My "Too Cute"s

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's all about Sushi

If you had asked me a year ago if I liked sushi, I'd have straight out answered, "No!" followed by an "Eeuuw! I think sushi is an acquired taste," and I'm the type of person who'd give it a try before coming to a conclusion whether I like something or not. And that was based on eating sushi some time back. But if you ask me again today, I'd answer, "Yes!" Somehow, over the months, I have acquired the taste for sushi. It all started with my friend Mums, (pronounced Mooms), who made me sushi when I went visiting. It wasn't the typical sushi, so I ate some. My friend sorta tempura-ed her crabstick and carrot stick before rolling them up. Then my friend Yap brought back some sushi she bought from Carrefour. And then I went to another friend's house for berbuka and she made sushi and some Korean dishes. Then Yap gave me some homemade sushi, and suddenly I was craving to eat sushi. I started buying my own sushi and had spent a small fortune; so I decided to learn to make my own.

I called my friends up and to start off, I bought Japanese short grained sticky rice, wasabi, and seaweed/nori, Japanese mayonaise, and Japanese rice vinegar. For the filling, since I'm new at this plus we don't have a Japanese specialty shop here, I made do with Japanese cucumber, carrot sticks, crabstick, and fried omelette. Yap did a combo with tuna and Japanese cucumber.

According to my friend you can cook the rice as you normally would in a rice cooker but add extra water. Actually there are instructions on how to cook the rice on the back of the packet. So cook 1 cup of Japanese rice. When it's cooked, in a bowl put in 4 tsps of rice vinegar, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar. Stir and add to hot rice; mix well.

Usually you don't spread hot rice on the seaweed or it'll melt, and always wet your hands when dealing with the sticky rice or the rice will stick to your hands/ fingers.

Okay, now on a sushi mat/ cling wrap, place a sheet of nori, shiny side down. First time I did it, I didn't have a mat yet, so I just used a cling wrap - okay laa. But you can also use aluminium foil.

Lightly press rice on bottom two thirds of nori, and then squeeze the Japanese mayonaise along the bottom edge of the nori on the rice. Put your preferred filling such as cucumber strips on top of the mayonaise, and if you like it hot, finish with a few drops of wasabi. My friend Yap uses crab sticks (which she bakes in the oven for a few minutes), egg omellette, and hot and spicy Ayam brand tuna as filling for her sushi.

Then using the mat, roll up sushi tightly, moistening the edges to seal and let rest.

Cut sushi with a sharp knife and arrange on a platter. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce. Usually, it's Kikkoman soy sauce.

For the uninitiated, here below is some info on different types of sushi. By the way, according to my sis, if you have thyroid problems, you shouldn't eat sushi b'coz seaweed has a very high content of iodine.

Types of sushi

The common ingredient in all the different kinds of sushi is sushi rice. Variety arises in the choice of the fillings and toppings, the other condiments, and in the manner they are put together. The same ingredients may be assembled in various different ways:

* Nigiri-zushi (hand-formed sushi). Arguably the most typical form of sushi at restaurants, it consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice which is pressed between the palms of the hands, with a speck of wasabi and a thin slice of a topping (neta) draped over it, possibly tied up with a thin band of nori. Assembling nigirizushi is surprisingly difficult to do well. It is sometimes called Edomaezushi, which reflects its origins in Edo (present-day Tokyo) in the 18th century. It is often served two to an order.

* Gunkan-maki (軍艦巻 - warship roll). An oval, hand-formed clump of sushi rice (similar to that of nigiri-zushi) has a strip of nori wrapped around its perimeter to form a vessel that is filled with some ingredient that requires the confinement of the nori, for example, roe, natto, or less conventionally, macaroni salad. The gunkanmaki was invented at Kyubei restaurant (est. 1932) in Ginza.

* Makizushi (rolled sushi). A cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat, called a makisu. Makizushi is generally wrapped in nori, a sheet of dried seaweed that encloses the rice and fillings, but can occasionally be found wrapped in a thin omelette.[1] Makizushi is usually cut into six or eight pieces, which constitute an order.

* Futomaki (large rolls). A large cylindrical piece, with the nori on the outside. Typical futomaki are two or three centimeters thick and four or five centimeters wide. They are often made with two or three fillings, chosen for their complementary taste and color. During the Setsubun festival, it is traditional in Kansai to eat the uncut futomaki in its cylindrical form.

* Hosomaki (thin rolls). A small cylindrical piece, with the nori on the outside. Typical hosomaki are about two centimeters thick and two centimeters wide. They are generally made with only one filling.

* Kappamaki, a kind of hosomaki filled with cucumber, is named after the Japanese legendary water imp fond of cucumbers, the kappa.

* Tekkamaki is a kind of hosomaki filled with tuna. The "tekka" (鉄火) means "gambling" as they were often eaten while gambling.

* Uramaki (inside-out rolls). A medium-sized cylindrical piece, with two or more fillings. Uramaki differ from other maki because the rice is on the outside and the nori within. The filling is in the center surrounded by a liner of nori, then a layer of rice, and an outer coating of some other ingredient such as roe or toasted sesame seeds. Typically thought of as an invention to suit the American palate[2], uramaki is not commonly seen in Japan. The California roll is a popular form of uramaki. The increased popularity of sushi in North America, as well as around the world, has resulted in numerous different kinds of uramaki and regional off-shoots being created. Regional types include the B.C. roll (salmon) and Philadelphia roll (cream cheese).

+ The dynamite roll includes prawn tempura.

+ The rainbow roll features sashimi layered outside the rice.

+ The spider roll includes fried soft-shell crab.

+ Other rolls include scallops, spicy tuna, beef or chicken teriyaki, okra, vegetarian, and cheese.

Brown rice and black rice rolls have also appeared.

* Gimbap, a Korean dish, is similar to makizushi. It was adapted into a Korean dish sometime during colonial rule.[3]

* Temaki (hand rolls). A large cone-shaped piece, with the nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about ten centimeters long, and is eaten with the fingers since it is too awkward to pick up with chopsticks.

* Oshizushi (pressed sushi). A block-shaped piece formed using a wooden mold, called an oshibako. The chef lines the bottom of the oshibako with the topping, covers it with sushi rice, and presses the lid of the mold down to create a compact, rectilinear block. The block is removed from the mold and cut into bite-sized pieces.

* Inari-zushi (stuffed sushi). A pouch of fried tofu filled usually with just sushi rice. It is named after the Shinto god Inari, whose messenger, the fox, is believed to have a fondness for fried tofu. The pouch is normally fashioned from deep-fried tofu (油揚げ or abura age). Regional variations include pouches made of a thin omelet (帛紗寿司 or ukusazushi) or dried gourd shavings (干瓢 or kanpyo).

* Chirashizushi (scattered sushi). A bowl of sushi rice with the other ingredients mixed in. Also referred to as barazushi.o Edomae chirashizushi (Edo-style scattered sushi) Uncooked ingredients artfully arranged on top of the rice in the bowl.o Gomokuzushi (Kansai-style sushi). Cooked or uncooked ingredients mixed in the body of the rice in the bowl.

* Narezushi is an older form of sushi. Skinned and gutted fish are stuffed with salt then placed in a wooden barrel, doused with salt again, and weighed down with a heavy tsukemonoishi (pickling stone). They are salted for ten days to a month, then placed in water for 15 minutes to an hour. They are then placed in another barrel, sandwiched, and layered with cooled steamed rice and fish. Then this mixture is again partially sealed with otosibuta and a pickling stone. As days pass, water seeps out, which must be removed. Six months later, this funazush can be eaten, and it remains edible for another six months or more.

For sushi recipes, do visit these sites:

The above site has step by step pictures.

So far, I can't bring myself to eat the raw stuff yet but the cooked toppings, and fillings, I'm okay with.


halwafy said...

Thanks for this entry. I've always loved to eat japanese food and always ate at Japanese restaurants when I was back in KL (my fav one is the one in KLCC a few doors away from genki sushi) but never really felt like I wanted to try making japanese food.

Now I'm thinking maybe I shld try - because you've given the instructions for sushis :). At the moment I'm practising chapatis so next (or soon insh) it will be sushis :)

jujuqtpie said...

Turns out it's not that hard making sushi, the tricky part is the rice actually. My friend Yap just told me yesterday that if you can't find Japanese rice vinegar, you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar and it's actually much nicer. And leafing through a homemade sushi recipe book, i turns out you don't necessarily have to use seaweed at all. Since my hubby can't stand the smell of the sushis with seaweed, I'll try to do the the tofu pouch type when I have the time.
I mentioned my friend, Mums, tempura-ed her crab sticks and carrot sticks and stuff, and this is what she used for tempura flour mixture, Sing Long brand tepung serbaguna (multipurpose flour, also good if you want to make lemon chicken or plum sauce chicken), mixed with a lil cooking oil and some cornflour and the trick is icy cold water so that the mixture won't be lumpy. My brinjal tempura turned out very nicely. Haha that was the only vege I had in my fridge that day. But although I now make my own, I still buy sushi from the local Japanese restaurants here to get ideas and when I want to eat toppings or fillings I can't find at supermarkets you know like fish roe, or octopus/ is it sotong biasa(coz we don't have Jaya Jusco here). So try laa.