Once you know how to make sushi rolls you can fill them with pretty much anything. This is also really tasty with queenie scallops in place of tuna.
Takes: 30 mins
Makes: 2 rolls
100g fresh tuna, diced
2 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Sriracha or similar hot chilli sauce (or more or less, to taste)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 sheet of nori, cut in half lengthways
200g prepared sushi rice (see below)
1 Stir together the tuna, spring onions, mayo, Sriracha and sesame seeds. Have a bowl of water handy — you’ll use this to wet your hands to keep the rice from sticking to your fingers.
2 Lay the nori shiny side down on a dry, clean tea towel or cloth napkin. Rub your hands with water and shake off any excess, then use your fingers to spread the rice out in an even layer on the nori, leaving a gap of about 3cm uncovered along the far edge of the nori (you’ll use this to seal the roll).
3 Spread the spicy tuna mixture over the rice along the near edge, about 1cm from the edge.
4 Use the tea towel to curl up the edge of the nori, over the filling, tightening the roll as you go with gentle pressure. When you’ve rolled to the far edge of the nori, use a little water on your fingers to dampen the exposed nori, and press the roll together to seal. With a little luck you’ll have a tight, structurally sound spicy tuna roll — slice with a sharp, wet knife, and enjoy with typical sushi accoutrements.
Sushi rice is simply Japanese rice dressed with a seasoned vinegar, a practice now done mainly for flavour, but that has its roots in the need to preserve both the rice and the fish with acidity and salt in the days before refrigeration. It’s subtle, but it adds an important element of seasoning that brings out the natural sweetness of both the rice and the fish.
Takes: 30 mins
Makes: approx. 600g
300g Japanese rice, washed
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp caster or granulated sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 Wash the rice to remove excess starch (it can make the rice overly sticky). Using plenty of water, rub the rice between your fingers, rough it up a bit and swish the water around. Drain off the water, refill it, and repeat three times or so — you’re looking for the water to clarify as more and more starch is washed away. It’ll never be pristinely clear — just get it down to a light haze rather than a thick fog.
2 Add the rice to a medium-sized pan containing 390ml cold water. Swirl the pan to distribute the rice grains in an even layer. Place the pan on a small burner on a high heat and bring it to the boil. Now reduce the heat to as low as possible and put the lid on the pan. Leave it for 15 mins, resisting the urge to check on it. If you lift the lid too often, moisture will escape and you may end up with rice that’s undercooked or burnt — or both.
3 While the rice is cooking, stir together the vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl until the sugar and salt dissolve.
4 Turn off the hob, remove the lid from the pan and fluff the rice with a fork or chopsticks to aerate and redistribute the grains. Put the lid back on and let the pan sit for about 5 mins for the rice to soak up any remaining moisture.
5 Spread out the rice in a large bowl or tray and sprinkle over the seasoned vinegar. Mix the vinegar through the rice with a rice paddle or spatula, using slicing and turning motions. Return the rice to the cooking pan or to a plastic container to keep it warm — sushi is best when the rice is slightly above body temperature.
These recipes are extracted from JapanEasy by Tim Anderson (£20, Hardie Grant).