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Who Would Have Thought Raw Fish Could Be So Tasty?


Sushi is an enjoyable part of a meal or enjoyed on its own. Traditionally made with cooked rice mixed with a little rice vinegar then shaped into bite-sized pieces topped with raw seafood. Other varieties come in the form of a long roll wrapped in seaweed "paper". This roll contains strips of vegetables and assorted seafood and is served by slicing it into small, bite-sized pieces.

In earlier days, sushi is regarded as exotic and can be found only in specialty Japanese restaurants. Now, this food item has transcended its origins and have become so popular that you can get your sushi fix from delis and supermarkets.

Making sushi at home can be a worthwhile experiment for the die-hard sushi lover. You get to choose what goes in your sushi and you get to have your favorite treat anytime. You will need a bamboo rolling mat, a cutting board, a sharp knife and a large bowl.

The rice is the foundation on which you will build your sushi. Good varieties include short grain or calrose rice. You might as well cook the fish you're planning on using if you insist on using brown or instant rice because you can never make decent sushi this way. Cook rice a little less compared to other Asian dishes. Never to the point of being mushy, sushi rice has to have a nice texture to it. Put your rice in a mixing bowl so you can add vinegar to it. A tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of rice is about the right proportion. Mix them well and let the mixture cool. Sushi is made with rice that has significantly cooled down.

While waiting for the rice to cool, you can prepare the other ingredients. Take your nori seaweed - bought from Asian specialty groceries - and lay it on top of your bamboo rolling mat. You can use plastic wrap over the bamboo mat to keep things clean. Spread rice over the seaweed, leaving around an inch of seaweed exposed for allowance when rolling. Don't fall for the common mistake of using too much rice. Limit thickness to just ¼ of an inch - the nori should still be visible through the rice layer. Overloading with rice will result in an uneven roll.

Chose one edge where you will place the fish and vegetables. You will start rolling from this edge. A new fusion of flavors is the California roll. It combines avocado with crab meat and cucumber. Other variations exist and you can experiment. The good thing about making sushi at home is that you are only limited by your imagination. You don't want to put too much weight on the bamboo mat when rolling. Just get one edge started and once that reaches around the midpoint of the nori sheet, you can start peeling away the plastic. Keep going until you reach the other end.

Roll it a few times on the bamboo mat to ensure that it will not unravel when you slice it. Slice the finished roll into six or eight equal parts. Serve by stacking but arrange in a way that the filling - with all its contrasting colors framed by the whiteness of the rice is shown to add to the appeal of this delicacy.

 


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