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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Maki Sushi California Roll

Let's get this straight for all of you who, at the mention of sushi, say, "I'm not eating raw fish." Sushi is not raw fish. Sashimi (Japanese)is raw fish, poke (Hawaiian) is made from raw fish. Sushi is seasoned rice either rolled (maki) or shaped. Today, I will be talking about Maki Sushi. This is more of a Hawaiian style sushi. The rice is a little more flavorful than the Japanese type.

First, I have to give credit where it is due. This is my cousin, Rynie's recipe. Her name is pronounced Ree-Nee. I never understood for the longest time why her name was Rynie. I finally asked my mom one day and she said it was because it was short for KathRYN. I have a big family back in Hawaii. You see Rynie is my cousin, but she is really my mom's first cousin. Her father and my mom's mother were half siblings. I'm not totally sure what that makes us, perhaps first cousins once removed or whatever. In Hawaii, you're cousins. Heck, most of the time close family friends are considered cousins.

Back to the sushi. Rynie makes the best sushi. It is always so good. I can tell you right now, my sushi is never as good as her sushi. I try and people here think it's pretty good. There are a lot of options for filling these. The easiest for me is always a simple california roll with cucumber, crab or imitation crab, and avocado. It is the one that most people will eat. Back home maki sushi usually has shoyu tuna, kanpyo (Gourd strings), carrot, fried egg, cucumber, shrimp flakes, etc.

In the picture above, I made some of both for my friend's 40th birthday party. The first time you try and roll sushi, they will probably come out off centered, but keep trying. You have to practice to get them centered, the right amount of rice on the nori (dried seaweed), and the right tightness (is that a word?). Here's the recipe below.

Rynie's Sushi Rice

6 cups of cooked Japanese (short grain)rice
sushi nori (dried seaweed)
filling ingredients

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup Japanese rice vinegar
2-1/2 tsp. salt

Heat the sugar, vinegar, and salt in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Place the hot rice in a large bowl and gradually add the sushi sauce while constantly stirring the rice. You may need to add a little less. The rice should absorb the sauce and not be soupy. Add enough so the rice begins to stick together.

Using a bamboo sushi mat, place a sheet of nori on mat. Have a bowl of water handy at your rolling station. Place rice onto the nori and spread it evenly with your hands about 2/3 of the way down the nori. Keep your hands wet. This will help the rice from sticking to you. Add your fillings. Using the mat, roll the sushi. Hold the fillings toward the center of the mat while doing this. Moisten the end of the nori so it will stick together. This takes practice, but you can eat the mistakes!

You can either cut the rolls now with a sharp knife. If I am not serving it right away, I place each roll in waxed paper and then into a plastic bag. If you cut them and place them on a platter, cover them with a dampened paper towel to avoid them drying out. This usually makes about 6 rolls or 36-42 slices.

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