A Celebration of Contemporary Cuisine as introduced by Harumi Kurihara
I have used many illustrations to show you how varied sushi can be. You can make individual balls with different toppings (nigiri zushi), you can make large bowls of rice with different toppings (chirashi zushi) or you can make long sushi rolls with different fillings which are cut into smaller rounds (maki zushi). It is a remarkably flexible dish.
One of the most important elements in sushi is the sushi rice itself, which is the usual Japanese short grain rice mixed with sweetened rice vinegar. You need to cook the rice with a little less water than usual as you will be adding the vinegar dressing while the rice is still warm and absorbent.
The best sushi rice is served when it is still ever so slightly warm, so avoid chilling if possible. All references to rice in this chapter are to sushi rice; that is to say rice that has been dressed with sushi vinegar (you might like to note that sushi, as a word, becomes zushi after certain vowels.)
|| Sushi Vinegar Dressing:
Mix 1 cup/200ml rice vinegar with 35 tablespoons of caster sugar in a small non-aluminium saucepan. Heat until the sugar has dissolved and then add 2 teaspoons of salt and 7 teaspoons of kombu cha powder, mix and allow to cool down. You can keep this in the fridge for 4-5 days before use. If you can't find the kombu cha powder then use a little more salt to taste.
Cook in the same way as regular rice (either in a rice cooker, microwave or saucepan). When cooked tip into a large shallow bowl or a wooden sushi pot and, while cooling, drizzle on 70-100ml of the sushi vinegar dressing (to taste) and fold in using a cutting and folding action ? trying to make sure that you do not break the rice which would make it sticky. At the same time fan the rice to help speed the cooling process. When cool, use in your chosen sushi style.
320g uncooked rice and an equal amount of water by volume (makes 20-24 nigiri style small balls, 1 bowl of chirashi zushi, 4 maki rolls or 6 ura maki rolls)
A rolling mat is a great help for this kind of sushi but if you cannot find one then you can use a similar sized square of greaseproof paper. Make sure you have all the ingredients ready to use before you start to construct the maki zushi. Use a sharp knife to cut it, and keep a bowl of water handy to wet the knife and your fingers, to stop the rice sticking. I find that 200g of sashimi-quality tuna is about right for 4 rolls, using 320g uncooked rice to 70ml sushi vinegar.
|| 1. Take half a sheet of nori seaweed and place it on the rolling mat. Spread a thin layer of cooked rice evenly over the nori, leaving a centimetre of nori on each side free from rice as you will need this to seal the roll. Dab a little wasabi in a line across the rice ? be careful not to use too much as it is very spicy.
2. Place the ingredients on the wasabi, but not too many or it won't roll well. For this roll use sashimi-quality tuna, roughly shredded shiso leaves and finely julienned cucumber.
3. Roll it carefully and evenly away from you, pressing it firmly. Remove the rolling mat, trim any ingredients that are protruding from the ends of the roll and cut into 2-3cm length pieces.
| Ura Maki Zushi (inside out roll)
1. Place half a sheet of nori on the non-stick baking parchment and evenly spread a thin layer of fresh sushi rice across it (don't leave the edges free on this one). Carefully turn it over so the nori is facing upwards and add the ingredients. For this roll use crab sticks (200g approx), avocado and shiso leaves.
2. Use mayonnaise instead of wasabi, and dab on top of the ingredients. Roll carefully and evenly away from you.
3. Put some toasted sesame seeds on a plate and roll the sushi in them, so the roll is well coated.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut into 2-3cm length pieces and serve.