Smoked Salmon Sushi
Makes Approximately 6 rolls or 50 pieces
Adapted from The Daring Kitchen
(Check out this link for other methods and pictures)
A BIG thank you to Audax and Rose for pulling together these clear and simple directions. It was a herculean effort that resulted in beautiful step-by-step instructions that a total novice (me!) could successfully follow at home. You two are amazing!
PART 1 : SUSHI RICE
(makes about 7 cups of cooked sushi rice)
Preparation time: 1¾ hours consisting of:
* Rinsing and draining rice: 35 minutes
* Soaking rice: 30 minutes (includes 5 minutes making the vinegar dressing)
* Cooking and steaming time: 25 minutes
* Finishing the rice: 15 minutes
* 2½ cups uncooked short grain rice
* 2½ cups water
* For superior results use equal volumes of rice and water
* 3 inch (75mm or 15 grams) square dashi konbu (or kombu) (dried kelp seaweed) wipe with a damp cloth to remove white powder & cut a few slits in the sides of the kelp to help release its flavours
* 2½ teaspoons (12.5 mls) of sake (Japanese rice wine)
Sushi vinegar dressing
* 5 Tablespoons (75 mls) rice vinegar
* 5 Teaspoons (25 mls or 21 grams) sugar
* 1¼ Teaspoons (6.25 mls or 4.5 grams) salt
Rinsing and draining the rice
1. Swirl rice gently in a bowl of water, drain, repeat 3-4 times until water is nearly clear. Don’t crush the rice in your hands or against the side of the bowl since dry rice is very brittle.
2. Gently place rice into a strainer and drain well for 30 minutes.
Soaking the rice
1. Gently place the rice into a heavy medium pot with a tight fitting lid (if you have a loose fitting lid use a piece of aluminium foil to make the seal tight).
2. Add 2½ cups of water and the dashi konbu.
3. Set the rice aside to soak for 30 minutes, during this time prepare the sushi rice dressing.
Preparing the Rice Vinegar Dressing
1. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl.
2. Heat on low setting. (I placed mine in the microwave at 30 second intervals)
3. Stir until the mixture goes clear and the sugar and salt have dissolved.
4. Set aside at room temperature until the rice is cooked.
Cooking the rice
1. After 30 minutes of soaking add sake (if using) to the rice.
2. Bring rinsed and soaked rice to the boil.
3. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed, 12-15 minutes. Do not remove the lid during this process. Turn off heat.
4. Let stand with the lid on, 10-15 minutes. Do not peek inside the pot or remove the lid. During this time the rice is steaming which completes the cooking process.
Finishing the rice
Turning out the rice
1. Moisten lightly a flat thin wooden spatula or spoon and a large shallow flat-bottomed non-metallic (plastic, glass or wood) bowl. Do not use metallic objects since the vinegar will react with it and produce sour and bitter sushi rice.
2. Remove the dashi konbu (kelp) from the cooked rice.
3. Use the spatula to loosen gently the rice and invert the rice pot over the bowl, gently causing the cooked rice to fall into the bowl in one central heap. Do this gently so as not to cause the rice grains to become damaged.
Dressing the rice with vinegar
1. Slowly pour the cooled sushi vinegar over the spatula onto the hot rice.
2. Using the spatula gently spread the rice into a thin, even layer using a 45° cutting action to break up any lumps and to separate the rice. Don’t stir or mash rice.
3. After the rice is spread out, start turning it over gently, in small portions, using a cutting action, allowing steam to escape, for about a minute.
Fanning & Tossing the rice
1. Continue turning over the rice, but now start fanning (using a piece of stiff cardboard) the rice vigorously as you do so. Don’t flip the rice into the air but continue to gently slice, lift and turn the rice occasionally, for 10 minutes. Cooling the rice using a fan gives good flavour, texture and a high-gloss sheen to the rice. The vinegar dressing will be absorbed by the hot rice. Using a small electric fan on the lowest speed setting is highly recommended. (I used a hairdryer set to low and cool).
2. Stop fanning when there’s no more visible steam, and all the vinegar dressing has been adsorbed and the rice is shiny. Your sushi rice is ready to be used.
Keeping the rice moist
1. Cover with a damp, lint free cloth to prevent the rice from drying out while preparing your sushi meal. Do not store sushi rice in the refrigerator leave on the counter covered at room temperature. Sushi rice is best used when it is at room temperature.
* To make sushi rice: for each cup of rice use 1 cup of water, 2 Tbs rice vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp sake. For superior results use equal volumes of rice and water when cooking the sushi rice since the weight of rice can vary. Weight of 2½ cups of uncooked rice is about 525 grams or 18½ ounces.
* While the rice is draining, soaking and cooking prepare your rice vinegar dressing, sushi fillings and toppings.
* Photo series on How to Cook Rice with a Pot
* Photo series on How to Make Sushi Rice with Tools You Already Own
About the Ingredients
Sushi Rice – choose a short or medium grain rice. Do not use Arborio, long-grain, or parboiled white rice. Medium-grained calrose is a suitable rice. Rice expands (about 3 times) when cooked so make sure your pot is large enough. Washing the rice removes the rice flour that coats the rice and gives a fresh flavour and scent to the cooked rice. Look for rice that is labelled ‘sushi’ rice. Cooked sushi rice can be placed in plastic bags and frozen for 3 months, microwave when needed. Cooked sushi rice should be sticky, shiny and the individual grains of rice can been seen.
Dashi konbu – or ( dashi kombu) – dried kelp, it looks like broad, leathery, wrinkly greenish ribbon often coated with a white powder. The darker green the leaves, the better the quality of kelp.Dashi konbu adds a refreshing light ocean taste to sushi rice.
Rice Vinegar – this gives prepared sushi rice its unique clean, crisp taste. Do not use bottled “sushi vinegar” as it is too harsh and has a bitter after-taste. Look carefully at the label of the rice vinegar it should have NO SALT and NO SUGAR in the product. Apple cider vinegar is a good substitute if rice vinegar is not available. You can use mild white wine vinegar or mild red wine vinegar if you cannot find rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar. DO NOT USE NORMAL WHITE VINEGAR it is too harsh.
Sake – Japanese rice wine. Do not use cooking sake or Chinese cooking rice wine, look for a reasonably priced drinkable sake. Refrigerate opened sake & use within two months. You can use vodka or a mild tasting gin if sake is not available.
Sugar – you can use mild honey or any other vegan substitute to give the equivalent sweetness.
PART 2 : Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll
Yield: Six Rolls, cut into 8 pieces
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 1¾ hours to make the sushi rice
* 6 cups prepared sushi rice
* 6 sheets of toasted nori, each sized 7”x8” (17.5cmx20cm)
* Bowl of vinegar water (1/4 cup water and a dash of rice vinegar)
* Six assorted fillings, each filling should be the size of a pencil (see note below)
The rolls above used:
-Red Bell Pepper
-2 cold 8oz packages of cream cheese, cut into thin strips
1. Wrap a bamboo rolling mat in plastic wrap, so that the entire mat is covered with plastic.
2. Place a nori sheet shiny side down on the edge of the bamboo rolling mat.
3. Using moist fingers (dipped in vinegar water) place 1 cup of rice on the nori and gently rake your fingertips across grains to spread rice evenly, leaving ¼ inch (6mm) nori showing on the both ends of the sheet. Do not mash or squash the rice onto the nori, the rice should appear loosely packed and be evenly distributed over the entire sheet, you should be able to see the nori sheet in a few places.
4. Using your fingers form three grooves (in the same direction that you will be rolling the mat) at even intervals across the bed of rice. Make the first groove about 2 inches (50 mm) from the edge of the nori sheet. Form the grooves by pushing the rice away, do not mash or squash the rice, leave a loose one grain layer of rice in the bottom of the grooves. Level the areas between the grooves where you have pushed the rice.
5. Place your fillings in the grooves. Fill the grooves a little higher than the surrounding rice bed.
6. Then roll the sushi up from the edge closest to you, this will form a spiral pattern of nori, rice and fillings inside the roll.
7. Slice into 8 pieces with a very sharp wet knife, wiping the blade with a damp cloth after each cut.
8. Place the pieces on a platter and garnish.
9. Repeat this process until you have 6 rolls.
Make each groove about a finger-width wide they will hold about 1-2 tablespoons of filling. Use fillings that compliment each other and are highly colored. Use parboiled vegetables cut into strips, seafood, left over eel, smoked fish or chicken, whole cooked beans, edible flowers etc….
PART 3 : Nigiri Smoked Salmon Sushi
Yield: 14-16 pieces of sushi
Nigiri sushi is the type of sushi most often made in sushi bars. In Japanese, nigiri means “squeeze”.
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 1¾ hours to make the sushi rice
* 1-2 cups prepared sushi rice
* 8 pairs of assorted toppings, 200 gms/7 ozs total of fish, meat or vegetables (see note below)
* 1 tablespoon Wasabi (paste, reconstituted powder) or any other paste to adhere topping to rice
* Garnishes such as Ginger (pickled), chilli strips, vegetables flowers etc
* Thin strips of nori or vegetables (for tying topping on)
1. When handling sushi rice, make certain your hands are very clean. To keep the rice from sticking to our hands moisten your hands with vinegared water.
2. Form nigiri sushi by scooping up a small amount (about 2 tablespoons) of rice with your forefinger and second finger of your right hand and placing it in your cupped left palm.
3. Use the fingers and thumb of your right hand to form it into a long, narrow mound (about 2 inches x 1 inch wide or 50mm x 25mm) in your cupped palm.
4. Press enough to make the rice hold firmly together. Place the nigiri on a damp cutting board flat side down. Don’t let sushi touch or they’ll stick to each other. At this point, you can cover the sushi with plastic wrap, and they’ll keep at room temperature (not the refrigerator) for several hours.
5. Smear a thin line of wasabi on top of the rice and place the smoked salmon piece on it. You may need to press the topping down lightly with your fingers and adjust the shape of the rice accordingly to form an attractive piece of nigiri sushi.
* A great video on making nigiri sushi