Japan's best known culinary export, sushi, can be divided into two main types. Hand-formed Nigiri-zushi are hand-formed rice balls topped with various kinds of seafood. The other is maki-zushi, or hand rolled sushi, made by rolling or wrapping rice and fillings in sheets of nori dried seaweed.
Sushi chefs in Japan undergo many years of training to master the art of making sushi, but with a little practice, in next to no time you and your friends can be having fun wrapping and rolling sushi at home. First, however, you'll need some sushi rice.
To make enough sushi rice for 5 people you will need
5 cups of short-grained rice
3/4 cup (about 180ml) of Japanese rice vinegar
5.3oz (150g) of caster sugar
1.2oz (35g) of salt
Wash the rice thoroughly and cook in a rice cooker - do not open until 20min after the rice has finished steaming. Put the Japanese rice vinegar, caster sugar and salt into a saucepan and heat on low while stirring lightly. Mix the vinegar mixture into the rice until every grain g;istens with a vinegar coating.
Now you are ready to start making sushi.
Hand Rolls are the simplest kind of sushi to make and the best place for the beginner to start.
You will need
Need 1 sheet of nori
1.41oz (116g) of sushi rice
1/4 of a cucumber filling
Wasabi and sesame
Hold the nori sheet diagonally in the palm of your hand with the rough side facing up. Holding the nori with your thumb, place the rice on the nori in the palm of your hand. Spread the rice with your fingers, making the it thicker at the edges and thinner in middle. Dab some wasabi onto the middle section, place the filling on top and sprinkle with a little sesame. Fold the nori over the rice starting from the top (be sure to tuckit in tightly), and then wrap the nori around the rice. That's all there is to it!
Once you've gotten the hang of hand rolls, you are ready to give making thin sushi rolls with a bamboo mat a try. These are the basis of other sushi rolls such as the California Inside-out Roll, so once you have this technique down, a whole world of sushi is within your grasp.
You will need
Bamboo mat (if you don't have a bamboo mat, you can make do with some thick paper)
1 sheet of nori
2.5oz (70g) of sushi rice
Place the bamboo mat in front of you. Lay the nori along the edge of the mat nearest you, rough side up. Place a handful of rice on the nori, left to right, leaving a 3/4 inch space at the top edge. Spread the rice down towards yourself and create a hollow running across the middle. Smear wasabi and place the filling in the hollow. Lift and push bamboo mat forward with your thumbs while holding the filling with your index and middle fingers. Roll the sushi from the front until the two edges of the rice meet. Push down on the roll with both index fingers while squeezing from the sides with your thumbs and middle fingers. Cut the square roll in half, and then cut each half into 3 pieces.
Learning to roll sushi with friends is great fun. Why not throw a "sushi party" and see who can produce the best rolls. Popular fillings include are cucumber, as in the examples above, tuna, cheese, smoked salmon, shrimp, avocado, scallion and carrot, but feel free to experiment and find your own favorite sushi roll.