My husband had tried to make sushi a few years ago without success. So when this month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge was sushi he was excited about the opportunity to learn how to make it. The practice run on Wednesday night was a success (and an awesome dinner!), so he decided on three different kinds for the party– root vegetables (beet root and sweet potatoes), spice-rubbed steak nigiri, and teriyaki chicken.
For all you cooks who are intimidated by making sushi–don’t be. My husband says the secret is in the rice. Just follow this recipe and you should be fine. Once you get the hang of it, sushi can be a cost effective, simple meal (you can freeze large batches of rice and use alternatives to sushi grade fish like slightly cooked fish, chicken, tofu, shrimp or event vegetables like sweet potatoes).
Serves: 3 people (6 rolls)
Prep time: 1 hour (part of this time is waiting)
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 people (4 rolls)
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
For the rice:
1 cup short grain rice (don’t use Arborio/risotto rice)
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Teaspoons sugar
For the teriyaki chicken:
½ Teaspoon salt
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Sake or Mirin (sweet Japanese wine), (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
2 chicken breasts, cooked
To prepare the rice, rinse it under cold water until the water is mostly clear. Place it in a sieve and let drain for 30 minutes. Then put the rice into a heavy bottomed pot, cover with 1 cup of cold water and let soak for 30 minutes.
To cook the rice, bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once it begins to bubble, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting. (Tip: keep the lid off so it’s easier to see when it starts to bubble.) Then wrap the inside of the pot lid with tin foil to seal in the steam while cooking. Cover the pot and let cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit an additional 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid, even to have a peak! The rice will continue to cook during this time.
To make the rice dressing, mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot while the rice is cooking. Heat over medium high heat until the sugar melts. Then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
To finish the rice, empty the rice into a deep glass baking dish. DO NOT use a metal pan as it will react with the vinegar. Slowly pour the vinegar dressing over the rice. Use a wooden spatula to break up the rice with a cutting action (be careful not to crush the rice granules). Then scoop the rice and turn it over continually until there is no more visible steam. If you can, use a small fan to blow cold air onto the rice to speed up the cooling process. It also helps create a better flavor, texture and glossy sheen.
To store the rice, let sit under a warm, damp towel at room temperature for a few hours, or freeze and use another day by warming in a microwave).
TERIYAKI CHICKEN SUSHI FILLING
This is an economical alternative to traditional sushi filling. It’s delicious when paired with avocado!
To make the teriyaki sauce, mix everything but the chicken in a small pot. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the garlic mellows, about 5-6 minutes.
To prepare the chicken, bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until done. To put it together, use two forks to shred the chicken in a large bowl, then add the teriyaki glaze. Mix well and use immediately.
MAKING THE SUSHI
To prepare the sushi, place seaweed sheet shiny side down on a bamboo sushi rolling mat. Spread the sushi rice sparsely over the seawood sheet, leaving about 1 inch the far end completely bare. Make sure to spread it thin enough that you can still see seaweed in places. Add your fillings of choice in a line about 1½ inches from the end closest to you. (Note: this is the end that has the rice right up to the edge.) DO NOT over fill–less is more.
To roll the sushi, start from the end closest to you. (Reminder: this is the end that has the rice right up to the edge.) Make sure to roll the sushi nice and compact. (Practice makes perfect when trying to roll the perfect sushi. Keep trying and you’ll get it!)