Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Step Thirty Seven: Step by Step Sushi :-)

Dearest, darling Sylwi,

If you could only see what I had planned for today and how woefully short of the mark I am, you would laugh very hard and long. I had sooo much planned. I wanted to do a Japanese themed 'step' and had big visions of the actual project that I created today, plus an elaborate photoshoot - all styled with Japanese props, a collage of patterns, and a couple of other ways of presenting my project that I wanted to try.

Instead... I managed the basic project and then these very simple pics have sat on my computer screen all day, since about 11am. It's now getting on for 6pm... and I'm trying to write this post in-between all the nonsense I have to get done today. I think I'm currently averaging about 10 words an hour! hee! :-) Maybe next week, I can produce the other parts to this step that I wanted to do...?

The inspiration for today's creation came from The Complete Book of Sushi, by Hideo Dekura, Brigid Treloar and Ryuichi Yoshii.

I've been desperate (for a very long time) :-) to make sushi, which I LOVE! Well, all sushi apart from anything that involves sea urchin - yeuch! :-)

I had a go a couple of months ago and the results weren't terrible, but I'd really like to improve my techniques and with something so creative and fancy, practice is the only way to get better.

So, here's what I got up to for today's step.

First, I placed a sheet of toasted nori onto a rolling mat... using toasted nori is (I think) very important. Last time, I used untoasted and oh my goodness, the texture was so rubbery, it was inedible. It was like biting into a car tyre! :-)

At least, I think it was because I used untoasted... or maybe it was just a bad brand of nori. Apparently, the different qualities of nori in Japan are akin to paper - you can buy all kinds of different grades, from cheap to extremely expensive.

Anyway, this time, working with toasted turned out brilliantly.

I prepared the sushi rice early this morning and have a bunch of instructions on how I did it, but most sushi rice packets have instructions on the side, so it's easiest just to follow those.

Once cool, I began spreading a thin layer of rice onto the nori. To stop the rice from sticking to my hands, I regularly dipped my fingers in a bowl of water to keep them moist. 

Last time, I made the mistake of making my fingers too wet and unfortunately, this transferred to my rice and nori. It all ended up a bit soggy and unruly! Thankfully this time, I knew to shake the excess water off my fingers before applying them to the rice and it worked perfectly.

At the top, I pushed the rice right to the edge and at the other end, I left a line of exposed nori (not covered in rice) about an inch wide, along the bottom of my nori sheet.

I made a groove along the top of the rice and drew a very thin line of wasabi paste along it...

Then it was time for the fun part - the filling! 

I didn't have time to go to the fish shop to buy fresh fish, so I bought some precooked prawns and added avocado and chives. I wondered if the filling would be too soft, so added some cucumber for crunch.

Then it was time to roll...

... all the way over, tucking in the edges of the nori as I went and lifting the edge of the mat up...

Once rolled, I dabbed some water along the one inch exposed part of the nori to act as 'glue' and sealed the sushi shut. Once sealed, I slightly squared the edges of the roll...

... and then it was time to cut! 

Using a very sharp knife and wetting it with water frequently, I cut even(ish)! sized pieces... 

A friend was here for lunch, so it kinda went, "the big one, that's for me, this little one, that's for you, this next big one, that's for me..."  ;-P

... then a quick arrangement on the plate with a blob of wasabi shaped into a leaf... and I mean quick! I barely got this shot, before pieces began disappearing off the plate! :-)

I could not believe how delicious these were and how fast my friend and I wolfed these down. They were supposed to be for lunch, but I finished making them around 11am and by 5 past 11, they were all gone!

It was so wonderful to get creative with food. It felt as though so much love and care goes into these - it makes them super special. The freshness of the ingredients, the beauty of the presentation and how delicious they taste make them hard to beat!

The possibilities are endless as well. Vegetarian sushi, raw sushi, traditional sushi with raw fish - all the different ways to roll them; inside out, hand wrapped, thin, thick, upside down... oooh, I have an addiction coming on! :-)

I'll be back first thing tomorrow morning to catch up with your post and also to comment on last week's post. I've just seen it today, as I was uploading this post. *sigh* I know, you told me you'd uploaded it, but I haven't had a chance to visit all week. I can't wait for tomorrow, to spend some time browsing your lovely work. I Misssssss Yooooou! 

Lots and lots of love

1 comment:

  1. sea food and me - not the best pairing ;) however, your sushi looks so yummy that I honestly would try (if you saved one for me ha, ha).