Friday night in my household means one thing: Sushi at our local sushi joint. Well, quasi-local....it's kind of a chain. But they have great rolls at the best prices. We love to pull up a seat at the sushi bar and watch the chefs work their magic, while hopefully catching a game on their TVs. However, the service there is less than stellar; wait forever to get a drink refill, wait an eternity for the server to pick up the tab from the sushi chef, another lifetime for them to bring us the check, what feels like hours for them to come get the check from us, and then just when you are in the home strech and only need to sign the bill...WHERE is the waiter?
Why can't we just get some good sushi without the hours wait just to pay them for the food? We have semi-resolved this by sitting at the regular bar or just ordering food to go. This Friday night I opted to go an entirely different route: I attempted homemade sushi.
I also learned that there are A LOT of different kinds of rice out there and jasmine rice is not the same as sushi rice. And there is not a single bag of rice labeled "sushi rice" at any market around me, including the Asian grocery store. (For the record any short grain rice, such as sweet rice, will do.)
Spicy Tuna Rolls
*Note: You will need a bamboo mat for this. I picked one up at my local Asian market for about a $1.25.
Ingredients for the rolls
3/4 lb. ahi tuna
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
2 sheets nori (dried seaweed)
1 tablespoon chili past
3 tablespoons mayo
Ingredients for the rice (courtesy of Alton Brown)
3 cups sushi rice, uncooked
3 cups water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
To make the rice:
(Alton Brown has a great video demonstrating how to make sushi rice.)
First, rinse the rice in cool water several times, until the water is clear.
Combine rice and water in a large pot and bring to a boil, uncovered. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let cook, with the lid on, for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, leave the lid on and turn the heat off. Lets sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave for 30 seconds to help the vinegar absorb some of the sugar and salt. (Note: It will not absorb all of the sugar and salt.)
Transfer rice from cooking pot to a large wooden or glass bowl (I used plastic as I don't have either a glass or wooden bowl. Don't use a metal bowl!). Pour the vinegar, salt and sugar over the top of the rice and cut and fold the rice with a serving spoon. You want to coat all grains of rice with the vinegar mixture, while also cooling the rice down.
Continue stirring the rice or use a paper plate to fan it, bringing the rice to room temperature.
For the rolls:
In a small bowl, mix together the mayo and chili paste. (Omit if you just want regular tuna, instead of spicy tuna rolls.) Set aside.
Unroll the bamboo mat so it is flat. Spread rice on the mat and cover with 1/2 a sheet of nori. You can also lay the nori down first and spread the rice on top. Either way is fine: do you like your rolls with rice out, or seaweed out?
See the rice under the nori?
Once you've spread the rice out and covered with nori, lay a piece of tuna down the middle. Add pieces in one layer until they make a line from top to bottom on the nori. Spread a layer of chili paste/mayo on top of the fish. Top with slices of avocado and cucumber.
Using the bamboo mat, gently roll the sushi together. (I found I needed to add some rice along the seam to make sure the roll did not unfold.) Gently squeeze the sushi through the mat once it is rolled up.
To cut, dip your finger tips and the knife blade in water. This helps prevent the rice from sticking.
Serve with wasabi, soy sauce and lightly salted edamame (soy beans).