I love sushi. I do. I do. I do.
I had my first taste of sushi on my first trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. I’ve been pretty much hooked ever since.
I love the way the wasabi burn starts in the back of my sinuses and then rushes to the back of my head and makes me feel like my brain is melting. I know that sounds odd, but as a chilehead I freaking love it.
It’s a total rush for me. I might not like sushi as much if I couldn’t put wasabi on my sushi. Chileheads love their burn!
When the craving for sushi strikes I head into my kitchen and if I’m lucky I have most of the staples on hand. This isn’t a sophisticated sushi recipe. Sushi chefs would take great exception to me calling this sushi. And rightly so!
My easy sushi is more akin to supermarket sushi. It is and I’m totally OK with that. This is strictly a satisfy a craving deal-e-o when the real deal isn’t available.
Sushi doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact it can be down right easy. This is what I call Easy Sushi. And I think it’s pretty darn easy, if I do say so myself!
First up is cooking the easy sushi rice.
I can buy sushi rice at my grocery store, it’s a short grain rice. I wash the sushi rice until the water runs clear, then I drain the rice and allow it to sit for at least an hour to dry out again. When I’m ready to cook my sushi rice, I place it in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and added 2 1/2 cups of water.
I bring the sushi rice to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low and leave to cook undisturbed for 20 minutes. When the time is up, remove from heat, take off the lid and cover the pot with a clean tea towel. Leave the rice to rest like this for about 10-12 minutes.
You can make your own seasoned rice vinegar to dress your cooked sushi rice with, but for the sake of saving some time, I use a bottle of store-bought most of the time. I use several tablespoons to start and taste as I go. If I think the rice needs more, I slowly add some until I think it’s hit the right spot for my tastes.
Normally I would put the cooked sushi rice in a large shallow wooden salad bowl to gently paddle the seasoned rice vinegar into it. I couldn’t find mine so I used a stainless steel Thali instead. It’s a large East Indian serving platter. I know, sushi purists are screaming right now. But hey, you have to use what you have and since I’m really great at misplacing kitchen items (read into this the fact that I own way too many and am awesome at forgetting exactly where I’ve left some of them hiding)
The sushi rice takes on a glossy shine when it is done. When the rice is completely cooled it’s ready to use.
I like to use different ingredients for my sushi, what I end up using depends on what I have on hand that day. Shrimp, crab or tuna are always great choices for me. I love avocado, English cucumber, carrot, toasted sesame seeds and Japanese wasabi too!
Today I used imitation crab, avocado, carrot, English cucumber, sesame seeds and wasabi in my easy sushi. Though I did end up having to leave out the avocado. It was ripe, but when I cut into it, it was hard and very non-ripe avocado on the inside. The flesh was starting to discolour like and overly ripe one, but this thing was harrrddddddd. Made me sad, I love avocado, like seriously loooveeeee. I think I bought a mutant alien avocado. I’ve never seen one do that before.
Grab a sheet of Nori, lay it on your rolling mat, spread sushi rice across the sheet leaving an inch free at the top, you’ll be putting some seasoned rice vinegar on this rice free strip to seal the sushi roll after you’ve rolled it up completely. I spread a thin line of wasabi along the rice, where I’ll be laying my ingredients down, then start placing my ingredients. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the rice before adding your other fillings.
I like to squeeze the roll as I go, to help compact everything down a bit, just before I get to the top of the Nori sheet, I dip my fingers into my seasoned rice vinegar bowl and spread some lightly on the rice free edge. Roll all the way to the top and give a firm squeeze.
Coat a knife with seasoned rice vinegar and cut your sushi roll into small bite sized pieces, how thick is up to you.
Plate up and serve with a good quality soy sauce for dipping and wasabi on the side. I was actually out of soy sauce when I made this batch of easy sushi, I know, the horror. I did happen to have a bottle of Ponzu sauce and substituted this for the soy sauce. Ponzu is a citrus based dipping sauce that has soy sauce as part of its base. It made a great substitution for the soy sauce I would normally use.
And there you have it, my version of easy sushi. It’s really uncomplicated, the only thing I ever moan about is all the sushi rice that I end up getting stuck everywhere when I’m spreading. One second you’re spreading sushi rice like a semi-pro, then the next you’ve got more sushi rice glued to you than on your sheet of Nori! But it’s worth it!
- 1 lb sushi rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 6-8 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- english cucumber
- toasted sesame seeds
- Cook your sushi rice following the method above.
- Season your sushi rice using your rice vinegar.
- Paddle your rice and fan to help cool it down.
- When sushi rice is cooled completely it is ready to use.
- Spread sushi rice over sheets of Nori, dip your fingers in rice vinegar if it becomes too sticky.
- Leave a 1 inch gap at the top of the Nori sheet.
- Place some wasabi along the lower half of your sheet, where you will place your fillings.
- Place your selected fillings on top of wasabi and begin to roll.
- When you reach the top, moisten the 1 inch strip you left bare with rice vinegar to help seal the roll.
- Dip a knife in some water or rice vinegar and cut sushi into rounds.
- Serve with soy sauce and extra wasabi.