Friday, May 3, 2013

Homemade Sushi with Spicy Rice

There are some things that are better left to the professionals.  Plumbing, for example.  Or making smoked salmon (sorry Ina, it doesn't even look easy when you do it).  I've recently discovered that making sushi is NOT one of those things.

But.......it's so tiny.  And so perfectly rolled.  And so expensive.  You must have to be a professional to make sushi, right.  Wrong!  This is the easiest meal I've made in a long time.  It's like making a sandwich but way better (not to hate on sandwiches, I do love me a good sandwich).  It was so easy that Olie and I ate sushi for dinner........and then for a late night snack.......and then for lunch the next day.  Oh, did I mention I have six rolls in my fridge waiting to be eaten today and tomorrow?  Yeah.  I'm hooked.

I crave sushi a lot, but I never eat it.  It is so expensive in restaurants that I always avoid it.  But guess what? Making sushi at home is super cheap!  I used imitation crab, which was $2.50.  The Nori (dried seaweed that you roll it in) was $2 for a pack of ten.  I probably spent about $5 max on the veggies, and rice is so cheap it's basically free.  All of this makes a ton of sushi rolls.  How much is a roll of sushi in a restaurant?  Anywhere from $6-$12?  No thank you!  I will never go to a restaurant and order over-priced sushi again.

This is a must-try recipe.  Simple, cheap, and delicious?  What else could you want?  A money tree? World peace?  A place that sells donuts and has beer on tap? (maybe that is just me)  Stop dreaming and make this sushi.  I promise you, you will be so shocked by how simple it it.

Sushi with Spicy Rice

First make your rice.  I make rice in a rice cooker.  Some people are rice whisperers, but I am not one of them.  If you have a rice cooker, you should use it for this recipe because it makes the rice really sticky.  I used 2 scoops of white rice and 1 scoop of brown.  Don't use only brown rice unless you want to eat all of your sushi that day.  It doesn't taste as good the next day.  It gets kind of dry and crunchy.  Not good.

Once you have made your rice, add a few squirts of Lite Soy Sauce, 2 big spoonfuls of Sambal Olek (a chili, garlic sauce, most grocery stores carry it), 4 minced garlic cloves, and an equal amount of grated ginger.  The rice will be super spicy and aromatic.  Resist the temptation to eat it all.  Let it cool for a bit; you don't want to be working with hot rice.  No burnt fingers. (On a side note, this rice is a great, quick side dish.)

Now prep your veggies, crab and dipping sauce.  You can use whatever veggies you like, but I used cucumber, radishes, and avocado.  A little cream cheese would also be delicious.  Just slice everything up nice and thin.  The imitation crab I bought was a little thick, so I just pulled it in half.  For my dipping sauce, I used soy sauce, red chiles, and green onions.  You can find wasabi and pickled ginger in the Asian section of your grocery, if that is more your style.  Another plus to this recipe is that you can do a lot of this prep work early in the day.  Which makes the sushi even easier.

Now it's time to roll!  This is the part that intimidates people.  But we will not be intimidated!  Sushi was invented by fisherman to keep fish from spoiling.  It wasn't invented by a crazy Iron Chef, as I had imagined.  If fishermen can do it, we can do!

You are supposed to use a sushi mat to roll the sushi.  I used a clean towel and it worked just fine.  If you want your rice to be on the outside of the roll, you will need a sushi mat and some plastic wrap.  But keep it simple your first time.  Use a towel and put the rice on the inside of the roll.  It tastes the same.

On the back of the nori package there should be some sushi instructions.  These are very helpful.  However, if you buy nori at an Asian grocery (which I would suggest, because it will probably be even cheaper) your instructions may not be in English.  So, I'll tell you how to do it.

Place your nori shiny side down on the towel.  Lay a thin layer of rice over the nori, leaving a one inch strip at the end further away from you.
Now, add your crab and veggies to the center of the rice.  Don't overfill!  You don't need a lot of stuff in the middle or your roll will fall apart.
Grab the edge of the towel closest to you.  Lift the towel and begin to fold the sushi while also holding the fillings in the center.  Once the fillings are rolled, just keep rolling until it comes together.  Use the towel to shape and compress the roll if you need to.

Time to slice!  Use the sharpest knife you have, preferably serrated.  Each roll makes about 9 or 10 pieces.  If you are saving rolls for the next day, don't slice them.  The sushi will keep a lot better all nice and rolled up.  Olie and I slice 2 rolls to eat and then wrap the leftover rolls in a cloth napkin and place in the fridge.
Now enjoy!  And get creative!  Change up your fillings, change up the rice, go crazy!  This is so easy that you can get really experimental with it.  Just don't be afraid of it.  It doesn't take an expert to make this dish.

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