Monday, May 18, 2020

#ShelterinPlace Sushi Meshi + Maki Sushi


We don't go out to eat very often. We have our favorite sushi place and our favorite Italian place. And that's about it. Both are owned by friends, so I like to support them when I can. However, most of the time, we cook at home. But as we eek into our ninth week of being sheltered in place, I had a hankering for sushi.


I decided to make maki sushi. "What's maki sushi?" you ask. It's just a sushi roll - rolled sushi with dried nori (seaweed) on the outside and fillings on the inside. It can be filled with raw fish, cooked fish, or vegetables. I had sashimi-grade ahi tuna, halibut, avocados, roasted pepper, sesame carrots, and green onions. 

Sushi Meshi
Rice for Sushi


Ingredients serves 8
  • 4 C short grain rice (sushi rice)
  • 4 C water
  • 6” dashi konbu
  • Also needed: paper fans, wooden spoons, and a non-aluminum pan
Awase Zu (vinegar mixture for sushi meshi)
  • 1/3 C Japanese vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 5 T sugar
  • 1 T salt

Procedure
Awase Zu
Heat ingredients until salt and sugar are dissolved. Cool and fold into hot rice being careful not to mash the rice grains. Fan and cool immediately. Rice is now ready to make sush (makizushi, chirashi, nigari, or inari Zushi)

Wash rice and soak in water 2 hours or longer.

Put water and konbu (wiped with a damp cloth) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. After 3 minutes remove konbu and add drained rice. Mix well, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn heat very low and steam 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes after turning off heat.

Put rice in a large pan (not aluminum- an enameled broiler pan works well) and fold in the Awase Zu. Fan until the rice is coated and glossy.

Maki Sushi
Rolled Sushi

Years ago, when I co-taught a rice class, I learned that culturally the Japanese use odd numbers for sushi ingredients because of the good superstitions associated with odd numbers. In contrast, even numbers do not have good associations. “Two” means “to divide” (or “to part, separate”), “four” is associated with death, and “six” as in the phrase “rokudenashi”, means “good-for-nothing.” At wedding ceremonies, people offer gifts of 10,000 yen, 30,000 yen, and fifty thousand yen. No one gives a gift of 20,000 or 40,000 yen. Similarly, at funerals the condolence payments are all in odd numbers. This may reflect the influence of Yin-Yang thought from China, in which odd numbers are “Yang”. Hospital sickrooms and parking lots avoid the number “four” (which is homophonous with “death”).


Ingredients
  • assorted sashimi grade fish (I used ahi and halibut), thinly sliced
  • thinly sliced vegetables, cooked and raw (I used fresh avocado, fresh cucumbers, raw green onions, roasted red peppers, sauteed carrots)
  • a batch of sushi meshi
  • Also needed: sushi rolling mat, pickled ginger for serving, soy sauce for serving, wasabi for serving

Procedure
Place a sushi rolling mat on a work surface and top with a sheet of nori. Scoop 3/4 C rice on the sheet and press rice to the edge of the nori. 

Arrange a small amount of fillings in a row about 1-1/2" from bottom edge of nori sheet. Roll up rice mixture over filling, using the bamboo mat to lift and compress the mixture while rolling until you  have a uniform cylinder. Place the roll, seam-side down, onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice the rolls into eight pieces.


Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger slices, if desired.


I'll be the first to admit that it's not as good as our favorite sushi restaurant, but it wasn't bad either. It certainly answered a craving we were having.

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