When most people hear the word sushi, raw fish immediately comes to mind. Sushi is actually vinegar-flavored rice that is served cold, garnished with bits or raw seafood or vegetable. Tokyo-style sushi features raw meats. It is called cherashizushi and uses "Sashimi quality" (very fresh) tuna, flounder, sea bream, salmon, squid or even octopus. It should be noted that a cook should be trained in the correct methods of preparing and serving raw meats for the sushi to be considered safe.
Basic Equipment Needed for Sushi Making
Most kitchens have all of these pieces of equipment except the hangiri, sushi mold and a rolling mat. The hangiri can be replaced with a wooden or ceramic bowl, so the mat may be all a cook needs to purchase to begin learning sushi making.
List of food items needed (depending on your recipe)
Cooking the Gohan (sushi) rice
You will need rice, sugar, salt and Komezu (rice vinegar) as well as a pan or steamer, hangiri tub and rice spatula.
Rice packaged as Japanese rice is short-grain polished white rice.
If you use rice that is packaged in a foreign country, it should be rinsed carefully. Some may contain hulls and debris. Some millers use talc to enhance milling. Rinse the rice in cool water. Cover with water, swish the kernels around, rubbing with your fingers, drain and repeat three times. Allow rice to rest a few minutes before cooking. American rice millers do not use talc, so if the rice in milled in the United States, rinsing is unnecessary.
Proportions of rice to other ingredients are 1 ½ cups dry rice, 2 cups water, 3 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt to produce 1 ½ pounds of rice.
Place rice and water in pan and begin cooking. While the rice is cooking, begin making the dressing of rice vinegar, sugar and salt and set hangiri and spatula in cold water to soak and chill.
When the rice is well steamed, allow it to rest, covered, for five minutes. After turning the rice out into the wooden tub, toss the rice with the dressing gently using the rice spatula or a wooden spoon. Don't mash the rice, gently cut it with the edge of the spatula and turn it to coat with the dressing for about two minutes.
Shaping the sushi
Once the rice is prepared, the sushi can be made into many shapes and types. Some of the most popular types are listed below.
Type 1: Maki (sushi rolls)
A rice mat is used to roll layers of rice and meats and vegetables into a thick roll to be sliced into segments and served with dipping sauces. Here are three popular types to try.
Spread the Nori on the rolling mat. Top with a layer of rice about ¼ in. thick. Top with vegetables and meats as prescribed in the recipe and roll up into a cylinder shape using the mat to shape the roll. As rolls are formed, set them onto a cutting board and use a knife to cut the rolls into one-inch slices, six per roll.
Type 2: Okizushi (pressed sushi)
Another method is to pack rice and toppings into a wooden mold and then cut it into squares for serving. Use a sushi mold made of wood or similarly shaped plastic containers. Cut one sheet of parchment paper to fit the mold and line the inside bottom of it. Add a layer of sushi rice, shiso leaves, another layer of rice, then salmon or desired vegetables. Top with parchment sheet and lid. Press as hard as possible. Put a weight of three or four pounds on the lid and let it sit for at least two hours at cool room temperature. (Use no raw meats in this style of sushi.) Tamp out of the molds and slice into one-inch squares to serve with soy or tamari sauce and pickled ginger.
Type 3: Chakinzushi (wrapped sushi)
The omelet wraps for this sushi are thin (like crepes) and made with whole egg, sugar, salt and cornstarch. They are fried in a hot skillet with a touch of oil. Sushi rice and meat, vegetables and seaweed are shaped into a small patty and placed in the center of each circle of omelet. The edges of each is pulled up and tied with a green onion stem. These are very popular fast food in Japan.
Type 4: Gomokuzushi (five-color, five-flavor sushi)
This type of sushi is served on a platter. Ingredients include rice, meats, vegetables, Nori and eggs. The cooked ingredients are prepared and arranged in order on the platter and served with soy sauce.
Type 5: Sushi Balls
The sushi rice is rolled into balls and then served with a piece of meat and a dab of Wasabi or other flavoring. It is simple and tasty.
Making sushi is fun! You can learn the art at home and impress your family and dining guests. Why not try it today?
Rocks, salt, rice and raw fish. More than a millennia ago, in Southeast Asia, those were the ingredients for making sushi. Today's sushi chefs are limited only by their imaginations. The term sushi actually refers to the sticky rice used in creating the savory and healthy snacks, and in the beginning the rice was thrown away.