Saturday, January 29, 2011

Practice Sushi

I'm planning to make sushi for the upcoming festive vegetarian challenge that is going to transpire over president's day weekend, when EW is in town.  I've never done it before, so I wanted to practice once to get a sense of how long it takes and whether I can pull it off properly.  The result:


Finding out that I can make this, and that it is easy and pretty cheap, is a huge development in my culinary life.  I made enough veggie sushi for like 4 meals all in one go! Pictured here are both the kinds I made tonight:  cucumber avocado and spicy mushroom.  The spicy mushroom well surpassed my expectations.  I sauteed some shiitakes in hot chili oil and sambal.  The result tastes alot like cooked eel, but it's just a non-fattening mushroom!  I love it!  

I hadn't realized until I did this how much of a contribution the nori makes to the flavor of the sushi.  I had mentally always thought of it as a tasteless starch that held the rice together, but it actually has a pretty strong taste that I realize I've come to associate with better sushi.  

I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the preparation of the rice that I used here:  I think it could probably use about twice as much vinegar as I used (3 tblspns for 4 cups of rice).  A cursory review of the internets reveals that indeed this preparation called for much less vinegar than is typical.  

I'm glad I did this practice run.  I found out how long it takes (2 hours for 5 rolls), that I can do it, that I need to stuff more rice and fillings in than I initially started out doing, and make sure they are sticking out the ends or the ends will be all nori, and that the mushroom idea I envisioned does come out well.  

I think the final menu for the festive vegetarian challenge is going to be:

Tempura Green Beans
Sushi (some cucumber avocado, some mushroom.)
Cold Sesame Egg Noodles
Tres Leches Cake

God, I'm so glad I learned how to make sushi!

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