Seems odd that a fella that would build a brick pizza oven in his back yard, would resist making “sushi” at home, even though “take-out” and most “dine-in” options available in the Augusta market for both are lackluster at best. It seems even stranger that he would resist buying a cheap bamboo mat for making maki rolls, especially since he has significant monies invested in sous vide apparati and other superfluous kitchen paraphernalia. Well, until last night, I’d never made “sushi” at home, and I don’t have a bamboo mat (yet). That’s a terrible mistake…”sushi” at home is easy, delicious, and fun!
Supposedly, sushi is all about the rice. I somewhat agree, as good nigiri and maki rolls can be ruined by poorly or oddly seasoned or stale rice. However, for me, the rice is a vehicle for soy sauce and copious amounts of wasabi! Despite what you read, sushi rice is pretty easy to make and isn’t very hard to work with. All you need to do is cook some short grain rice per package directions, typically 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice (though you can use a bit less water if using a rice cooker). For seasoning, combine 1 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp salt in a microwave safe dish and heat in 30 sec blasts until sugar and salt dissolve. When the rice is done, transfer to a large non-reactive (glass) bowl and using a rubber spatula fold in the rice wine mixture as if you were folding egg whites into a batter. Press lightly and cover with a kitchen towel until it cools to room temperature.
In the meantime, get to work on your fillings. I had some sashimi grade tuna, so I made some tuna nigiri, a tuna-cado roll, a spicy tuna roll (tuna tartare with chopped green onion, mayo, and sriracha), and a tempura shrimp wrapped in speck roll. Accompaniments were soy, wasabi, pickled ginger, edamame, and saki.
Lessons learned. As I didn’t have a mat, I used a gallon zip bag with a kitchen towel for backing. That worked, but my rolls weren’t quite tight enough. The inside out rolls were particularly problematic. As Jennifer, Julia, and I really enjoyed this meal, 1) I will be getting a bamboo mat for future use. 2) The rice is really sticky. Need to wet you hands and utensils in order to do anything with the stuff. But have to be careful not to wet the nori before forming. 3) These were a bit large, I used about 4/5 of a nori sheet for each roll and I like a higher filling to rice ratio. Next time, I think I will use 1/2 a sheet and use only a thin layer of rice. 4) I cannot sharpen a knife to sufficient sharpness to properly cut the rolls…use a serrated knife.
Any of y’all more experienced? Have any other tips? MAB?