December 5, 2009

Sushi making experience

I have to profess that I am a sushi lover and as a self proclaimed chef, I have an affinity for developing new culinary skills. I decide to attempt sushi making for the experience, skills, and better understanding of the sushi-making experience. When I did my research, I found different thoughts on how to prepare sushi rice and its preparation alone is said to be art. I found out that sushi rice is suppose to be "sticky," but not "mushy." The Japanese use a short grain white rice to make sushi, but I made my rice with a medium grain rice that was sufficient. I washed the rice thoroughly until the water was almost clear. This technique is necessary to remove talc that is added to rice when processed to prolong shelf life and prevent spoilage. I allowed the rice to dry for about i hour and then I transferred the rice to my heavy bottom skillet added 3 cups of rice and 3 1/4 cups of cold water and let that come to a boil. I then turned the heat to simmer and cooked the rice for 20 minutes, after which I turned the rice off and let it steam for 10 minutes longer.

Steaming rice is crucial because the rice is still cooking and absorbing moisture. While the rice was steaming, I prepared "tezu" or sushi vinegar, to add flavor to rice after cooking. It is made by taking rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and boiling them in a pot until the sugar is dissolved. When the rice was done I transferred it to a large bowl. I took a large wooden spatula and evenly distributed the tezu over the rice, then I carefully mixed the rice with the tezu, taking care not to pressed down on the rice, which could create mushy rice. I then took a piece of card board and fanned the rice to accelerate the cooling process. When the rice was about "body" temperature, I had to test whether or not I prepared it right. I took a small amount and pressed it together in my palm. It was extremely sticky, but not mushy, which is what I wanted. Happy, I proceeded to the filling. I created a spicy shrimp roll using diced shrimped that I blanched for a 2-3 minutes and a added to a mixture of garlic chili sauce and mayonnaise. Then I took nori (seaweed wrapper) and rolled the rice with the filling making a maki style roll.This is the resulting roll from the technique I used. It had nice flavor, heat, and I figured it was pretty good for a first attempt. Practice makes perfect meaning that I will be making a lot of sushi. Sushi is extremely versatile and its ingredients are limited only by our imaginations. The fact that sushi is a healthy addition to an healthy and active lifestyle makes preparing it that much more satisfying.

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