Ever since I ate Sushi for the first time at Benihana, I fell in love with this fabulous creation!
Sushi, a part of Japanese cuisine, is prepared with white, short grained Japanese rice flavored with rice vinegar and rolled with layers of raw fish and vegetables (typically uncooked). Sushi rice becomes sticky when cooked which makes it easy to roll and bind with the layers inside. Well cooked and finely dressed rice are the essential qualities that make a good sushi!
Making sushi is an art. It is challenging and requires a lot of skill in its preparation. There are special sushi chefs whose expertise is concentrated on preparing just that. The type of sushi depends on the stuffing and how it is rolled. This is not only challenging but also requires a lot of creativity. Especially here in the US, you will find several different sushi stuffings, some of which might have never existed at any sushi bar in Japan. You can read more here.
My first experience of eating sushi at Benihana was incredible. My second time was at Raku –an Asian Dining and Sushi bar in Bethesda, Md. It was here that I ate a complete vegetarian sushi entrée. I was completely bowled over by it's taste, quality, selection of ingredients and presentation. While that taste was still lingering on my tongue, Sharmi of Neivedyam announced the Jivha for August-Rice. With that, my long planned adventure of making vegetarian sushi kicked in. As always I have experimented with my ideas and played with different ingredients. It was an absolutely fabulous experience. I hope you enjoy making some in your kitchen.
One verdict though- It takes quite some time to prepare the rice, spread it evenly on the nori sheet, layer the vegetables and then to roll and cut it! Make sure you don't don it in a jiffy!
1 ½ cups of Japanese sushi rice
3 cups of water
2 slices of pineapple
¼ cup tofu, minced or sliced ( I had the tofu grilled and marinated in sauce)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 nori sheets
I really recommend that you watch this video to get a better picture of the rolling process….
1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked completely, fluff it with fork on a plate. All it to cool completely.
2. Once cooled, add the rice vinegar and mix well. Let it sit for 5 minutes to let the flavors combine.
3. Open up the sushi mat completely away from you.
4. Line the longest edge of the nori sheet with the side of the mat closest to you.
5. Place approximately a handful of the cooked rice at the center of the nori sheet.
6. Wet you hands and press the rice evenly to coat the nori sheet with a 1 cm thick layer of rice.
7. Spread a very small amount of wasabi sauce in the middle of the rice layer horizontally.
8. Line the fillings (avocado, cucumber, pineapple and/or tofu) on the side closest to you. You can stick to one filling or do different combinations.
9. Hold the fillings with your fingers and lift up the layer and start rolling the nori sheet along with the mat.
10. Keep pressing under the layer such that the roll is a perfect cylinder. Avoid pressing on the top.
11. Once the roll is completely pressed and cylindrical, cut it into ¾ inch thick rolls such that they are bite sized.
Serve 4-5 different rolls in a serving on individual plates. Enjoy with wasabi and soy sauce on the side.
So that is my entry for JFI-August!