Friday, June 3, 2016

DIY Sushi Rolls... It's All About the Vinegared Rice...

Who doesn't know and love sushi rolls nowadays? So much fun for the family and a different kind of meal to entertain guests with by customizing rolls with seaweed nori sheets with everyone's favourite fixins'... a colourful array of vegetables and protein, especially seafood! You don't need to worry about raw fish if you prefer to leave that to the experts at sushi restaurants, when you've got cooked eel, crab meat and shrimps at your disposal. But what makes a roll stand out? It's not just the combination of these wonderful flavours and textures but the simple base itself that forms the essence of a great roll-- the vinegared rice!

The key to excellent rice, is to mix the vinegar dressing well so that the rice will be seasoned evenly. When done properly and quickly enough, the results will be glossy, and the rice tastily vinegared.

Vinegared Rice for Sushi
Serves 4 to 6

3 cups short-grain rice
4-inch kombu kelp
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Soak the kelp in water for about one hour to make stock for the rice. Wash the rice 30 minutes prior to cooking and drain in a strainer. Meanwhile, put the vinegar, sugar and salt into a small pot and heat slightly until dissolved. 

Place the rice and kelp stock into a rice cooker and cook. When cooking is finished, keep the cooker covered and let stand for about ten minutes until the grains are settled.

Transfer the rice into a large shallow bowl (wooden if you have is best), moistened with a little water. Sprinkle the vinegar dressing all over the rice. Using a flat paddle or wooden spoon, toss the rice with horizontal, cutting strokes while cooling rice with a hand-fan. Cover the rice with a clean towel until ready to serve.

* Use only a sideway cutting motion when mixing the vinegar dressing otherwise the rice will become mushy.
* Wooden bowls eliminate excess moisture of cooked rice and keep grains firm.
* Use electric fan to cool rice-- expose rice to breeze while mixing the rice for best results.

While rice is cooking, prepare all your ingredients! Skies the limit in what you can serve!

Prepared cooked BBQ eel sold in packages in frozen fish section of Asian Supermarkets.
 Thaw and follow package instructions to heat up. Cut into bite-sized strips.

Surimi imitation crab meat cut into sticks or shredded.

Flying fish eggs (tobiko or masago) is a crunchy teeny bit favourite!

Thin omelet crepes curt into strips make for a pretty yellow topping and extra protein.

And of course, strips of your favourite veggies to round out your topping offering! Lettuce, carrots, onions, cucumbers cut into strips and avocado slices! Oh, and a crunchy vinegared side of Szechuan-style spicy smashed cucumbers with lots of garlic!

Table condiments of soy sauce, wasabi, Japanese mayonnaise, toasted sesame seeds and sriracha hot sauce!

Cut sushi nori seaweed sheets into quarters for wrapping!

A bit of rice in the centre first and go crazy with your heart desires!

Leftovers for another night of DIY, this time with sliced beef tossed with sugar and soy sauce. 
For more fun options, check out my previous post.

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