First of all: Sushi does not work with every rice. Especially rice with a high starch content ensures that it is sticky and your sushi rolls do not fall apart easily.
What is sushi?
In Japan, sushi is cold and leavened rice, usually filled or topped with fish. The rice can also contain vegetables, egg or seaweed. In the meantime, there are also many sushi dishes with meat. Not only the ingredients can be varied - the form of the cold main dish is also different. The best known are the rice rolls (Maki) and the rice balls with toppings (Nigiri). In this article we will mainly deal with maki sushi.
What do you need?
Before you start, we recommend a visit to the Asian shop. You should buy the most important basic ingredients for a sushi evening in advance. In addition to the following list, you will also need a sushi rolling mat and chopsticks. Of course, you can also eat your sushi with a fork or your hands, if you're not practiced with chopsticks.
Rice is the main ingredient of Sushi. It is best to use special Sushi rice. Since it is very sticky you can form it well. Alternatively you can use some round grain rice like Nishiki or Kome.
Rice vinegar is the seasoning for rice. This is mixed with a little sugar and salt before it is stirred into the rice. (For 500 g of Susi rice, mix approx. 100 ml of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and a little salt.
)If you forgot the rice vinegar when you went shopping, you can also mix a substitute with a mixture of white vinegar and soy sauce. You can also use the combination of apple vinegar and white wine or white balsamic vinegar with a little water.
The green layer that covers the rice in the Maki is algae or seaweed. They are dried and pressed into thin sheets.
Wasabi must not be missing on the table! The spicy green paste is spread on the sushi bites before eating. You can buy wasabi as a ready-made paste or as a powder. If you buy the powdered version, you only need to stir in a little water to give it its typical creamy consistency.
Gari is pickled ginger. It tastes sweet and sour and serves as a neutralizer between the different rice bites.
Just like wasabi, soy sauce is meant as an additional seasoning. It goes into a small bowl in which the sushi bites are dipped before eating.
You can toast the sesame seeds for your sushi yourself or buy them already toasted. It's not a must in any sushi recipe, but makes a flavorful addition to a maki roll.
Filling of your choice
Fish sushi is particularly popular. Salmon, shrimp, tuna, eel, squid, mackerel, crab meat, caviar, mussels and crabs are used here.
Freshness is particularly important! Because in sushi, fish is usually raw. It is best to order the fish in advance from the fishmonger, stating that it is to be used for sushi. You should also process it on the same day and make sure not to interrupt the cold chain. If raw fish is absolutely not for you, you can also use smoked fish.
Meat lovers can also use meat instead of fish, such as chicken, beef or pork.
To make your sushi taste as varied as possible, you can add vegetables in addition to fish or meat. Especially popular are carrots, (shiitake) mushrooms, avocado, cucumber, radish or pumpkin. Tofu or omelette can also be used in your sushi roll.
By the way: If you use half a nori sheet and cover it with only one ingredient besides the rice, it is called Hoso-Maki. Thick rolls with a whole seaweed sheet and several ingredients are called Futo-Maki. There are many other forms of sushi - in our sushi instructions we will only focus on hoso and futo maki:
Making your own maki roll
Before you start: Don't despair if your first sushi attempts don't turn out the way you imagined. Sushi chefs in Japan go through almost ten years of training! But you too can form your rolls with these steps. Each time you do it, it gets a little better.
Step 1: Cook rice and cool
500 g rice is enough for about 4 people. You should cook it well in advance, because the rice can only be processed into Sushi when it is cold.
First cook the sushi rice according to the instructions and then let it cool down completely. This goes a little faster if you spread it on a cold baking tray. The rice must then be mixed with the rice vinegar or the substitute mixture. It is best to use your hands for this.
Step 2: Cover the nori sheet
Now place a whole or half nori sheet on the bamboo mat. The smooth side should point downwards. Place the nori sheet on the mat so that it is closer to you and you have some space to the edge. You can cover about half of the nori sheet with rice - don't use too much so that the rolling is easier. Depending on how much you like it, you can add some wasabi to the rice. Now you can put your ingredients on top. Again, less is more!
Step 3: Roll the Nori sheet
Before you roll up the green sheet completely, we recommend that you moisten the end with a little water. This way you can seal the sushi roll better. Start on the side that is covered with the ingredients and roll the sheet to the end, where you press it lightly.
Step 4: Cut the roll
Before cutting the roll, make sure you have a sharp knife in the house. Depending on how big you want your sushi bites, you can cut the roll into small pieces. Your Maki are ready!
As a little tip, if you keep the knife wet with a little water, it will glide through the roll more easily.
Three ideas for more pep
In the world of sushi, there are an incredible number of different recipes and combination possibilities. But if you get tired of the basic maki roll, you can tune it up easily and wonderfully.
In keeping with the summer season, you can also incorporate fruit into your rolls. Suitable are for example papaya, mango or pineapple. They also go well with savoury components and give the rice bites a sweet and sour touch.
Visually, you can spice up your sushi with colour. The easiest way to do this is to dye the rice. It looks especially cool if you use beetroot, blue spirulina or yellow turmeric powder. More ideas to color food naturally can be found here.
Instead of savoury sushi, you can also try a sweet version. Replace the rice vinegar mixture with coconut milk and coconut blossom sugar and simply omit the nori sheet when rolling. Instead, we recommend that you place a sheet of plastic wrap on the bamboo mat to make it easier for you to roll without the nori sheet. You can top the sweet rice with the fruits of your choice. (Roasted) coconut chips or nuts go especially well with this. For the chocolate craving, you could mix cacao powder or cacao nibs into the rice.
Instead of soy sauce, you can put a small bowl with maple syrup on the table and nut puree of your choice instead of wasabi. Definitely something new!