREATED!" and flailed about and then did a little dance.

I did the same exact thing last night.

When I made sushi.

Seriously. Maybe it's not as significant as creating fire from nothing? But for someone who has always been scared of homemade sushi? It's big news. And the good news is it's not even difficult to do but it has always intimidated me and made me believe that I couldn't do it, or if I could do it, it would be involve some kind of food poisoning.

But no longer.

Enter one "Imitation Crab Product". Now, I know it sounds gross. But it is not, because of a few facts.

1) it's made entirely from fish so it's not some weird random seafoody product

2) it's ALREADY COOKED but tastes raw

3) It tastes just like crab.

These facts make it a good cast member in my musical "SUSHI" which I performed in my kitchen last night. Also have you ever gone out for sushi? The phrase "imitation crab product" is all over the menu. So it's fine

The recipe was simple. The ingredients, surprisingly easy to find (I got everything at Stop and Shop) The results? As sushi lovers, Adam and I can both report that they are DELIGHTFUL! And so much easier to make than I thought it would be.

Word of wisdom. Well, two words. SUSHI MAT. You really do need one. They're like $4 at Crate and Barrel or probably like $1 at the Kam Man. And well worth the investment. You should also have a serrated knife on hand if at all possible.

So if you want to try sushi at home but are nervous about it - allow me to assuage you with this relatively easy and oh so tasty recipe.

California Rolls
2 cups sushi rice
2.5 cups water
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 nori (dried seaweed) sheets
1/2 cucumber peeled and cut into thin strips
1/2 avocado, peeled and cut into thin strips
4 oz surimi/imitation crab product <---don't be scared
soy sauce for dipping.

Combine the sushi rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and all water is absorbed. Remove from heat, toss in vinegar and sesame seeds and let cool until easy to handle. About 15 miniutes.

Cut up and assemble the veg and "crab".

Lay out the nori, shiny side down, on your sushi mat. Wet your hands and keep a small bowl of water close makes the rice way easier to handle. Spread out 1 cup of the rice all over the sheet leaving the last 1/2 inch farthest from you uncovered.

Make a groove in the middle of the rice going across left to right and lay 1/4 of your fixings inside end to end.

Start to roll the mat over the sushi, using your fingers to keep the filings in place and your thumbs to roll. Once the side of the nori sheet closest to you closes over the fixings, continue to roll using the mat and when you reach the end of the mat press tight (but not too tight) so that everything holds together when you slice.

It sounds weird, but once you start doing it the mat really does all the work and you'll be like "oh YEAH". If you are me you will kind of scream this phrase.

Look at these beauties!

Now you will need to use a serrated knife to make the individual sushi rolls. You COULD use a regular steak knife but given that there are so many different textures you are cutting through, the serrated knife works so much better. Dip it in a bowl of warm water in between cuts to make it even easier.

Serve with soy sauce on the side for dipping and of course, if you can, eat with chopsticks!

I hope anyone who loves sushi but was nervous to make it at home feels more encouraged after reading this. You too can make sushi at home. It is easy. It's fun. And it's DELICIOUS. And maybe you can also get someone to take a picture of you doing your LOOK WHAT I HAVE CREATED dance afterwards.


Laura said...

looks beautiful! I do love me some sushi!

Suz said...

looks great - awesome job!

Me said...

Awesome. I'd be too looserish to try that!!!:)

Jenny said...

So funny. Congrats!

Why is your sushi on the floor though?

Nicky said...

Haha! I know the feeling. I totally made sushi last year (fake crab product and all), but I have to say...what a pain in the ass!!! Don't even get me started on the difficulties presented with real sushi sticky rice. Ugh! it's SO much easier just to order it from our local sushi joint - Taipei & Tokyo. Lol.

Sarah said...

Haha well Nicky I think with most dishes it's easier to order out than make it yourself...I just had a lot of fun doing this. Also the trick is to wet your hands before handling the rice! Makes it scads easier.

Jewels said...

Congrats on making a California Roll!!! If you guys love sushi, you definitely need to come to Vancouver, BC, Canada...tonnes of good sushi and not that imitation stuff :)

Lys said...

Sushi is something that I just always thought "couldn't be done"... That's a good goal for 2009 :) And one doesn't need a sushi knife either, huh?

Diana said...

you go girl! those look tasty!

Sarah said...

Lys if you have a really good, sharp, serrated knife then no, you don't need a sushi knife.

AmyD said...

*snort* You are flipping hilarious! And inspiring...we LOVE sushi and go out about once a week for it. This doesn't look hard at all, though. Might have to give it a shot soon!