My children -- ages 29, 22 and 15 -- laugh at me when I tell them that when I was growing up there were no Mexican restaurants, no Japanese restaurants, no Indian cuisine, no Thai food places, and the only Chinese food I knew of was fried rice made in the back room of a local Chinese corner store.
I was well into adulthood when I tried sushi for the first time. Being a physician by trade, I refused (and still refuse) to eat the raw fish sushi, but I do enjoy the cooked sushi.
Having grown up in the middle of a cotton field, we learned early on to how cook things ourselves, and I desperately wanted to learn this new-fangled sushi and hibachi.
My children again laughed at me when I said I could make Japanese hibachi AND sushi at home. They stopped laughing when my second attempt was better than the pricy restaurant. (My first attempt was not so good!)I also make YumYum Sauce, but I eyeball it. My Indonesian godson showed me how it’s made, and he didn’t measure either.
When I make Japanese hibachi again, I will measure the ingredients for the YumYum Sauce and include it along with the hibachi instructions in another recipe article.
You will need seaweed sheets, they are sold at Wal-Mart or can ordered online. They are also called “nori.”
You will need the filling for the sushi. Cream cheese, celery, carrots, crab meat, shrimp, imitation crab sticks, etc.
You will need to make sushi rice. Make it as follows:
2 cups of hot, cooked rice (I actually use Minute Rice)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Mix vinegar, sugar and salt into hot rice. Double, triple or more as needed.
Lay out a piece of plastic wrap.
Place nori sheet onto plastic wrap.
Press a layer of sushi rice onto the sheet of seaweed.
With the long side on top and bottom and the short sides on the left and right, lay your thinly julienned vegetables in the center. Add in your strips of seafood. Add in any other fillings.
Using the plastic wrap, carefully roll the sushi. Roll it tightly! You want the two long sides to meet and the nori to slightly overlap.
Remove the plastic wrap and slice into pieces using a sharp serrated knife.
You can add toppings to this including caviar, crab meat, etc.
Serve with soy sauce, ginger sauce, eel sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger if desired.
When you get really good at this, you can try to put the rice first, then the nori, then the fillings. I have not gotten that good yet.
They also make bamboo sushi rolling mats, I don’t have one, but it’s on my “Steve, here’s my Christmas Wish List!” list.
We like the eel sauce that is served with sushi. Here’s how to make it at home:
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup sugar
½ cup sweet white wine (the small 6.3oz individual bottles of wine are perfect for this recipe - I usually use one small bottle of wine and double this recipe)
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons cold water
Mix the soy sauce, sugar and wine together. Cook until you have about ¾ cup left. Add in the cornstarch slurry if needed to thicken it further. Refrigerate any leftovers.