|This is why you need to wipe your knife between roll cuts. Notice how I have focused on the only clean one|
Up until very recently I laughed at people who made their own sushi. There are some things that are best left to the experts, is my view – and sushi is one of them.
Then my raging pregnancy craving for sushi got quite out of control. It’s all I want to eat, ever. It’s all I can really stomach eating. I don’t really mean actual raw fish, although that will do, I really mean cut rolls, maki rolls – California rolls, spicy tuna rolls – even vegetarian rolls. I don’t care. I’m not fussy. I just want fucking sushi. I am an addict.
Even my Japanophile husband is getting a bit alarmed by it all, especially when we went out to a robata (a Japanese grill, where they cook tiny things on skewers – really delicious) and refused to eat anything except sushi.
But I can only squeeze a trip out for sushi out of him about once a fortnight or he starts getting bored with it, so I’ve had to come up with ways of filling in the gaps between my professional sushi hits. I stopped short at the Japanese sundries section of Waitrose the other day, dithered for a moment, then held out my arms, and swept the whole lot off the shelves and into my trolley: sushi mat, nori paper, wasabi, sushi rice, sushi rice seasoning. Then I wheeled back to the vegetable aisle and bought a cucumber, then I wheeled over to the fish section and bought some cooked, peeled prawns.
And I will say this: homemade sushi is actually pretty good. It’s not that hard to do and doesn’t make much of a mess – all you need to cook is the rice and everything else is just an assembly job – I can see if you did it reasonably often you’d get very good at all that rolling.
My problem is with the rice – although I’ve never been good at cooking rice, I’m hoping that results will come with practice. The two times I’ve cooked it now it comes out a bit overcooked and means a slight mushiness in the resultant roll. I now wonder if this might not be because of actual overcooking but allowing the rice to soak for more than the advised 30 minutes prior to boiling.
If you are going to make homemade sushi, then obviously the thing to do is look up a tutorial on YouTube, that is the only way to see properly how to do it, but I also offer the following additional notes:
1 When you cover your sushi mat with cling film, tuck the ends of the film in under the mat, to stop the film ending up getting rolled up inside the sushi, which is not the idea at all.
2 Sushi rice is like fucking concrete. Do not allow it, as I did, to sit in sieves, pots, on knives or sushi mats for more than a few minutes because it wil lliterally superglue itself to any unguarded thing – it’s mental.
3 Do wipe your knife on a wet cloth inbetween cuts of your sushi roll as it will make it all look so nice; if you don’t, little bastard grains of rice will stick to the knife and then stick to the next roll of sushi and look all messy (see photo above).
4 Be generous with your sushi rice seasoning. Plain old rice is awfully boring and I have found that the directions on the back of the seasoning bottle don’t allow for enough.