About a week or two ago, my favorite sushi restaurant closed out of the blue. I loved going there and now I have to find a new sushi spot, which is really not something I want to do all over again. I’ve had this nifty contraption sitting in my pantry for almost 2 years now, unopened in its box. I got it at a home trade show and it’s basically just a home sushi maker for those of us with no experience using a traditional sushi roller. Here it is:So here I am with this new thing, dying to use it to fill the sushi void in my heart (and stomach, obviously). It’s really difficult to get sushi-grade fish, since fish isn’t naturally safe for us to eat raw. Basically, it has to be frozen to a certain temperature to kill the parasites in it, and that temperature is hard to get from your regular home freezer, so it’s not guaranteed to be safe if you were to just buy some salmon from the grocery store and freeze it yourself. To get around this, I decided to use (cooked) shrimp in my sushi roll and I had an adventure of making sushi for the first time!
What You’ll Need:
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
6-8 shrimp, depending on size
1 1/2 cups white rice
dried seaweed (AKA nori)
2 T mayonnaise (optional)
1 t wasabi (optional)
I started this by cooking my rice since I knew that would be my biggest challenge. I used a rice cooker and pretty much ended up cooking the rice like I normally would, and then adding about 1 1/2 cups of water when it was done and steaming it until it all absorbed. The rice has to be super sticky for this to work and stay together, and this was they best way I could do it with what I had. I saw a few recipes that mentioned using rice vinegar and sugar, but since I didn’t have the vinegar I had to improvise. It ended up sticky enough and I was able to make it work! Next, I boiled my shrimp. I bought them frozen with the tails on, and they were on the smaller side. I ran about 8 of them under some water to start defrosting them and threw them into a small pot with boiling water for about 2 minutes, until they turned nice and pink. Once they cooled enough for me to touch them, I popped the tails off and put them in a bowl in the fridge to cool before building the sushi roll.
After the cooking was done, I started chopping my vegetables. I only used half of a cucumber, and I peeled it, cut it in half lengthwise, and scooped out the seeds before chopping it. I pretty much had to get it into long, thin pieces, so I ended up quartering it and just cutting those pieces in half over and over until I liked the shape and size I ended up with. I did pretty much the same with the avocado, cutting it in half and peeling off the skin before cutting it into the closest shape to a rectangle I could get. I bought a block of cream cheese rather than scooping it from a tub because I thought it would be easier to just cut it off the block into the rectangular shape I wanted, and it was totally worth it. I didn’t end up using much, but there’s nothing wrong with having some leftover cream cheese to put on your bagel in the morning.
Now that I had everything prepared, it was time for the real challenge: building the roll.
The sushi maker I had made this much more simple for an amateur like me. I lined it with saran wrap, packed in the rice, and lined it with dried seaweed. I added the cream cheese first, then the cucumbers around it. On top of that I added the shrimp, which I chopped into thirds to give it a rectangular shape, and the avocado. After I packed it all in and felt like it was as good as it was going to get, I started closing it up. I don’t think I completely have the hang of how this thing works, but I basically closed it by pulling it as close together as I could using the saran wrap and using more seaweed to hold the two sides together. I added more rice on top to cover it all and packed it all in with the handy little compressor that comes with the sushi maker. I used a nice, sharp knife to cut the sushi into pieces along the lines in the sushi maker, and unwrapped the saran wrap from each piece as I put it onto the plate. This recipe made enough for two nine-piece rolls, which was enough for me to eat for dinner!
As an optional addition, I also made a wasabi mayonnaise to top off the sushi roll. It was super easy to do, and I just mixed it together in a small glass container before transferring it to a sandwich bag. The only reason I bothered with the bag was to use it as a makeshift piping bag, so I could snip off the corner and add it on top of the roll! It was really good and not too spicy, so I didn’t make my nose burn, which is always a plus. To me, it was the perfect touch. I served it with some soy sauce and had a great little meal!