Spring has arrived. The weather has been great here the last few days – I find sunshine and nice weather – just instantly puts you in a good mood. I was excited today to see some of my perennials beginning to poke through..tulips are coming up – and buds are on the trees! If you live in Alberta, as I do – this is an exciting time of year, when we finally have a much deserved break from cold weather..and dreary winter.
Things have been busy for me around here, finishing off my real estate license, I will be so happy when my exams are all finished…cooking is a nice little stress break for me from studying.
We live in a remote area in Northern Alberta, and sadly I have to wait till I go to visit the city most times to enjoy sushi. To hold me off until my next “big city visit” I often make these Maki Rolls at home.
If you are intimidated by the thought of making these, don’t be – if you can make rice, and a sandwich wrap – you can do this. The most important part is to prep all your ingredients in advance – make yourself a little workstation…and really it is pretty simple. You can also be as creative as you like when it comes to ingredients. I can’t get sushi grade fresh fish where I live – so I usually use smoked salmon, crab (just the pollock “mock crab”) or cooked shrimp..or I also sometimes just do a vegetarian roll.
This isn’t an exact recipe (per say) but the general instructions.
First thing you need to do is make some sushi rice.
I used 2 cups (uncooked rice) with 3 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt in my rice cooker. The type of rice you use is important – you need a short grain rice (most grocery stores have them even labelled sushi rice) – I have even used arborio if you can’t find it (a short grain italian rice used for risotto). I have also tryed a to use a brown short grain rice (since it is healthier), although the taste is good I find it doesn’t stick as easy (tends to fall apart) – I have mixed half and half and that works well, but you have to make two batches of rice to do that.
Just follow the directions and once the rice is cooked toss it with a bit of rice vinegar, sugar and salt and let it cool so it is easier to handle. Now as for the measurements on this – I have seen recipes online that call for crazy amounts of sugar added to your vinegar…which I think would just taste way to sweet, so I do this by taste. for this amount of rice I used approx 1/4 cup of vinegar, mixed with about a tbsp of sugar and a tsp of salt – this is how I like my sushi rice (feel free to find a recipe that you enjoy though).
Then prep the rest of your ingredients.
You need the following:
– Nori Sheets (Dried Seaweed)
– Cooked Sushi Rice (as per above)
– 1 avocado (cut into thin strips and sprinkle with lemon right away to prevent browning
– 1/2 thinly sliced english cucumber (cut into strips) – seeded
– Mock Crab (Pollock) or Smoked Salmon, cut up
Optional that I added in this time:
– thin strips of green onion
– cream cheese (OK totally inauthentic – but I love a this in my smoked salmon rolls)
On a sushi mat, place 1 sheet of Nori (shiny side down). Dip your hands in water so that the rice doesn’t stick to you. Carefully put a layer of rice, leaving a bit of room around all the sides (as shown in picture below)
Near the bottom of the rice layer, make a thin line of your filling ingredients. Carefully roll (tight). I usually roll with my hands and then use the sushi mat to ‘seal the deal’ once rolled (I find that easiest). Place filled rolls on a tray and cover with a dampened clean tea towel while you assemble the others.
Once done – slice with a sharp knife carefully into rolls. (You may have to clean and wet your knife a few times as the starch from the rice sticks to it making it harder to get a nice clean cut.
As an alternative to the usual wasabi, soy sauce mixture – here is a recipe for a spicy mayo that I just love with maki rolls. Although I still also love the kick of a good wasabi, you may enjoy this dip to mix it up a little. This would also be good, put right into your rolls (but I leave out because my kids don’t like spicy rolls)..hmm spicy tuna rolls (must try that next time with this sauce). Anyway, here is the recipe
Spicy Mayo Dip
– 1/2 Cup Mayo
– 2 Tbsp Srirachi Hot Chili Sauce
– 1/4 tsp sesame oil (be sure to store in the fridge once opened)
Mix together and walla!
I also love to serve my sushi with pickled ginger which you can buy at most grocery stores now.