Sushi

Sushi is intimidating. I've had a sushi roller in my possession for a couple of years, but lacked the courage to make something with it. Well, what do you do when making a birthday dinner for a man who loves sushi?! You dive in.

Truth be told, I was anti-sushi for years. I had tried only raw varieties, and found tuna to be gummy and just odd. So many of my friends have been into sushi for years, and I just avoided it. It wasn't until I tried the crab kind that I started to see that sushi is like a lot of different food options - it has so many different varieties that saying you dislike it is like saying you dislike all dogs. You just haven't found the right one.



I decided to make two different kinds - a California-style roll with imitation crab meat (which is really just whitefish) and a shrimp roll. Cream cheese is ok in sushi, in my opinion, but I took a consensus which was a big ol' "no".

Thanks to the always helpful Alton Brown, I learned to put some rice vinegar in with my rice to help it get good and sticky. It is very important to use short grain rice as long grain will not stick as well.

As I did not have panko bread crumbs available, I got a bit creative and dipped the shrimp in a mixture of flour and water that made a slurry similar (but thinner than) the cornstarch one I used for Sweet and Sour Chicken.


I coated each piece in my attempt at tempura batter before pan frying them in a thin layer of vegetable oil. I don't always fry my food, but when I do, it's worth it.


I picked up some seaweed, short grain rice (seriously, this is important!), imitation crab (also known as whitefish), a cucumber and an avocado. Now, to make the sushi rolls, I laid wax paper on a wooden sushi roller and spread some rice into a rectangular shape over the wax paper, then lay a piece of seaweed over it. I cut the cucumber into thin strips lengthwise and sliced the avocado. About half an inch from the end of the rice, lay out the sushi filling items lengthwise.  For the California roll, I added the imitation crab strips, cucumber, and avocado. Starting from the end with the filling, I used the sushi roller to roll the filling in the seaweed and rice, like a roll of fishy wrapping paper. Once it


For the shrimp rolls, I added shrimp, avocado, and cucumber across the seaweed and rolled it up the same way.


Finally, I used the sharpest knife I could find to slice the sushi into pieces. And along with some eel sauce, we had a sushi delight!


It's that easy to make sushi at home. Rice, seaweed, and the filling of your choice (I've even seen beef sushi!). The hardest part of the whole thing was rolling it tight enough to hold together, as for sure mine didn't turn out quite the perfect circular shape you get at restaurants. But seriously, the rice was perfect. It was super sticky and held together just right. The seaweed was good too - this being the first time I worked with it, I somewhat expected it to be chewy and dry, but you really didn't even detect it in texture or flavor. The shrimp batter, though basic, worked out really good, as the shrimp was cooked well and had a light, crispy outside. And that imitation crab was really good! All in all, this turned into a success story.

Sushi Recipe

Ingredients:

1 bag white rice (32 ounces)
4 cups water
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
3-4 seaweed sheets
1 package imitation crab (6-8 ounces)
2 cups thawed shrimp
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons water
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup canola oil
1 avocado
1 cucumber
2-3 tablespoons cream cheese , if desired

Instructions:

Add rice, water, and rice vinegar to rice cooker (or boiling water). Cook until done, about 30 minutes on the stove. Rice should stick together tightly. Allow rice to cool slightly. To make the shrimp, mix flour and water together to create a thick slurry. Dip shrimp in, then cook in canola oil heated to medium-high for 1-2 minutes on each side. Lay wax paper on a wooden sushi roller. Spread rice into a rectangular shape over the wax paper, then lay a piece of seaweed over it. Cut avocado open, then into slices. Cut cucumber into thin strips lengthwise. About half an inch from the end of the rice, lay out the sushi filling items lengthwise. For the shrimp rolls, add shrimp, avocado, and cucumber across the seaweed. For the California roll, add the imitation crab strips, cucumber, and avocado. Starting from the end with the filling, use the sushi roller to gently but tightly start rolling up the filling in the seaweed and rice, making sure to fold the wood roller back as you go so as not to roll it into the sushi roll. Slice into pieces about 1 inch in width.

This recipe made 3 rolls - a tempura shrimp roll, california roll, and a combination roll.

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