[Activity] Easy Sushi Fun
Although making sushi isn’t something I usually do whilst interpreting, I’ve discovered that eating delicious, raw food is a great way to connect with nature (at least in my little world). I thought it would be fun to put together a little tutorial since a lot of people seem to want to know how to make sushi, but have never taken the plunge.
The fact is that it’s REALLY easy, not terribly expensive, and is fun as heck. It’s also a brilliant way to get people making food together. In fact, whenever I have a dinner party, it’s almost always a sushi party. Everyone must bring a vegetable or any seafood they may want, and I provide the rest.
This is a super basic way to make sushi and once you master the basics, you can go on to learn more of the complicated methods. I personally prefer doing it this way because it’s simple for everyone at a dinner party to learn and it tastes great. It involves basic vegetables and rice-inside-nori, rather than just rice or rice-outside-nori.
Step One: Assemble your ingredients. You’ll need: sushi nori (seaweed), sushi rice, several vegetables of your preference, and rice vinegar. Nori can be purchased in the “Asian” section of the grocery store, or in natural foods stores. Use any veggies you love; my favorites are green peppers, tomatoes, green onions, and cucumbers. Extras: many people love the burn of wasabi and the soothing tang of ginger. (Many people like to put the wasabi right in the sushi roll.) Add these if you like that kinda thing. Most people also use soy sauce either to dip their sushi, or to mix with the wasabi (personally I love dipping my rolls in the rice vinegar). If you are interested in meat but not ready to take the raw plunge, use wild-caught smoked salmon, it’s delish. Also, if you’re a cream cheese fan, cream cheese makes an excellent addition to sushi rolls.
Step Two: Prep. Make your sushi rice according to the package instructions. You’ll want to make this before you’re ready to make the sushi and let it cool some. Spreading hot and steamy rice on nori is sure to rip the seaweed and annihilate your fingerprints! Cold rice is not easy to spread either, so aim for a cool/lukewarm temperature. Use a sharp knife to slice your veggies into thin strips. If you’re using cream cheese, you’ll want to slice that into thin strips as well and add it into your sushi like a vegetable (rather than trying to spread it onto the nori). Pour some vinegar into a small bowl.
Step Three: Rice onto nori. Lay one piece of nori down on a clean, flat surface and use a spatula to spread your rice; don’t fill more than 3/4 of the sheet with rice. If your sheet has creases, place the sheet with the pointy side of the creases down against your surface. You’ll need that top 1/4 for sealing the roll.
Step Four: Choose your poison. Choose what you want in your roll. Now, it will take a little finesse to figure out how many veggie strips are the right amount: I am forever putting too much in my roll and then it rips when I roll it! If you put too few, you’ll eat mostly rice. Only put your veggies/salmon/cream cheese in the bottom 1/4 of your sheet. Lay all of your ingredients horizontally and keep them as close together as you can. Use this photo as a suggestion (but on second look, this roll looks a little overstuffed!):
Step Five: Tuck and roll. Slip your thumbs beneath the bottom of the nori sheet and use your other fingers to hold your veggies against the rice. Keep them tucked in and use your thumbs to completely roll your nori over onto the rice.
Step Six: Seal the deal. Keep rolling until you have about 1 inch of nori left (this will be the end of nori without any rice on it). Dip your fingers into your bowl of vinegar and spread vinegar evenly along your last inch of nori. Do it quickly so it doesn’t dry before the next step.
Step Seven: Finishing the roll. Once you’ve applied the rice vinegar, roll your nori until that last inch-long strip is against the rest of the roll. Hold it down gently for 5 seconds or so to let the nori fuse together. Now you’ll have a completed roll.
Step Eight: Slicing the roll. Place your serrated knife (ignore that in my photo it’s a non-serrated knife) against the roll. Then stabilize the roll gently with two fingers in front of the knife and two fingers behind the knife. With long strokes, gently slice through the nori (being too rough will shred it and ruin your roll), vegetables, and the bottom part of the nori. The two end pieces are always a mess so just go ahead and eat those first. :)
Step Nine: Make more! Now that you have the basics, make some more! Remember to try vinegar, soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger to see what you like.
This ends your basic sushi lesson. I hope you get the chance to try it and find it as delicious as I do! If I’ve forgotten something or you have any questions just leave me a comment. Thanks for reading! :)