A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
After months of hesitating to join Daring Cooks, I decided to take the plunge. I'm excited but at the same time scared - what if I can't meet up the challenges?
For my first Daring Cooks Challenge (the November 2009 one is brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen), we are asked to make sushi from scratch. Lucky me, I love sushi!
After a bit of researches, I found that the traditional form of sushi is fermented fish and rice, preserved with salt. The fermentation of fished and rice produce vinegar which breaks the fish down into amino acids. This results in 1 of 5 basic tastes (along with sweet, salty, etc.) called umami in Japanese (a.k.a. glutamates). Narezushi, the oldest form of sushi in Japan, still resembles closely to this process and it has evolved into Oshizushi, and finally Edomae Nigirizushi to which the world knows today as Sushi
Although sushi in various forms has been around for fourteen centuries, the modern version was invented in Japan by Hanaya Yohei (1799-1858) at the end of Edo period in Edo. An early form of fast food where a 'hand-formed' sliced fresh fish and vinegared rice ball could be eaten with one's hand on roadside or in a theatre. This sushi was known as Edomae zushi because it used freshly caught fish in the Edo-mae (Edo Bay or Tokyo Bay). Nowadays, sushi is made with various seafood, meats and vegetables, raw and cooked.
There are 4 parts in this challenge and I will show you how to make each of this in separate posts for easy reference:
It's really fun making your own sushi. I challenge you to do make some! But first, let's learn how to make Sushi Rice, the process is somewhat long but not as complex as it looks.
Total Preparation time: 1¾ hours
Sushi vinegar dressing
Preparing the Rice Vinegar Dressing
Turning out the rice
The rice turned out perfect and deliciously good. It's worth making your own sushi vingear as you will taste a big difference. (I did not add sake or dashi konbu to my rice)
Sushi is easy and cheap to make at home. Best of all, you do not need to use any special equipment to make this and it is fun to make together with family and friends.
To maximize your time in preparing sushi, prepare your rice vinegar dressing, sushi fillings and toppings while rice is draining and soaking.
If you cannot get sushi Rice, replace it with short (round or pearl) or medium grain rice. Do not use Arborio, long-grain, or parboiled white rice.
For rice vinegar, make sure there is no salt or sugar added in it. You can substitute it with apple cider vinegar, and if you don't have apple cider vinegar, use mild white wine vinegar or mild red wine vinegar. Do not use normal white vinegar - it's too harsh.
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.
Keeping the rice moist
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 it on the counter covered at room temperature. Sushi rice is best used when it is at room temperature. Cooked sushi rice can be placed in plastic bags and frozen for 3 months, microwave when needed.