"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
In the rush of getting ready for Shabbat, it’s easy to forget to have a proper bite to eat and just snack intermittently. So it was a real treat when my brother put together a beautiful plate of sushi this past Friday.
You can also see Ming Tsai’s video on how to make perfect rice.
4 cups short-grain Japanese sushi rice
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet sake)
1/2 cup sugar
Place the rice in a bowl or rice cooker insert and add water to cover it generously. Swish the rice in the water in a single direction to rinse of residual starch. Drain the water, refill the bowl or insert, and swish again. Repeat until the water is clear. Do not rub the rice together with your hands because it could break the grains.
Drain the rice and if not using a rice cooker, place it in a medium saucepan fitted with a tight lid. If using a rice cooker, dry the outside of the insert and place in the cooker. Flatten the rice with a palm and without removing your hand, add water until it just touches the middle and highest knuckle of your hand (you may want to wash your hands first). This is the “Mt. Fuji” method. If using a rice cooker, turn it on and allow the rice to cook. In a saucepan, cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand, covered, to plump, for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, mirin, and sugar and heat over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes; do not allow the mixture to boil. Keep hot.
Invert the rice into a large stainless steel or wooden bowl. Don’t include any browned rice that may have formed at the bottom of the pan. Using a wood or rubber spatula, gently fold half of the vinegar mixture into the rice. Use a light, lifting motion to avoid mashing the rice. Taste; the rice should have a pleasingly sweet-acidic edge. If necessary, fold in more of the vinegar mixture.
Dampen a clean dish towel. With your hands, gently push the rice together to form a loose mound (spread out rice would become dry). Cover with the towel and allow the rice to rest for 20 minutes to deepen its flavor. The rice is now ready to use. If you can’t use it immediately, it will keep in a covered container in the fridge, but it’s best to use immediately.
1 recipe of Sushi Rice (above)
A combination of cucumbers, carrots, avocado, anything else you may want to add to your rolls, thinly sliced
Sheets of nori
A sushi roller
A sharp knife
A small bowl of water
On a flat surface, lay out the sushi roller and place a sheet of nori on it. Put a layer of rice on the bottom half of the nori, and place sliced vegetables (or whatever else you’re using) on the rice so they reach both sides in an even strip. You should only have about 1/2 as much sushi fillings as rice.
Slowly roll the sushi roller from the bottom of the rice edge, tucking the rolled nori tightly under as you roll, until completely rolled. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run your finger across the seam of the nori to seal it. Check the ends of the roll to make sure there’s rice filled right out to the end, and place seam-side down on a plate or dish for about 1 minute.
You can roll some more maki, or cut each roll as you go. Use a sharp knife and cut precisely. Don’t mash the roll.
Continue rolling until you run out of rice! You can keep the cut maki pieces in the fridge, but it’s best to eat them right away.