Homemade Sushi Rolls

May 23, 2008

If you love sushi as much as we do, but have never tried making it at home, you should. It's easier than you think. The other day we found some nice little precooked soft-shelled crabs and decided to make some spider rolls. Here's the skinny on how to make your own rolls. If you are a visual learner like I am, stayed tuned for a how-to video.

What you'll need:

Bamboo sushi mat
A hand fan (yes, I'm talking about the folding-geisha-kind of fan. Don't have a couple laying around the house then just improvise)
Japanese rice
Sushi vinegar (this has a bit of sugar which makes the rice sticky)
Nori (seaweed sheets)
Whatever yummy ingredients you want in your rolls

We cooked our rice in our fancy Zojirushi rice cooker with fuzzy logic. I don't know what fuzzy logic is, but it sounds cute and smart all in one shot. Either that or it's really confused. Anyway, once your rice is cooked transfer it to a bowl and sprinkle a bit of the sushi vinegar (for 2 cups of uncooked rice I used about ¼ cup of vinegar). Gently mix, taking care not to mash the rice, while fanning the rice to cool. Note: I don’t know how necessary this is, but it’s how I was taught in Japan and you don’t mess with Japanese housewives when it comes to food preparation.

For our Spider Rolls we kept it simple: crab (cut lengthwise in half), sliced avocado, and sliced green onion. You could also thinly slice some cucumber and add a little lettuce too.

Lay your bamboo mat on a cutting board and place a sheet of nori on top. Wet your hands and grab a small handful of rice. This is why you want to cool it first - hot, sticky rice on your hands is like melting plastic. Working from the edge closest to you, gently and evenly spread the rice over slightly more than half of the nori. Use your fingertips to disperse the rice until it’s about 1/8 – ¼ inch thick.

Dip the tip of your index finger in wasabi and run a thin line horizontally across the center of the rice. Place the crab along the same line and top with avocado slices and thinly sliced green onion.

With your thumbs, grab the underside of the mat and, while gently holding the insides in place with your fingers, roll over then tuck in on the other side. Release the edge of the mat and flip it up so the mat is folded in half with your roll inside. Push the mat in against the roll, and give it a little “tuck.” Continue to roll to the edge of the nori, leaving about a half inch. Wet you finger and run it along the edge of the nori to seal. Finish rolling.

Slicing: Your knife needs to be Samurai sharp otherwise your roll will just rip apart. In order to create uniform pieces, first cut the roll in half, then in half again. Repeat depending on the size of your nori sheets. Your pieces should be about ½ inch thick.