Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sushi & Rice Balls

I have had sushi on the brain lately!

For Valentine's we picked up some sushi to enjoy after the kids went to bed, and while it was delicious, we both said "we are never buying sushi again!". It cost $40 just to buy a few rolls (we didn't even buy the pricier ones), and there was not much food to show for it. I could maybe understand those prices for exotic ingredients, but most of the rolls on our local menu were made with things I can easily buy like avacado, cucumber, and cooked shrimp or crab.

We've tried making sushi in the past with mixed results. The first time our nori was so fishy smelling that I quickly lost my appetite and couldn't bear to make or eat sushi for a long time. My friend sent me some soy wrappers and we had tried again. Here is a 7 year old photo, yikes! ~

Sesame wrapper sushi

Once we ran out of soy wrappers a long time passed before I decided that we must have just had a bad brand of nori, so I bought a new pack and we had no problems with it. It was always a little tricky rolling the sushi, but fun to try.

It has been years since our last attempt, but I bought some sushi rice recently to try making rice balls. A couple of days after the V-day sushi dinner I found myself with a block of free time and I realized I already had nori and crab sticks from making bentos. I grabbed some asparagus from the fridge, and feeling adventurous, I whipped these up along with some eel sauce ~

2-14 Sushi

The sushi was tasty & soooo much easier to roll this time! The things that really made a difference were ~

1) For each roll I measured out 1 cup of sushi rice and then mixed in 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp. sugar, and a dash of salt. (I saw lots of different ratios used for sushi seasoning & tried a few, but this seemed like just the right touch of flavor) In the past Justin had problems with using too much rice, which made it hard to roll, so knowing exactly how much rice to use was a big help.

2) The rice is super sticky, and most directions will tell you to dip your fingers in a water & vinegar mix before spreading it on the nori, but it was always a mess. This time I saw some directions that mentioned using a spoon, and this worked *much* better for me. I dipped the spoon in water again & again and the rice barely stuck to it, and everything was easier to handle without sticky fingers.

3) I started the roll from the bottom, then folded the sushi mat back a few inches before continuing. In the past I never knew what to do with the mat half-way through, but this got it out of the way and it seemed much simpler to finish this way.

I made two rolls and they were quickly devoured by me and my 3 year old. He loves it! Then I used the rest of the rice to form some onigiri triangle and some rice balls. I wrapped the rice in plastic wrap before forming them to keep my hands from getting sticky. The top triangle was the recommended 1/3 cup, but I made the rest with 1/4. Orson was reluctant to try these, but loved them once he did.

2-14 Rice balls

Anyway, my sushi lunch experiment was so successful that I couldn't wait to make some for my husband for a dinner. I used the crab and asparagus again and each roll only took me about 5 minutes! There were even leftovers for lunch, and after all of that I needed another break from eating sushi, haha. I have been brimming with ideas for new rolls though! One day I'm sure we'll grab some sushi-grade fish at the Asian market, but for now I'm trying to think of things we can get at our local grocery store ~ cooked seafood, veggies, and a few crazy ingredients. ;)

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