There comes a time in every man's (or woman's) life where they must learn to roll their own. You can't always go around asking other people to roll for you. Along the way your bound to have some spillages and deal with some stickiness. But at some point, you just gotta step up and go for it. So last week I decided it was essential that I attempt to roll my own sushi. This endeavor started with a trip to the Fubonn Super Market on 82nd Ave in SE Portland (2850 SE 82nd Ave). If you live in Portland and have never been to the Fubonn market, I recommend you go. This place has everything you need and tons of stuff that you will probably never need and think are strange. I was in a rush because SOMEBODY was rushing me to take them to yoga, so I was unable to fully embrace Fubonn. It was my first time and I could have frolicked in the pickled vegetable isle or bathed myself in chili sauce, but alas there was no time for those shenanigans. There was enough time to get the supplies I needed for vegetable sushi though. I got nori (the seaweed wrap), short rice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, wasabi powder, pickled ginger, the bamboo roller mechanism, and some other odds and ends depicted here. I will definitely be returning to Fubonn in the near future for another experiment.
So, once I had the proper supplies, the next step was getting in there and getting my hands dirty. The first step was going to be coming up with some delicious sticky rice. I always thought that this was extremely difficult for some reason. Well, I was wrong. It's very easy to make good sticky, sushi rice. I just followed Alton Brown's recipe from the Food Network. If you are a complete noob to the cooking world, The Food Network has an extensive database of recipes online. You can pretty much learn anything there and get any recipes you may need. I constantly check their database for recipes or if I want to try something new. You can also look on Youtube for cooking tips. I actually watched this clip from Alton Brown's show Good Eats about sushi making to get a little more information on what to do. While my rice was cooking I took out a cucumber, avocado, carrots, jalapeno, and asparagus. I sliced everything into very thin strips, except for the asparagus, which I left whole.
Once your rice cools, pull out a piece of nori. Some tips that I got off of the internet suggested cutting the nori in half. We tried that and it made it too difficult to roll the sushi. I'd say until you are an expert, roll with the whole piece of nori. Your sushi will come out much better. I started by using my hands to apply the rice. This ended up being a very sticky proposition. On later rolls, I realized it was better to use a small spoon to apply the rice to the nori. This takes a little while longer but your hands won't be nearly as sticky.
Something I found important was not to put too much rice on. I would recommend being able to see through to the nori in some spots. If you put too much rice on it will be difficult to roll the sushi. You also want space for your insides. I know, when you go to the sushi bar, you see the sushi chef really piling it on there. Well, I wouldn't suggest doing that unless you want to encounter an epic failure.
See how the rice is somewhat thinly applied, yet covers most of the surface of the nori? I found this to be the most successful approach. Once the rice is applied you can put in your vegetables. Once again, I would not overload this until you really get the hang of it or it will look like the death of a sushi roll. This happened on my first roll. I ended up eating it like a broken cigar. Also, I would put the veggies or fish towards the side you plan to start rolling from. That way, the insides will get tucked into the roll at the beginning.
Rolling it is pretty self explanatory. See how when I placed the veggies near one side the rolled up nicely into a pocket before finishing the roll? That's good and will give you success.
Once your roll is done you can slice it up. I did not have a sharp knife. This is recommended. You can use a steak knife, but a sharp sushi knife is likely better. Once you are done plating the sushi, dip it into some soy sauce and enjoy. We also got some wasabi powder and pickled ginger. On this first attempt, I decided to stay away from fish. I did not want to get a nice cut of fish and then waste it if I was unable to make good sushi. Next time I want to try using sashimi grade tuna, shrimp, and maybe even teriyaki chicken. It was a successful experiment. Once you get all of the ingredients you can make a fresh, cheap snack any time you want. It is also pretty healthy, other than the calories from the rice. Well, until next time, go learn to roll your own.
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