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Sushi

rice cooker or pot for rice
non-metallic tub for cooling the rice
a small enamel, glass, or stainless steel pan
a wooden spoon
something to fan the rice with (i use the honda accord brochure
i got from the dealership last month)
a cutting board
a *very* sharp knife
a bowl for dipping your hands into
a bamboo mat (if you want to make maki/rolled sushi)
a damp towel to cover the rice with
a smaller damp towel/washcloth for wiping the knife


ingredients:

short-medium grain rice. (anything with "rose" in the name of the
brand will work, ie: calrose)
japanese rice vinegar (unseasoned)
sugar
salt
nori (sheets of dried seaweed)
fresh fish
wasabi (you can buy this at japanese grocery stores, i was told
that buying it in a tube is more hot than buying it as
a powder, but that hasn't been my experience. however,
it's pretty cool to squeeze your wasabi from a tube like
toothpaste...)
unagi (you can buy this pre-cooked and just put it under the
broiler or in the toaster oven for a bit to make it
hot. get a little extra bottle of unagi bbq sauce (called
tare) from the same place you get the unagi so you can dab
it on afterwards.)
avocado
crab (cooked)
fresh shrimp (uncooked)
soy sauce (shoyu)



ok. now what?

the rice is the most complicated part:
--------------------------------------
first, get the rice going. as a general rule when cooking rice, use
20% more water than rice. (1 cup rice to 1 cup plus 1.5 tablespoons
of water). for a biggish amount of sushi, 3.5 cups of rice to 4
cups of water.

if you don't have a rice cooker, put the rice and water into a
heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. let the rice soak for
about 30 minutes before cooking (that's not a total necessity,
just a good idea). cover it and bring it to a boil. boil for 2
minutes. reduce the head to a medium level and boil for another
5 minutes. then drop the heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes
or until all the water has been absorbed. don't take the lid off
while it's cooking. after the 15 minutes, turn off the heat and
let the rice sit for another 10 minutes.

while the rice is cooking, make the vinegar mixture that you
will pour over the rice. this mixture combines rice vinegar, sugar,
and salt together. the basic mixture is
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt.

you can alter this mixture to your taste by either raising or
lowering the ratio of vinegar to sugar until you like it. i
just stick with the basic mixture.

put the ingredients in the small pan and heat over low heat
until the sugar and salt dissolve completely. don't boil the
mixture. let it cool.

when the rice is ready, turn it out all at once into the
big tub. try not to squish any grains. when the vinegar mixture
is cool, slowly drizzle it over the back of the wooden spoon
into the rice. while a minion fans the rice, mix the rice gently
by slicing vertically through the rice and turning it over. try
really hard not to mash the rice. taste the rice every once in
a while to see if you have added enough vinegar. force the minion
to fan the rice until it reaches room temperature, about 10 minutes.

when it's ready, cover the tub with a clean, damp towel until you're
ready to use it. you can keep it this way for several hours if
you get distracted. do not refrigerate it, though. eat it the
same day you make it.


putting together the sushi:
---------------------------
to make nigiri sushi (the kind on little pads of rice),
fill the hand bowl with a 1:2 vinegar to water solution.
dip your hands into the bowl and then take a couple of
tablespoons of rice in your right hand (lefties switch
this around if you want) and use the first two fingers
of your other hand to form the rice into an oval shape.
this takes practice. just make a few of them in a row so
you get the hang of it.

put pieces of tuna (maguro) or unagi, or whatever you
want on it. you can also buy inari pockets (they're tofu
pockets that are sort of sweet. house ron(1) calls them
japanese doughnuts. you put balls of rice in them. the
other night, i put slices of ripe peach in with the rice
and it was great. you can put kiwi fruit slices in too...yum!

to make maki sushi (the roll kind),
take your bamboo mat and set it so that it rolls up away from
you, not side to side. take a sheet of nori and put it shiny
side down. dip your hands in the vinegar and put about 2-4
tablespoons of rice in a band onto the nori, leaving a .5"
margin on either side of the rice. be careful not to mash the
rice. make a groove along the center of the band of rice with
your fingers. put stuff in this groove, like wasabi, avocado,
cucumber, raw fish, etc. don't put a LOT of stuff in it, or
you won't be able to roll up the maki.

use the mat to roll up the maki. use steady, light pressure
as you roll. squoosh(2) the roll gently once it's all rolled up.
take it out of the mat and cut it up with a very sharp knife,
wiping the knife blade with a damp cloth between cuts.

have fun with your sushi. email me if you get confused.(4)


(1) house ron is my housemate. he is like a pet: he stays home
alla time and is happy to see me when i get home. i worry about
him when i go on vacation. he likes it when i cook.
(2) a highly technical term.(3)
(3) like certified british buttloads.
(4) about sushi.

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