Making Makizushi

Sushi Rolls

Sushi rolls are just one part of a large selection of foods. Sushi is the sticky, short grained rice, that is seasoned with sushisu (usually rice vinegar, sugar but sometimes mirin, and salt). Sushi rice can be served as a small dollop of rice with seafood or other toppings. It can be rolled in a seaweed wrapper, nori. to make a sushi roll, a makizushi. The sushi roll can contain any number of fillings. Here we are filling the sushi roll with artificial crab, cucumber, carrot, asparagus and avocado. Many would call this an Alaska roll. The carrot has been parboiled to give the carrot a nice bite but eliminate the hard crunch. For convenience, we have made this recipe with canned asparagus with good results but fresh asparagus can be used. Fresh asparagus needs to be parboiled a bit just like the carrot to make them tender.

The first time you make sushi rolls, it will seem all too complicated, work intensive and time consuming. Thats just the learning process. The second time you make sushi rolls you will be amazed at how much easier it was than you remembered. By the third or fourth time, you will be able to make sushi rolls without giving it a second thought.

Preparation: 2 or 3 hours over the day Life Experience Recipe
Makes 5 filled nori, 30 or 40 pieces
Sushi Rice Ingredients:
  • 2 cups short grain rice
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
Making the Sushi Rice
  1. Mix the vinegar, salt and sugar. Stir well and set aside and allow solids to dissolve completely
  2. Add the dry rice to a medium-sized bowl. Add water to cover. Gently massage the rice between the fingers to wash starch off the surface of the rice grains. Carefully pour off water or use colander to strain the rice. Repeat as needed until rinse water returns clear.
  3. Cover the rice with water and set aside until rice turns milky white, about 20 minutes. Drain rice well.
  4. If using an electric rice cooker, follow the manufacturers instructions for washing, draining and cooking the rice
  5. Place rice in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot with a close fitting lid. Add 2 cups of water and heat over medium heat until boiling using a rice paddle to stir and scrape down rice grains. When boiling, cover pot and reduce heat to medium low and simmer until liquid water just disappears, about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn heat to very low and continue heating to steam the rce until completely cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the still covered pot to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. After the rice has cooled for awhile but still warm, we need to season the rice with sushi-su, the vinegar, sugar and salt mixture. To season the rice, carefully turn out the rice into a large flat glass or other non-reactive container (no metal containers). Discard any overcooked rice grains on the pot bottom. Use the rice paddle to spread the rice grains. Slowly add the sushi-su while mixing the rice in a folding motion. Use a fan or even a folded newspaper to fan and cool the rice to near room temperature. Cover to keep from drying, and set aside but do not refrigerate. Rice made in the morning is just about right to make sushi in the afternoon.
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe but firm avocado
  • 1 package "leg-style" artificial crab meat
  • 1 carrot, parboiled
  • 1 15-ounce can asparagus spears, drained
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 package nori, seaweed sheets
Procedure
  1. These are the ingredients and procedure for this particular Alaska-style sushi roll. The choice of these or other fillings is yours...
  2. Preparing the filling: Peel carrot. Trim length equal to the width of the nori. Cut the carrot into pencil-sized strips. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium high heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes or until carrot sticks are bite-tender. Quench in cold water. Drain in colander and allow to dry.
  3. Peel the cucumber. Slice in half lengthwise and use a teaspoon or melon baller to scoop out the seeds. Discard the seeds. Slice the cucumber into pencil-sized strips. Pat with paper towel to dry.
  4. Remove asparagus spears from can and carefully drain in colander.
  5. Sliced avocado into narrow slices. Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice or rice vinegar to preserve color.
  6. Cut leg-style crab sticks in half lengthwise cutting on a slight angle. The narrow ends then can overlap without making too thick a piece of crab.
  7. You will need a bowl of water with a bit of rice vinegar to wet your fingers and rice paddle so the rice wont stick. Arrange all of your fillings, rice, water bowl and rolling mat in a handy manner in front of you. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the rolling mat. Wet your finer tips and rice paddle in the water. Spread to 3/4 cup of rice over the nori as shone - to the edges, almost to the edge closest to you and allow an inch or so on the far side depending on the thickness of your rice layer. The ice layer should be about 1/4-inch thick but not packed. You should almost see the nori through the rice layer.
  8. Arrange your filling pieces about in the middle of the rice layer. Arrange the flling pieces so the thickness is the same across the width of the rice.
  9. The thumb and first fingers will control the rolling mat and the other fingers will hold the filling in place as the rolling begins. As you pull up on the rolling mat, pull the edge up and over the filling. When the edge of the mat gets close to the rice layer, turn the edge of the mat back so it doesnt get rolled into the sushi roll. With a little practice, you will develop the right amount of tension to use on the mat to make a firm, well rolled, makizushi.
  10. Sometimes a finger wetted with the water-vinegar mixture, run along the far edge of the nori will help it adhere to close the roll.
  11. Set the completed roll aside for a few minutes so the rice will set and not fall apart when you cut the roll. If the roll will not be cut before a few minutes, wrap with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
  12. With a sharp knife (use slicing motion and just the weight of the knife), cut the roll in two equal halves. Place the two halves side by side. To make six sushi roll pieces (many find them a bit too big for one bite), slice the two halves in threes. To make eight pieces, cut the two halves in two and each of the smaller pieces in two again. Cutting the pieces side by side helps to make pieces of the same size.
  13. Serve the sushi rolls with a dollop of wasabi paste and soy sauce for dipping. Many people like a bit of beni shoga (also called gari, it is pickled ginger root and usually dyed a bright red) on the side and take a small bit of the gari between samples to cleanse and refresh the pallet.

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Latest revision done August 2007
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