Sushi should be prepared just before serving, but you can assemble most of the ingredients beforehand.
Prepare sushi rice earlier in the day. It takes about 1½ to 2 hours to make. Once done, it can sit on the counter covered with a damp cloth for a few hours. Don't refrigerate sushi rice, it won't stick together!
This recipe makes 5 cups of sushi rice which will fill 10 cucumber rolls (4" x 7½" nori sheet with ½ cup of sushi rice per sheet, and each cucumber roll is cut into thirds, therefore 30 cucumber sushi pieces.)
The Cucumber Roll recipe makes 2 rolls, so you can multiply the recipe to make 30, or use more filling in the rolls. (Instructions at end of recipe!)
2 cups short-grain rice
2 cups plus 6 tsp cold water
½ cup sushi (rice) vinegar
cold water for washing rice
¼ of a large cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 sun dried tomatoes, finely sliced into strips
½ tsp sesame seeds
1 cup sushi rice
1 full nori sheet
You will need: bowl of water and rice vinegar (6 tbsp water to 2 tbsp vinegar)
Bamboo rolling mat
Small fry pan
PERFECT SUSHI RICE
CUCUMBER ROLLS with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Wash rice: Soak rice in a medium sized bowl of cold water. Stir the rice around with your hands. After the water becomes cloudy, strain the rice in a large strainer. Place the rice back in the bowl and add fresh cold water, repeat washing until the water is no longer cloudy. With the final straining leave the rice in the strainer and allow to drain for 30 to 60 minutes.
If you have an electric rice cooker, cook the rice according to directions. If cooking on the stove, place washed, drained rice in a heavy, medium sized pot. Add the water according to recipe, cover tightly. Do not lift the lid at any point until the rice has finished cooking or steam will escape and rice will not cook properly.
Place over medium-high heat until the rice steams (about 10 minutes). Turn the heat to high and cook 2 minutes. There may be white foam around the lid and lid will jiggle. Don't lift it!
Reduce heat to medium and cook another 5 minutes, until the foaming stops and you hear a crackling sound, turn off heat. Allow to stand, covered, for 15 minutes to let rice steam.
After rice is finished steaming you can finally remove that cover and fluff the rice with a wood paddle or spoon. Wrap the pot cover in a clean cloth towel and return cover to pot. Leave for 15 minutes.
Uncover, spoon out and spread rice across a non-metallic platter or board so the rice will cool quickly. As it cools sprinkle sushi vinegar over rice, then stroke across the rice with paddle or spoon, tossing rice with vinegar.
Help the rice cool fast by fanning with a piece of cardboard or clean paper fan for 2 minutes, then cover loosely with a damp cloth and allow to sit at least 15 minutes, or several hours to make nice, sticky rice.
CUCUMBER ROLL WITH SUN DRIED TOMATO
Dry toast the sesame seeds in small fry pan over low heat, shaking the pan occasionally. When seeds begin to darken remove from heat and empty onto a plate to cool.
Cut cucumber into long julienne slices.
Cut nori sheet in half width-wise with clean scissors so it measures about 4" x 7½".
Place trimmed nori sheet shiny side down on bamboo mat with long side facing you. Dip your clean hands in the water/vinegar mixture and scoop up some sushi rice, about the size of a tennis ball, ½ cup. Spread evenly over nori with hands or spoon, leaving a margin of 1 centimetre of nori sheet free of rice at far end. Moisten hands when needed but don't make rice soggy.
Create a narrow groove in the centre of the rice, side to side, then run a streak of wasabi down it with a finger. Place half of cucumber/tomato in groove, overlapping pieces. Sprinkle with half of the toasted sesame seeds.
Grasp bamboo rolling mat with both hands, thumbs underneath, and pressing lightly on the cucumber/tomato with index fingers.
With both hands lift the mat to bring the near edge of the nori sheet to meet the far, rice-free margin of the nori at the far end.
Press straight down on the sides of the mat, not on top of the roll. Lift mat slightly, and finish rolling the sushi roll, pressing down firmly, but not squishing, so that the rice-free edge of the nori adheres to the roll. Carefully remove the roll from the bamboo mat.
Gently place the roll on a cutting board, seam side down. Dip the tip of a very sharp knife in the bowl of water/vinegar and slice the roll using one swift back and forth cut. Clean the knife with a damp cloth, then dip again and cut. Roll should make three 1-inch sushi pieces.
To add more ingredients (up to 6, suggestions below) use a full, uncut nori sheet and 1 cup of sushi rice per roll, add ingredients and roll as per instructions.
Serve with more wasabi, soy sauce, and chilled pickled ginger.
- For excellent flavour try Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar which is sweet and balanced.
- When using cucumber and avocado, always peel the cucumber and remove seeds, and use only ripe avocado
- When spreading the prepared rice on your nori sheets (shiny side down to your bamboo mat) it is very helpful to have a glass of water to dip a spoon into and use the rounded side to spread the rice as it will be very sticky.
- It is quite easy to put too much rice on your nori and too little middle ingredients as a beginner, so remember that a thin layer of rice will do.
- Leaving a centimetre of your nori at the top uncovered and slightly dampened with water will help seal your rolls (similar to an envelope).
- When cutting your rolls it is once again very handy to use that glass of water to dip your sharpest thin knife into so that you get the cleanest non-sticking cuts. Use a damp cloth to wipe the blade before every dip and cut.
- Some ingredients that I like to use include: bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, toasted white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, avocado, cucumber, and thinly sliced sundried tomatoes.