This is a guest post written by my sister Christina (http://www.myspace.com/pianistsdaughter), who lives in Montreal and – like us – is always on the hunt for a good bite to eat! In this post, she shares a quick and relatively inexpensive recipe for temaki (hand roll) sushi. Enjoy! Thanks Christina!
Montreal has a lot of great things, but it does not have good sushi at all. It’s either ridiculously priced for decent quality, or reasonably priced for garbage. After a recent trip to San Francisco, I vowed to stop paying ridiculous prices for such crappy sushi back home.
My recipe for 15 minute sushi is meant to be a compromise between freshness and preparation time. Coming home after a long day of work with an empty stomach and a craving for sushi means not having to spend hours preparing a meal. Fresh fish tastes better than frozen fish, but not everyone has a fish market that sells sushi-grade fish in their neighborhood. On the other hand, thawed fish that was frozen when it was still fresh will taste better than old fish (which unfortunately I’ve been served at many sushi restaurants here). Another time saving advantage I’ve discovered by eating hand rolls (temakizushi) instead of attempting to roll my own maki is that the nori stays crispier longer–a really nice texture that remained unappreciated before!
I can’t find any other good fish in my neighbourhood, so normally I buy fresh salmon when it’s on sale. Wash the salmon thoroughly in cold water, then remove the skin with a small sharp knife starting at one corner of the filet.
To make spicy salmon, thaw your salmon and pat it dry with paper towels. You can cut the cubes into smaller pieces if you wish. Add Japanese mayonnaise and Sriracha hot chili sauce to taste.
Most grocery stores now have a small sushi section or oriental section that where you can find tempura batter/frying mix–all you need to do is add water. Add enough tempura mix to cold water to obtain a consistency that resembles liquid white glue. Don’t make the batter too thick–this will result in clumps of heavy batter instead of airy, light tempura bits.
If you don’t have a deep fryer (like me), heat a small pan with of 2-3 cm of canola oil on medium-high heat. The oil is at the correct temperature when the batter “boils” on contact with the oil, but too hot when the oil smokes. Drop bits of tempura batter in the oil with a fork and let them cook for a few minutes until light brown. Drain on paper towels.
Alternatively, you can prepare your tempura bits in advance by frying a big batch and freezing it. Reheat a portion in the oven until the tempura is crispy and hot again. A little trick: use the broil setting on medium so that you don’t have to heat up the entire oven. It only takes a few minutes to reheat the pre-cooked tempura bits this way.
This sushi rice recipe was adapted from this video: http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-make-sushi-rice.Their recipe has been downscaled to make enough rice for two people plus leftovers.
1 cup rice
1 1/8 cup hot water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp powdered dashi (Japanese soup stock)
Rinse short-grain white rice (e.g. Calrose rice) in water, then add HOT water (adding hot water will cut the cooking time in half). Depending on your rice cooker or your method of cooking rice, you may have to slightly adjust the amount of water you use. Be careful with the amount of water you add though–too much water will end up in soggy rice, and this is the worst thing for sushi!!! You want the grains to be firm but tender. If you don’t have a rice cooker (or if you’re only cooking for one), you can cook the rice in a small pot over very low heat. To speed up the process, heat the pot on max until the water boils and then turn down to low and cook with a lid over the pot.
In a non-metal bowl (metal will react with the vinegar, resulting in a bad taste), combine the vinegar, sugar, and dashi. Add the rice and mix with a wooden spoon. Leave to cool at room temperature (never in the fridge!). Spread the rice out on a plate for faster cooling.
All that’s left is the avocado! With a knife, cut the avocado in half lengthwise. With each half, score lengthwise into slices and scoop out the pieces with a spoon.
ASSEMBLING a Hand Roll:
Cut the nori (roasted seaweed sheets) in half. Spread a thin layer of rice onto one end of the 1/2 sheet, the size of a square. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and add tempura bits, avocado, and salmon along the diagonal.
With this simple recipe, I get to satisfy my sushi craving without having to pay exorbitant amounts of money and running the risk of eating stale, smelly fish. Of course, this simple recipe can’t even begin to replace the amazing things we’ve tasted in Tokyo, Vancouver and San Fransisco, but it sure beats the garbage we have to chose from at home!
A COUPLE of NOTES:
- ¼ -1/2 cup of rice is usually enough for one hungry person, so adjust the recipe according to how many people are eating. The less rice you need, the less time it will take to cook. I’ve found that leftover sushi rice can be kept in the fridge for up to several days and reused. Sprinkle a little bit of water on the rice to re-steam the rice slightly, microwave until the rice is hot, and leave to cool again. It’s not as good as fresh rice but it’s fast and effective when you’re in a rush.
- If you’re able to get your hands on it at your local Japanese/Korean food mart, buy frozen Unagi (grilled fresh water eel) and Tobiko (flying fish roe) or Masago (capelin roe).
- Here’s my strategy to minimize my prep time:
- - Begin cooking the rice
- - While the rice is cooking, defrost the salmon, unagi, and tobiko
- - While the fish is defrosting, deep-fry some tempura bits (or re-heat them in the oven)
- - Prepare the sushi rice
- - Prepare the salmon and avocado
- - Enjoy!
- I’ve got preparation time down to 15 min for two people, but in general, the more people you need to prepare for, the longer the prep time will take. If you have leftovers of both tempura and rice, the prep time is only limited by how long it takes to defrost the frozen fish.
- Always buy in bulk! You can save money by buying the rice, nori, sushi vinegar, and tempura mix in bulk.