First of all, this is my 50th blog post. Crazy! Thanks to all that read, bookmark, comment, subscribe, follow, re-pin, re-tweet, re-post and heck, even just anyone that tells me they admire my blog from afar. You all make me love this hobby even more. So again, thank you!!!
Sushi is a mystery to me. Even though I think we might have kinda figured it out, there’s a still a lot to learn. A few years ago, Josh and I tried to make it for the first time. Before that, we had really only been eating it for a few years and still considered ourselves to be sushi novices.
Out of everything I’ve made on this blog, new and old, baked or fried, sushi is definitely the most involved. There is a delicate balance of textures, temperatures and presentation. Sharp knives, wet fingers, quality ingredients. Just thinking of it all makes my head spin!
Despite all of the hassle and coordination, I think we’re getting closer. I’m not quite brave enough to work with raw fish, so my sushi will probably lack authenticity for a while.
To help demonstrate why last night’s sushi experiment was such a success, we first must take a trip back to the mishap of 2009:
Don’t laugh. Please.
Okay nevermind, this is actually pretty funny. We didn’t have a traditional mat, so instead we used a huge table placemat that happened to be made of bamboo. Close enough, right? No. Not even. Bad sushi noobs. Bad! Well, I guess some of them turned out okay.
Now you understand why it was crucial for me to find a video of somebody actually preparing, rolling and cutting sushi. Because apparently, every step in the process is an opportunity to screw it up completely. After a quick search, I found this guy, who had a pretty comprehensive and painfully easy approach to sushi. Dude is pretty much a sushi ninja.
We used two recipes for our sushi:
American Dreams Sushi Roll
- Sushi Rice (prepared, one large handful)
- Nori Sheet (2/3rd)
- Cream Cheese: 1/3 Less Fat (1/2” x 1/2” to the length of the Nori sheet)
- Shrimp Tempura (prepared and store bought; enough to cover the Nori sheet length wise)
- 1 Hass avocado (cut into thin slices)
- Eel Sauce
- Spicy Crab (srirachi hot sauce, shredded imitation crab sticks, mayonnaise)
Sweet & Spicy California Roll
- 1 Avocado, sliced into thin strips
- Nori sheets
- Sesame seeds, toasted
- 4 crab sticks, torn into pieces or Spicy Crab mix (see above)
- 1/3 mango, sliced into thin strips
- Sushi rice
- 1 Medium Cucumber, sliced into thin strips
Preparing the spicy crab.
Panko and sesame seeds, for extra texture. We couldn’t find shrimp tempura, so we modified by using pre-cooked shrimp and panko for crunch.
Sushi Daddy’s awesome suggestion to put the bamboo mat in a ziplock bag. This saved us a ton of clean up, and made rolling a lot easier than last time.
Nori first, rice second, then flip to make an inside-out roll (rice on the outside).
Our first roll. Cream cheese strips, shrimp, panko, spicy crab to come. We made the mistake of placing the ingredients directly at the center. Placing them slightly off center will actually ensure that the ingredients appear at the center of the roll when cut.
I can’t tell you how much easier this ziplock bag method is. Am I crazy for not knowing this??
Okay, so I didn’t get pictures of this, but Sushi Daddy’s video explains it really well. Basically, you filet the avocado, place it scalloped on top of the roll then cover the roll with saran wrap. Once covered with the wrap, place the bamboo mat (in ziplock bag) over the roll and press down on the top and sides of the roll. This will cleanly fold the avocado around the roll. Remove bamboo mat, but leave saran wrap. Using a very sharp and clean serrated knife, quickly cut the roll in half, and in halves on each side until the roll is fully cut. Remove saran wrap and separate pieces from the roll.
Our first wrap turned out a little wonky, but wayyyy better compared to our first sushi experience. As you can see, there is more rice than filling. We compensated for this on our next rolls by using less rice (about only enough to cover the nori with one layer), and placing the ingredients off center on the nori.
The California Roll (sans spicy crab, plus mango) turned out to have better proportions than our first attempt at the American Dream roll.
The second attempt at the American Dream roll was much better. Our cut on the roll was cleaner too. Literally! Cleaning the knife between each cut might seem tedious, but when you’re working with clingy ingredients like cream cheese and avocado, it goes a long way.
Holy ingredients, batman! This roll was STUFFED. It was kind of a hybrid of the American Dream and California rolls, and it was YUMMY. It’s amazing how well these rolls held together.
And a less stuffed version with avocado, shrimp, mango and cream cheese. Did I mention that we made too many rolls?
Sushi night part deux = great success!
What’s your favorite sushi roll?