Monday, 21 July 2008

Royal Foodie Joust - Inside-Out California Rolls

I am almost afraid to enter this month's Royal Foodie Joust. The entries so far are beyond amazing. If it were not for my daughter's pleading for me to make sushi, I might have procrastinated until the end of the month.

I have made California rolls before. They are fun to do and not as hard as you would think. This time, however, I decided to do inside-out rolls to display the sesame seeds that are part of the three required ingredients. The other two being cilantro and seafood.

Rather than try to explain how to roll sushi rolls (maki), here is a good link with videos.

To make inside-out rolls, I lay a piece of plastic wrap down on my rolling mat on a wood cutting block and spread the seasoned rice* over it. I covered it with a sheet of nori and a little more rice. I spread a little mayo and wasabi on the top rice and placed crab meat, avocado, cilantro and cucumber in a row in the middle. I then rolled it tightly and carefully from one end like a cigar. When I got to the last inch of nori, which I had left free of rice, I sprinkled some rice vinegar on it and finished rolling until it was sealed. I rolled the completed roll in black sesame seeds and placed the it aside on the seam for a bit to rest. Then I sliced the roll into rounds, dipping a thin knife into rice vinegar to keep it clean.

The inside out roll was a lot harder that a traditional California roll, it was not as tidy in the end but it still tasted great. The sushi was served with gari - pickled ginger - soy sauce and wasabi.

Notes from my kitchen -
Sushi rolling mats are cheap, cheap, cheap. Get a couple and practice with friends and family. Even if you make a mess the first few times it will still taste good.

Put all your fillings out before you start - mise en place. Cucumber, crab leg (made from fish, not crab usually) and avocado are traditional for California rolls, but you can put in whatever you want.

The mayo may sound odd but it is good. Try it!

Wasabi is strong, better to put too little in the roll than not enough. You can always add more to your dipping sauce (soy sauce).

Sushi is finger food. Hands are allowed.

"Sushi" refers to the rice. You can make sushi without fish but not without rice. The raw fish without the rice is called sashimi.

I make my sushi rice in my rice cooker. Then I empty it into a wooden bowl and cut through it with a wooden paddle, adding rice wine vinegar to taste. They say to buy unseasoned vinegar and season it yourself with a little sugar and salt, but I found a seasoned one that I really like - President's Choice (Canadian).

Keep a bowl of the vinegar handy for keeping your hands and knife clean.

The cook gets to eat the ends!