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Sushi Rolls for Beginners

Understanding rice

Cooking rice

Sushi Vinegar

Sushi roll fillings

Types of sushi roll

Step by step guide to making a sushi roll









Rice
One of the most important ingredients used in the making of sushi rolls is the
rice. Rice can be difficult to understand, below is a brief but concise
introduction to rice.

Types of rice used in sushi are short grain and long grain both can be used.

Short grain is stickier; it has a unique tackiness and texture and is more
typical in Japan. Long grain rice is less sticky and is not normally used in
Japan. Outside of Japan this long grain rice is commonly used as it is cheaper
and is more readily available.

Nishiki rice is one of most famous brands of rice outside Japan. This type of
rice can be bought from most Oriental shops. Tamanishiki rice is a short grain
much more like the type of rice available in Japan.

Water
When cooking the rice the average amount of water used should be the same
as the amount of rice. i.e. 1 pint rice = 1 pint water.
All rice has different characters depending on how long it has been stored, the
type of rice it is and where it is produced. Sometimes it is a case of trial and
error!

The Ph value of the water should, ideally be low. Evian is high in ph value and
therefore not as good as using Volvic, which has a lower ph value. The softer
the water the lower the ph value and the better the quality of finished rice
product.

Washing
It is important to measure the rice correctly. The rice should be poured into
container and not scooped. This will reduce any settlement. Never pat down
the rice into the container. Rice cant generally be measured by weight due to
the variations in growing seasons and its water content which affect the
weight of the rice at different times of the year.

The rice should first be washed to remove the outer coating. This is known as
kome nuka or rice bran. It must be removed as it caused the rice to smell.
This first washing should be done very quickly to stop the kome nuka from
soaking into the grains.

The washing process is done using 2 containers, one for rice and one for
water. Pour the water onto the rice quickly, making a claw shape with your
hand mix the rice well for 30 seconds and drain.

After this first wash, add water from a running tap, pick up the rice and gently
massage to remove the kome nuka. When the container is filled with water,
stop massaging and drain. At this point all of the kome nuka should be
washed away.

The rice now has another layer of kome nuka which must also be removed by
massaging again. This second massaging technique is similar to kneading
bread. Be careful not to use too much pressure, as the rice grains are fragile.
Massage for 2-3 minutes and rinse with running water.

Repeat a third time and drain in a colander. When draining do not shake the
colander as this can damage the rice. When the rice is in the colander it lies
down which can hold excess water. Tip the colander at a 45-degree angle and
allow it to drain for 15 minutes. The timing is crucial - no longer than 15
minutes and no shorter. During this time the water is evenly distributed.

It is now ready to cook.

Cooking Rice

The ratio for cooking is 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water

Cook the rice in a thick-based pan with a fitted lid. This will allow pressure to
be created inside the pot and facilitate even cooking.

Start to cook over a high heat, reducing the heat when boiling to a low heat
and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn up the heat for a further 20
seconds then turn the heat off and rest for 20 minutes.

Sushi Vinegar


There are different types of vinegar used in Japanese cooking the most
popular is one made from cereal or grain. This is mainly used for cooking as it
is blended and well balanced. It is generally used for vinaigrettes and
dressings.

Sushi vinegar is made by combining vinegar, sugar, salt and kombu seaweed.

Method
Put the vinegar in a pan on slow heat. It is essential that you do not boil the
vinegar! Once boiled all the sharpness will be lost. Heat the vinegar to body
temperature and add the salt. When dissolved start to add the sugar little by
little until all dissolved. This should be done in 3 stages.

When the sugar is dissolved add the kombu and leave to infuse overnight.

An alternative is to buy ready made sushi vinegar.

Mixing the rice and vinegar.

Known as Shari Kiri.

Traditionally the cooked rice is placed in a wooden tub and the sushi vinegar
is sprinkled on top. It is evenly spread over the rice using a rice paddle. Leave
for 30 seconds to allow the vinegar time to soak through. Turn over the rice
using the paddle to distribute vinegar. Leave for 30 minutes before using.

Sushi roll Fillings

The fillings for sushi rolls can range from simple tuna to more elaborate
ingredients such as fresh water eel, cucumber and foie gras. Anything can be
used to fill the rolls however, a couple of simple rules must be considered.

Rule 1 anything that is used to fill a sushi roll must taste well with vinegared
rice. Some items may not go well and will taste strange when eaten.

Rule 2 anything that is used should not, generally be harder than the rice.
There are a couple of exceptions to this when making vegetable rolls we
use Yamagobo, a very thin Japanese root vegetable also known as Burdock.
This adds texture and crunch to the roll.


Fish
The fish that is used to fill sushi rolls must be fresh and prepared safely. Fresh
fish that is suitable for sushi is difficult to buy, especially from supermarkets.
The best place to buy sushi quality fish is from Japanese fish suppliers. If this
is not possible you can buy fresh fish from a fishmonger but remember to tell
the monger that it is for sushi. This will ensure they take extra care with the
hygiene.

Quality
It is a common misconception that fish flesh should be soft and floppy. This
happens when the fish is old. The best way to check if the fish is fresh is to
look at the eyes and gills. The eyes should be bright and not milky and the
gills should be a bright red colour. If the gills are dark brown the fish is old.
If you are buying fish fillets it is advisable to sear the outside of the fillet prior
to using. This will ensure any bacteria that may be present on the surface of
the fish is killed.

Wasabi
Wasabi is a Japanese horseradish, which is green in colour. It is used
nowadays to flavour the sushi but its primary use was to kill any bacteria
present on the fish.

Nori
Nori is dried seaweed used in the making of sushi and sushi rolls. The best
quality nori is generally linked to the price. The higher the price the better the
quality.


Equipment.

To make rolls you will need:

Bamboo mat
Dredger for sesame seeds
Cling film (To make inside out rolls the mat should be wrapped in cling
film to stop the rice sticking)

Types of roll
Futomaki thick roll
Hosomaki thin roll
Inside out roll rice on outside
Hand roll

Futomaki
A traditional style roll which uses several different ingredients. This is also
used for special occasions.

Hosomaki
This is the most popular roll in Japan. Usually includes 1 or 2 ingredients and
is the most difficult to make.

Inside out roll
Inside out rolls were originally created in the USA. The ingredients can range
from one to any number. Normally the outside of the roll is covered with
sesame seeds or other ingredients such as Tobiko, a flying fish roe.

Hand rolls
Shaped like an ice cream cone or tube these rolls were originally created by
famous restaurant in Tokyo called Kyubei. They are normally served directly
from the chef to the customer hand to hand.

Making inside out rolls


1. On top of the mat place nori
sheet Align the Nori with edge
of mat.


2. Pick up rice and make into a bar
shape. Do not squeeze it together!


3. Hold the rice in your right hand
and spread onto the Nori using
your left hand.


4. Your thumb and index finger will
guide to spread of rice over the
Nori.







5. Your left hand should make a
wall and using right hand roll finger
down to spread rice over nori. Do
not scrape the rice over the nori.

6. Left edge first then repeat with
other hand on the right.


7. At this stage the roll should have
rice on the left and right. Using both
hands spread the rice in the
middle. Most rice should be now
evenly spread. If not use your
fingertips to make even. Wetting
hand as necessary.










8. Sprinkle chopped chives over
rice and turn nori over. The gap
should now be towards you.


9. Slightly above the centre of the
nori is where the fillings are placed.
Start with wasabi then add your
chosen filling.


10. The fish is placed in the centre
of the nori.


11. The avocado is placed along
side the fish.


12. Start to roll using index finger
and thumb pinch edge of bamboo
and nori and fold upwards holding
the top down with your other
fingers.

13. Turn the roll ensuring the filling
does not move.


14. The gap should be stuck
against the fillings and rolled.


15. The top edge should roll over
and face you. All roll should be
covered by bamboo.



16. Make shape with your fingers
as shown. Rolls should be square
or rectangle.
Do not press too hard, just enough
pressure to make shape.


17. Take out roll from bamboo and
place on board.


18. Ensure your knife is wet before
cutting the sushi roll.


19. Cut into half using sharp knife
and cut again as shown.



20. Cut the roll into 6 pieces as
shown.




Fillings
Size of ingredients should be 1cm squared. Any more is difficult to roll.

Presentation
Most rolls are cut into 6 pieces. Some rolls like fat rolls are cut into 4 or 5.
Normally the best presentation is using height. As a rule the high part should
be at the back of the plate. The ginger is always placed on the right and the
wasabi on the left. In Japan wasabi is never served additionally to the sushi.

Apart from that go wild!