A traditional Japanese dish made with rice and fresh fish, Sushi is one of the most popular dishes in the world. Going to a Japanese restaurant and binging on these tasty delights can be quite expensive though. It can even leave you and your friends asking each other “can you make sushi at home?”
Sushi is not only one of the most popular dishes in the world, but it is also one of the most misunderstood food items there is. Misunderstood in terms of what it really is and how the rest of the world sees it as it should if you get my drift.
Kinds of Sushi
If asked what Sushi looks like, most people would describe a roll of rice with fillings wrapped in seaweed. Technically, this is not incorrect; however, their definition of what Sushi is is just touching the surface of this delicate and wonderfully tasteful morsels.
Sushi, in fact, is the collective term that applies to the dish that uses vinegar-flavored rice garnished with raw fish, eggs, and seafood. In the strict sense, Sushi does not have to come in the usual rolls that people are accustomed to. They can come in any of the following five types:
Any fish that is used for Sushi rolls can be made into Sashimi. Sashimi is just the meat that you would use without the rice. The fish meat can either be served cold and raw or cooked, like Unagi.
This type of Sushi consists of a ball of Sushi rice with toppings. These toppings can be cooked or raw but, like Sashimi, the food used for toppings are the same as Sushi rolls.
This is the usual Sushi roll that you are familiar with; rice and filling wrapped in seaweed.
This is the inverted form of Maki with the rice outside and the seaweed and fillings inside.
This is a unique Sushi type as it is almost a Maki but it is rolled into a cone instead of the cylindrical shape that Maki possesses.
This Is How You Roll
Focusing on Maki, or Sushi rolls, it mainly used rice and several kinds of fillings to create a tasty delight. These rolls often pass through a Sushi roller that is traditionally made of bamboo and looks like a mat.
- To create a Sushi roll, you would need to spread the mat out and lay down your nori, or seaweed, wrapper.
- Scoop the rice into the nori and spread it out leaving an allowance of about an inch on all borders.
- Lay down the fillings on one side of the mat, over the rice, of course.
- Turn that same side over to cover the fillings with the rice and compress.
- In a rolling motion, compress the rice each turn until you reach the other edge.
- You should have a tightly packed sushi roll at this time but compress it some more to prevent it from breaking up.
- Slice the roll, about an inch thick per segment.
- Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger.
Types of Sushi Rolls
The identity of your Maki or Sushi roll is dependent on the fillings that you use. Here are some popular Sushi rolls and the fillings that they have.
- Crunch Roll
Fresh and spicy tuna, crispy seaweed and shrimp tempura.
- Tiger Roll
Avocado, cucumber, tobiko and shrimp tempura.
- Rainbow Roll
Crab sticks, avocado, cucumber, fresh tuna, avocado, salmon, shrimp and yellowtail fish.
- Dynamite Roll
Yellowtail fish, bean sprouts, carrots, shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, chile and spicy mayo.
- California Maki
Crab sticks, avocado, cucumber and sesame seeds.
- Dragon Roll
Eel, crab, cucumber and eel sauce.
- Vegetable Roll
Cucumber, carrots, scallion, avocado, cream cheese, and asparagus.
- Shrimp Tempura Roll
Avocado, tempura flakes, eel sauce and shrimp tempura.
- Spicy Tuna Roll
Spicy tuna, mayo and chili sauce.
Tips and Tricks
Any dish nowadays has their set of tips and tricks that make life easier and takes the recipe to a whole new level.
- Be Creative
The fillings don’t necessarily have to be raw fish and seafood; you can make it kid-friendly by using prepared food like Spam and bacon as substitutes for the filling and the wrap. Not only will you be introducing kids to international cuisine, but you can sneak in a vegetable or two to make it healthier.
- Wrap It Up
Place a plastic wrap between the bamboo and your nori to make your rolls cleaner. This prevents any mess up, and it also prolongs the life of your bamboo mat, especially since you don’t have to clean it as much.
- Season It
Much of the flavor in Sushi rolls come from the filling, but it helps if the Sushi rice is well-cooked and perfectly seasoned. Use rice vinegar when you can, but you can substitute white vinegar instead. The taste will be different of course.
- Roll It and Squeeze It
Just like the movie Karate Kid, you need to roll and repeatedly squeeze to get the perfect roll. Roll the mat, squeeze everything in and repeat until you reach the other end of the mat.
- Do Not Be Afraid
Sushi rolls can’t kill unless you have an allergic reaction to shrimp, so don’t feel bad if the first one doesn’t come out right.
- No Nori, No Problem
If you find yourself out of nori, or seaweed, you can always substitute other wrapping materials like thinly sliced cucumber, and carrots, layered like a mat or bacon lined up like pigs on a farm.
- On the Side
Never forget to serve Sushi with usual sides and condiments used like Tobiko, Masago, and Wasabi, as well as pickled vegetables, dumplings and miso soup.
Can You Make Sushi at Home?
The question now is not “can you make sushi at home?” but rather “how creative can you make it?” Rolling the perfect Sushi rolls require a lot of practice, but this time, practice means getting to eat a lot of your samples. Keep your Sushi knife sharp and your bamboo mats clean but never forget to enjoy the process and, of course, the end product. Share them with loved ones—or not.