Sushi is one of these things that seem really daunting to make at home. I was like this too until I tried one day and realised that it’s not actually that hard. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about the basic roll here, futomaki.
There are some kick-arse sushi chefs out there who make sushi you and I can only dream of mastering. I’m not saying we could have their job if we practise a little. I like acquiring new skills and learning how to make sushi has been very satisfying. It used to be this delicious and pretty thing I used to admire at Itsu and now I can now make it myself, which is awesome.
In case you are new to sushi making, I put together a little round-up of key ingredients at a glance. One thing to mention is do not be put off having a go if you don’t have a sushi mat, there are ways round it! You can either use one of those bamboo place mats (like my acid pink one in the photo) or even a regular tea towel folded thick and wrapped into a piece of cling film. In fact, even a regular sushi mat needs wrapping in cling film as it is a nightmare to keep clean otherwise.
I’ll also walk you through making your own pickled ginger, which is a must-have sushi condiment. You can obviously buy it ready-made if you prefer, but it is so easy to make at home and so much nicer (not to mention all the additives you are avoiding that way) that I recommend giving it a go. When you buy pickled ginger, you’ll notice that it is often pink. Ginger turns pink from vinegar if it’s young, but most commercially available ginger is mature ginger with an added food dye, unfortunately.
You can achieve the same effect by adding a touch of beetroot juice to your home made pickled ginger. It’s a bit difficult to gauge what is the right amount of beetroot to add so as you can see my ginger has gone a bit pink crazy. It still tastes delicious!
- 4-5 nori sheets
- 2 cups of sushi rice
- 1 red pepper, julienned
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 carrot, julienned
- a wedge of red cabbage, sliced thinly
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
- tamari (for GF version) or soy sauce
- pickled ginger (if not making your own)
- a medium knob of ginger
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar or maple syrup
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- a slice of beetroot (for colouring, optional)
- Start by rinsing sushi rise very thoroughly. You basically need to keep on rinsing it until water runs clear and then 2 more times, just to be sure:).
- Put rice into a pot with a see-through lid with 1 and ½ cup (360 ml) of water. Put the lid on the pot and cook the rice on medium-low heat until all the water has been absorbed. Once it has, take the pot off the heat, but keep the lid on and rest it covered for another 10 mins.
- While the rice is cooking, combine 4 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of soy sauce in a bowl. Mix until sugar has dissolved.
- Once the rice is ready, transfer it to a large pyrex dish or a clean tray so that it cools down really quickly. Trickle the vinegar mixture over it and gently fold it in with a wooden spatula/spoon making a cutting motion, like you would cut into a moussaka. Make sure you don’t mash the grains. Some people advocate fanning the rice after it has been seasoned to get a glossy texture – do that you if you like.
- STEP 1 Wrap your sushi mat (bamboo mat or folded kitchen towel) in a large piece of cling film. Put the mat down, put a nori sheet on top of the mat, shiny side up. Grab some rice with your hands and spread it evenly on the nori sheet leaving 1 cm margin at the very top. As well as spreading the rice evenly, keep on pressing it into the mat. Keep a bowl with water handy so that you can clean your fingers if they get too sticky.
- STEP 2 Stack vegetables at the bottom of the sheet. Be careful not to overfill the roll.
- STEP 3 Using the mat, slowly start rolling the roll squeezing it tightly with both hands as your roll. Go back every now and then to make sure everything is tightly bonded.
- STEP 4 Once you get to the end, dip your finger in water and brush the water on the margin to seal the roll. Finish rolling and set the roll aside. Repeat last 4 steps with the remaining nori sheets.
Once you’ve rolled all sushi rolls, cut them into 1 cm slices with a sharp knife.
- Peel the ginger and slice it widthwise (as opposed to legthwise) as thinly as possible. You can use a mandoline, a speed peeler or a sharp knife.
- Rub salt into ginger slices and put them in the fridge for about 1 hour.
- Just before ginger is ready to come out of the fridge, combine vinegar, 30 ml of water and sugar in a pot and slowly bring to boil.
- OPTIONAL: If you want to colour your ginger pink, you can add a slice of beetroot into the pickling liquid and remove them once the liquid cools down.
- Squeeze any excess moisture out of ginger and put it into a sterilised jar. Pour hot pickling liquid over the ginger. Let the liquid cool and put it into the fridge. It’s ready to eat the next day.