Monday, February 15, 2010


We are the proud parents of this delectable morsel of sushi ~

Carroll Roll: hamachi, maguro, avocado, cucumber, tobiko


Ray and I have talked for years about making sushi together at home. It's one of our favorite foods- ever since I took him to his first sushi restaurant on our very first date.

When he suggested Saturday that we make sushi at home on Vday, my first response was "I don't think so. . ." You see he doesn't cook much- he struggles to find things in the kitchen a good portion of the time. In addition, my own reservations came from fear of the unknown, a big kitchen disaster, and no dinner to show for it. I've also read that the making of sushi rice is very difficult to get right- it can be really terrible and I didn't know if we could pull it off.

After some encouragement I gave in (so glad I did!), and we started planning our attack.


Sunday morning: Sushi Making Research. I looked at dozens of websites and recipes before printing this one for rice and this one for rolling. Some of the ingredients are staples in our our pantry: rice wine vinegar, sake, nori (toasted seaweed), wasabi, soy sauce.

Next stop were trips to Marina Foods and Nijiya Market for what we don't have: sushi rice, more nori, edamame, vegetables, and fish. From Nijiya we selected maguro (tuna), hamachi (yellowtail), some unagi (eel), and tobiko (fish roe). We also chilled some sauvignon blanc from Duckhorn Vineyards. This is an excellent wine pairing with sushi.

Executive Chef

and Sous Chef


We started by getting the rice going in the rice cooker. All recommendations advocated the appliance over making rice in a pot. I rinsed the rice 3 times before adding equal parts of water and turned it on. I have a simple rice cooker with no settings, just an on/off switch.

While the rice cooked, we prepped our vegetables and made some appetizers. Ray sliced avocado and cucumber into very thin strips. I was seriously impressed with his knife skills; what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in following the directions and attention to detail.

Next, we boiled some edamame in water for 5 minutes before draining and dousing liberally with salt.

Yum yum!

We also prepared some miso soup to go along with the edamame.

Next, we mixed the sushi su, a mixture that gets poured over the prepared rice. For 2 cups of rice we used:

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup sake

Stirred together in a pot over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool slightly.

When the rice was done, we transferred it to my largest mixing bowl and added the su vinegar mixture to the rice.

Fold the rice gently to incorporate.

We then let it sit for 10 minutes, than folded the rice once again. Now you cover with a warm towel and keep it warm until you're ready to use. We were making our sushi right away, so we just covered with the towel.

While the rice rested, we took out our fish and sliced it thinly. I also mixed up some wasabi (wasabi powder + water to make a paste), and took out soy sauce, the unagi, and the tobiko.

For my first roll, I went big with some rolled maki. It's not the easiest place to start, but sometimes I just want to dive in and try the tough thing first. I wrapped our bamboo sushi mat with plastic wrap (so the rice won't stick), and then spread the mat with sushi rice as best I could.
This was tough because the rice was pretty sticky; I ended up with much more than I needed on there! We scraped a bunch off once the roll was done- not professional I know, but I really appreciate now how difficult it is to strike the right balance of rice in a roll.

When fairly satisfied with the rice, I laid a piece of nori on top of the rice. For vegetables, I added our cucumber and avocado, and a few pieces of hamachi and maguro.

Now for the rolling- this went pretty well for my first try. You need to be careful not to roll the mat into the sushi! Once you've curled the roll under once, pull the mat out, continue squeezing together gently and keep rolling.

Remove the mat, and add some tobiko on top if you want. I love tobiko so I was very generous! Slice into 7-8 pieces and you're ready to eat!

This was the only maki roll that I made, and despite the excess rice it was stellar!

Ray became proficient in shaping the rice for pieces of nigiri (a small pillow of rice with fish perched on top). He consumed half a dozen of these little jewel bites.

I also made several small hand rolls. These were easy and so delicious. I pressed a bit of rice to a corner of the nori and topped it with some hamachi, unagi, cucumber, and avocado. Roll (as best you can!) into a cone shape and top with a bit of tobiko. Delish!

My rolling here was pretty bad, I couldn't not figure out how to do it properly. Would have helped if I checked an online step-by-step, but it didn't matter since we were at home and no one laughed at it. I love sushi hand rolls because I love the flavor of the nori and it's really pronounced in this form.

Everything we made was delicious, but I think I should have rinsed my rice twice as much before cooking it. There was too much starch, and our rice was too sticky because of it. I'm proud of our first effort, but I can see why they say the rice is the toughest part!



Erica said...

WOW! What a great project to take on for Valentine's day! Love all of the pictures- is that a tiny bow in your hair? How freaking cute! The end result looks amazing to me. I have never had sushi!

Unknown said...

what an awesome way to spend v-day :) you and your sous chef did a great job!