Saturday, 20 September 2008

Now, I know a lot of people who are squeamish about sushi. The whole idea that it revolves around raw fish is a bit of a misnomer. I'm not going to deny the fact that sushi and raw fish are frequently found together but the word "sushi" actually refers to the vinegared rice rather than the filling/topping that goes with it. That being the case, there are plenty of non-fish related fillings out there to be enjoyed. My personal favourite on the home-made sushi front is ham and mustard. The slight saltiness of the ham and the kick of the mustard (I use English) compliments the seasoned rice perfectly. Of course, there are endless possibilities, I've used carrots and cucumber for vegetarian options, tuna-mayo-wasabi and a quick trawl of the internet will give you yet more filling ideas.

Sushi is also really easy to make. You need the right rice which is becoming more widely available in supermarkets (I know Sainsburys, Tesco and Morrisons all sell it). I cook mine following the guidelines on Cooking Cute and it seems to work perfectly every time. I don't have a rice cooker so I just use a saucepan with a lid. Next I use pre-made sushi vinegar (I got mine from Sainsburys) on the hot rice and cut it in using a large spoon (while simultaneously fanning it with a spatula - if I haven't got a helper) until it is shiny and well coated. I don't tend to measure, I just do it by eye and it seems fine.

Rolling sushi is the fun part (obviously, this is only the case with maki rolls). I think it'd be easier to explain with photos and a tutorial so next time I make some, I'll try and remember to take step-by-step photos. Basically, you spread and press the cooled rice onto a nori sheet (leaving a gap at either end). Next, you line up the filling lengthways on the rice and then roll. I don't use a mat to roll, I tend to either just manage without or use a tea towel to keep it dry and clean.

I serve my sushi rolls with wasabi and sweet chilli sauce and sometimes include soy sauce or another dipping sauce (usually bought from China Town in Newcastle). It's very good for you (maybe not so much with the sweet chilli or mayo) and very moreish. I'd happily stick a few in a lunch box as something a bit more interesting than sandwiches.


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