Remember last month when I told you I was going to try my hand at sushi making, but then I ran out of time, but then I told you that I did it when I got back from Australia? Here’s my proof.
For this endeavour, I turned to MakeMySushi.com, which turned up as the first result in my Google search. As it turns out, this website is an absolutely fabulous educational resource! In addition to offering delicious sushi recipes, it tells you exactly how to use everything from a sushi mat to chopsticks. From what I’ve learned at Sushi University, bamboo sushi mats that are rounded on one side and flat on the other produce better sushi, which is great because that’s what I’ve got! I actually happen to have the same sushi mat that’s pictured on the MakeMySushi website, so I guess it was a good choice!
If you’re not really into sushi or haven’t experimented with it much before, these are some of the most common types:
- Maki – A roll of seafood surrounded by rice, then wrapped in nori seaweed. There are 2 types; futomaki (fat maki) and Hosomaki (thin maki) which only has one type of filling, usually a type of fish or vegetable.
- Sashimi – No rice here! These are pieces of raw, sushi-grade fish. When prepared properly, it is safe for most people to eat. (Pregnant ladies are an exception.) You’d want to ensure that the fish is marked sushi-safe before eating it though – don’t just go and buy a random piece of fish and expect to be able to eat it raw!
- Nigri – A type of sushi that is shaped by hand, made from a piece of fish or seafood, tamago (Japanese omelette made from egg, soy sauce, and a few other ingredients), or other toppings. This sits on a nice little pillow of rice with a bit of wasabi to hold the bits together.
- Inside out sushi – Basically just like maki, but the rice is on the outside of the seaweed. Sometimes it has a piece of fish, seafood, or avocado draped over the top. Sushi mats are still used to make inside-out sushi rolls, just like you would for regular maki rolls. The difference is that you have to cover the mat in cling film so that the rice doesn’t stick.
- Spicy tuna sushi – This is my absolute fave!! It’s made of a piece of raw red tuna with a piece fo avocado or cucumber. There’s a spicy sauce (typically a mayo + Sriracha sauce mix) added to the inside of the roll, and it’s flippin delicious…. I just wish tuna didn’t have that whole mercury thing going on!
- Dragon rolls – Just like it sounds, it’s sushi shaped like a dragon! The fillings are fried shrimp, avocado, and sometimes other veggies. On top, you’ll typically find fried eel or avocado.
- California rolls – Probably one of the most common, or the first type of sushi that westerners try, California rolls are made of crab (often imitation) and avocado. There are no raw fish bits inside, so if you’re vegan or vegetarian, this one would work for you.
Ok, enough sushi schooling. So what did I make?!
Let’s just call them Angela rolls, because they don’t fit the description of any traditional sushi rolls. You know when you go to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant for lunch, fill up on maki, then experience a sushi coma around 2 or 3pm that makes you want to curl up under your desk and drift off into a blissful slumber? Well my plan for this sushi adventure was to attempt to make it with short grain brown rice. The theory was that since white rice is refined and brown rice is not, it shouldn’t lead to the blood sugar spike that our bodies experience after eating refined carbs and simple sugars. I read that short grain brown rice is a little bit more sticky than other types (although not nearly as sticky as regular sushi rice) so I figured I’d give it a go. To season, I added a little rice wine vinegar.
After covering the sushi mat with cling film to minimize any unwanted stickage, I placed a nori sheet on top with the rough side facing upward. As my Google search and Callie’s instructions dictated, I spread the rice over the rough side of a nori sheet, keeping the top and bottom edges clear for easy sealing.
Then I added my fillings, which were as follows:
- cooked shrimp (because I don’t trust myself to prepare raw fish properly)
Whenever I make burritos and wraps, I always end up adding too many fillings and they rarely roll up properly because there’s too much inside. I kept this in mind as I was making my sushi because I really didn’t want to have any failed attempts!
Next, I carefully picked up the edge of the mat and began to roll the nori and rice over the fillings, then into the far edge of the nori sheet. This was the part that scared me most because I figured everything would probably fall out the ends of the roll.
To make sure it sealed nicely, I dipped my fingers in a bit of warm water and patted the edges of the seaweed. It looked like this:
Phew! Then it was time for the cutting, which I was also scared of because I feared everything would surely fall out this time. I began with a knife that I thought was pretty sharp, but it didn’t slice through the nori sheet very well, and as a result, the end piece of the roll looked like this:
However, the others were more successful. I switched to a steak knife which seemed to do a much better job, and had I used this for each slice I could have probably made them much thinner.
Looks pretty good, don’t you think? If you’re wondering what the orange bits are, I figured the sushi needed some spiciness and a little more colour. I created a healthier version of the typical spicy mayo that you’d find in a Japanese restaurant using sriracha sauce and plain Greek yogurt. This is fusion cooking at its finest, folks.
I’m not fond of wasabi at all, so on the side I just had a little bit of low-sodium soy sauce.
…. and a pile of edamame, because no sushi meal would be complete without it.
In future trials, I plan to make the following changes:
- Use a slightly thinner layer of short grain brown rice (this type of rice by the way, worked amazingly well and from what my roommate tells me, looked much easier to work with than regular sushi rice that she’d tried using before.)
- Use something other than shrimp bits, which were quite small and several fell out of the rolls when I sliced
- Roll a bit tighter
- Use a steak knife for all slices to make each piece thinner
Although my rolls were pretty basic, I did find some very cool ones in my Google searches. For example…
And for those that don’t like fish, you can always have your sushi in cake form…
I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me, but I think practicing will be fun!! For now, tell me:
- Have you ever made your own sushi? How did it turn out?
- Wasabi: yay or nay?