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The complete GUIDE on how to make SUSHI

Tools   : Hangiri, Rolling Mat

Wooden rice bowl (or Hangiri)



A hangiri is a cypress wood barrel/tub used in the sushi rice prepration process. Its main function is to make the rice cool faster due to its unique shape, and moisture obsorption ability.
Hangiris are pretty expensive, and that is probably why most home sushi makers prefer using a cheaper plastic bowl alternative.
Basically, any non-metalic bowl is suitable enough for holding the rice while it cools, but nothing does it as well as Hangiri.

The sushi rolling mat (or Makisu)

The sushi rolling mat can be very useful, although, with some experience - you can do without it. The rolling mat is used to maintain even pressure from all sides of the sushi roll while rolling it.
When used to make an inside out roll, the mat needs to be wrapped in saran tape in order to keep the rice from sticking to the mat. This may also be applied while making a classic roll to make the mat easier to clean during the process.

How to pick a sushi rolling mat ?

There are two kinds of bamboo rolling mats on the market. First you have the cheap kind, where both sides of the mat are rounded. That's bad. The second kind, might cost you a buck more, and features the "top of the line" of western technology: one side is rounded and the other is flat. You will soon find out that a rolling mat with one side flat is a lot easier to use, and brings you much more impressive results.

Basic   : Sweet Potato, Avacado, Wasabi, Gari, Sushi Rice, Nori, Kombu

Why sweet potato?



Sweet potato works extremely well in sushi. It does so especially when used as topping for an inside-out roll. Its color is naturally vivid and thuscontributes much to the aesthetic effort.
Sweet potato can also be used for sushi roll filling, with or without tempura - it works very well, especially for veggie rolls as the main filling.
Since it is a hard root vegetable, the sweet potato requires some preparation in order to be used in a sushi dish. Below you can find some suggestions how to do so.

Using sweet potato for sushi topping

  1. Wash the sweet potato thoroughly, and remove the skin with a peeler.
  2. Use the peeler to slice thin slices of the sweet potato. Peel them as big as you can.
  3. Fry the slices for a few seconds in hot oil.
  4. After frying, let cool for a few minutes.
  5. Refrain from laying the fried slices on top of each other, it tends to cling.
  6. Once chilled, cover an uncut inside roll with fried sweet potato slices, and tighten with the bamboo mat.
  7. Cut the roll.

What is an avocado?


Avocado is one of the most common fruits used in sushi. It is cholesterol free, and blends perfectly with the look and feel of the sushi roll. Because of its natural "fatty" taste and feel, the avocado is an ideal substitute for the raw fish commonly used in sushi.
The best kind of avocado to use in sushi is, in our opinion, is the Hass avocado. You can recognize a Hass avocado by its pebbly dark green skin.

How to use Avocado in sushi


  • Cut the avocado in half.

  • Peel the skin, and remove the seed.

  • For sushi filling: cut the avocado into 1-2cm thin slices.

  • For sushi topping:
    1. Use a peeler to peel very thin slices of avocado.
    2. Place the peels on top of an inside-out sushi roll.
    3. Use the bamboo mat to press the peels firmly to the roll.


    What is sushi wasabi?



    Wasabi, also known as
    "Japanese horseradish", is a hot Japanese spice root and an important item on any sushi table. Some like to mix it with soy sauce bowl for future dipping, and some rather place it directly on the sushi just before they eat. For more information about the origin of wasabi, check out wasabi on wikipedia.
    Wasabi products for sushi can be obtained in Asian food stores in the form of dried powder or ready to use paste, and used in very small doses (pea-sized or less). In order to fully enjoy your Wasabi - you should use the dried wasabi powder to produce your own fresh wasabi paste - the following guide will walk you through this simple process.

    Making wasabi paste from wasabi powder

    step 1

    Since the wasabi powder needs to stay dry when kept in order to stay fresh - try carefully not to dent the can top when opening. This way, your wasabi can last for a long sushi making period.
    Use a dry teaspoon (or pour gently right from the can as shown in the animation). 3-4 teaspoons should be enough for a sushi session depending on your personal wasabi consuming habits.

    step 2

    Add a small amount of cold water, about 1:1 ratio with the amount of wasabi powder you used and stir until a solid mixture is obtained. Now you need to gently balance the mixture with a bit more powder if you like your Wasabi thick, or water if you want it to be thinner.

    step 3

    Now that the wasabi paste is ready, you can form it into shapes - try to be original and surprise your sushi guests!

    What is sushi Gari?



    Gari are thin slices of pickled ginger. Commercial Gari is usually colored pink, and sometimes can be obtained in its original color - yellow, as the inside of ginger is.
    Gari is served with every meal of sushi. It is usually consumed between different sushi dishes, or sushi piece in order to cleanse the palate, and not as an integral part of the sushi piece.
    It is a common product to find in asian markets in various sizes. Not much of it needed for one meal of sushi, so the smaller packs/jars are usually the ones taken. Also, Gari can be prepared at home.

    How to Make  Pickled Ginger (gari) at home

    Tired of getting you pickled ginger in a can? Had enough of the awful aftertaste of food preservatives?
    It's probably time you learned how to make your own pickled ginger (AKA Gari).
    As this video explained, pickling ginger is an easy task that any sushi fan should be able to perform himself, why can't you?




    What is Sushi Rice?



    Sushi rice, a.k.a. sushi-meshi, is a sticky short grained kind of rice. Its original stickiness is what makes it perfect for sushi making. You may try and make sushi using other kinds of rice, but no rice beats sushi-meshi for sushi making.
    The sushi rice needs to be washed, cooked, and seasoned in order to be used for making sushi.
    Preparing the sushi rice might look complicated and pedantic at first, but as you go along with it you might notice that it's just like making ordinary rice, only with rice vinegar added to it, and a bit of Japanese methodology.

    How to use sushi rice


    Measurements and preparations


    First you got to clear the rice from all sorts of impurities just lying there waiting for you to cook them in your sushi rice. But you wouldn't do that, right? Right. Wash the rice (1 cup = 3 rolls) with running water for 1-2 minutes until there is no more starch coming out of it. After you are done washing, take the rice and place it gently in a pot, add a little bit more water than rice ( the ratio is about 1.15/1 in favor of the water). Don't put too much water, or you'll get dough instead of rice.

    Cooking the rice


    The rice should be cooked on high heat at first, stir every minute or two, until the water boils. Then, lower the heat to minimum and cover the pot. Stop stirring, the rice will handle itself from now. Why? That is just the Japanese way...
     After 6-8 min, check the water level. If there is no more water, only bigger grains of rice in the pot, that means the rice is ready. If not, check back every minute, making sure not to burn the rice at the bottom.

    Taking out the rice


    You think I'm kidding right? Well I'm not. There are a few important issues to keep in mind while taking the rice out of the pot. First, use only a wooden spoon to handle the cooked rice. A metal spoon will damage it severely. Second, don't scrape the rice out from the bottom of the pot. If it comes out easily, good, if not - leave it be. The rice at the bottom is dry and burned, it won't taste so good.

    Seasoning the rice


    In order for the rice to taste like sushi rice should (and not like an ordinary rice), you need to add rice vinegar to it right after you take it out of the pot.

    Sushi rice seasoning recipe


    For 3 cups of rice, use ½ cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt.
    1. Mix together in small pot, on medium heat until all solids are mixed in.
    2. Pour mixture on rice and stir well.
    3. Let rice cool down for a few minutes until it is within the room temperature.


    What is nori?



    Nori (a.k.a. laver) is a paper like, edible, toasted seaweed used in most kinds of sushi. The nori is actually the part that holds the sushi together.
    Nori is usually supplied in packs of 10s or 50s. It arrives in a moist free package, for it must stay dry at all time until used. For that reason it is recommended to get the 10 pack for home use.


    How to use nori?


    Nori is used in most kinds of sushi. It provides the roll with a unique seaweed flavor, holds many nutritious benefits and most importantly it plays a functional part by keeping the roll together.
    A fresh nori should come dry, very dry. Once it interacts with the moist rice, it becomes sticky, hence when wrapping the rice it acts as a firm yet sticky "skin" for the sushi roll. For that reason, in order to make the most of the nori, it must be kept in a super-dry environment before used, or else, it will not stick well and the sushi roll will probably fall apart faster than you can say "Hara-kiri".


    What is Kombu?




    Kombu (or Konbu), is a sort of dried kelp (which is a sort of sea-weed) used in many Japanese cuisines including sushi. Kombu is considered to be an important ingredient in creating Umami (savoriness). You probably already know that Umami is a loanword from Japanese meaning "good flavor" or "good taste".

    How to use Kombu in sushi?


    When preparing the sushi rice, just before you turn up the heat or start the rice cooker, throw in a small piece of Kombu. About 5 by 5 cm of Kombu should do for an average 3 cups rice batch. It is helpful at this point to make slits in one or more sides of the Kombu to help release its flavors.

    Pro     : Oshinko, Tempura, Panko, Black Sesame, Shiitake

    Oshinko



    Oshinko is a Japanese pickled radish. It has a strong flavor, and so can serve as a single filling in a small (hoso) maki roll, or as an addition to other fillings in Foto-maki, or Ura-maki rolls. Since pickled, the Oshinko can be stored for long periods in the fridge, even after opening - so it's a relatively more convenient to handle than most sushi ingredients. Not only for sushi by the way, Oshinko works well in salads and other cold dishes. 
    How does it look like in a roll?
    Like this: 





    What is Tempura?



    Tempura is a kind of japanese batter used as coating for deep fried vegetables, fish and seafood. One popular dish using tempura is deep fried, tempura coated carrot and sweet potato chips. As delicious as that dish is, our main interest in tempura regarding sushi comes in two other forms of tempura cooking:
    1. Fried sushi ingredients coated with tempura - such as shrimp tempura sushi roll.
    2. A fired sushi roll - entire roll is coated with tempura - That's done when dipping an entire inside out roll in tempura batter, then usually rolled in panko as well, and then deep frying the entire roll. A very successful trick is to use melty cheese inside the deep fried roll. Works very well with a philadelphia sushi roll topped with parmesan cheese, for example.

    What is Panko?




    Panko are basically japanese breadcrumbs. It is used in all kind of dishes, and can be found mainly in those that include fish and seafood.
    Panko is commonly related with deep-fried dishes. One of its most common uses in sushi, is soaking an inside-out roll in tempura, then rolling it in panko, and lastly deep frying,
    Some use panko to decorate and enrich inside out rolls with out frying the entire roll by frying the panko alone, and then spreading it over the inside out sushi roll just before cutting. A bit of tightening with the rolling mat and voila. The sushi roll is immediately enriched both in color and flavor.
    Although the two are likely to bee seen together, panko and tempura are not the same thing at all. Both are used for coating, but unlike the tempura the panko is not sticky, and therefore sometimes used together with the first, in order to stick well enough during the frying process.


    What is black sesame




    Black sesame is a kind of slated & toasted sesame used to decorate and enrich flavor.
    There isn't much to elaborate on the matter of using it, simply sprinkle as much as you dare on top, or all around an inside out sushi roll to create the desired ratio of black spots on rice white background of the roll.
    The taste, by the way, is not that dominant, nevertheless sensible. Give it a try!

    Shiitake




    Shiitake is a kind of mushroom, very common in asian cooking. Most chances you will to come across dried Shiitake as in the photo, rather than fresh. Dried Shiitake needs to be soaked in hot water for a few minutes, and then the stem should be removed. The stem is harder than the rest of the mushroom, and will not be as enjoyable.
    Shiitake has a very distinctive taste, it is not expensive, and is a blessed addition to any sushi roll - especially vegetarian.


    Sauce : Soy sauce, Kewpie Mayonnaise (Japanese Mayo), Ponzu Sauce, Unagi Sauce (Kabayaki) 

    What is Soy Sauce?



    Soy sause, as its name suugests is a dark, salty sauce made from fermenting soybeans. Soy sauce is traditionaly used in many Asian cuisins, and Japanese in particular. A small bowl of soy sauce (per person) is a must in sushi dinning since you dip almost any kind of sushi in it.


    What's Kewpie Mayonnaise?



    Kewpie is the Japanese version of Mayonnaise. The Kewpie mayo is yellow, unlike white western mayo. It is sweeter than western mayo, thinner, and contains apple vinegar and egg yolks.
    In sushi, Kewpie mayo is used mainly as an ingredient in the famous "spicy mayo" sauce, or by itself on top of crunchy fried rolls.

    What is Ponzu sauce?




    Ponzu is a type of Japanese sauce, usually served with Sashimi or Tataki.
    You can make Ponzu sauce at home from Soy sauce, lemon juice, rice vinegar and Dashi.


    What is Unagi sauce?



    Unagi sauce is  a type of thick and sweetened sauce, based on soy sauces. It is used in different Japanese dishes that contains BBQed eel. It can be used when grilling eel, on top of an eel roll or nigiri. In sushi, it's usually served with such dishes as Unagi (eel) roll, and dragon roll, and can be served with other rolls as well.


    How to make Unagi sauce at home?


    To make Unagi sauce at home you'll need:
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
    • 1/4 cup sugar

    Instructions:

    Mix ingredients together, and pour into a small pan. Put on low heat and simmer for a few minutes until sugar dissolves, while stirring with a wooden spoon. Once sugar is fully dissolved, let the sauce cool, and keep in fridge for use.

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