These little Japanese sandwiches, for that’s what sushi is – they didn’t have bread in Tokyo, are ideal party food items, an elegant starter option or a fun light lunch when you need to eat food big on fresh taste.
Traditionally, sushi (vinegared rice) is served with seaweed (nori) and raw fish. Nowadays, all sorts of fillings are finding themselves wrapped in the Oriental butty, mind you I’ve not made a Cheddar and Branston Pickle roll to date.. Keep watching this space….Not sure what Jiro would say, actually I know exactly what he would say, “WTF?”
For the sushi
Sushi rice…..500g, well rinsed, until the water runs clear.
Kombu Seaweed……. I piece rinsed.
Japanese rice vinegar….. 2 tablespoons
For the beef
250g beef fillet, cut into finger sized strips.
2 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar.
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic.
1 tablespoon pure Japanese sesame oil.
2 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce.
1 tablespoon mirin.
1 tablespoon sake.
3 tablespoons sugar.
2 tablespoons of Sambal Oelek.
Peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying.
Nori seaweed sheets.
Spring onions cut into fine strips.
Pickled daikon, cut into strip.
Pickled cucumber.. see recipe posted earlier.. garnish.
Pickled ginger. Either make your own or buy from an Oriental store.
Sushi rolling mat.. optional.
Wasabi powder, made into paste.
Kikkoman soy sauce for dipping.
Ponzu sauce for dipping.
Umeboshi plums……. Garnish.
Shiso leaves…. garnish.
There are several methods to cook the rice, I prefer this one.
Add your rinsed rice and Kombu to a pan of cold water, stir gently to separate the rice. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the grains are not stuck together. Once the rice water has reached boiling point turn off the heat, put a tea towel over the pot then a heavy lid. The rice will cook away gently. Check it after 10 minutes, you want rice just as it passes the al dente stage but not soft & mushy. Once rice is cooked, drain and remove the kombu which you will discard.
Whist your rice cooks mix together all the other seasonings, making certain that the sugar and salt have completely dissolved in the liquid.
Tip your warm rice into a large mixing bowl, gently add the seasoning with one hand whilst fanning (seriously) the rice with your great aunt’s fan or a piece of cardboard. Gently fold the rice with a wooden spoon to ensure every grain has been coated. Rest aside to cool.
Mix all the seasonings for the beef thoroughly, add the beef and leave to marinate for a couple of hours, if you’re able.
Stir fry the beef until medium rare in smoking hot oil, don’t set it on fire or burn yourself, you have been warned. This should only take about 2 minutes. Leave to cool.
Take a sheet of nori, I think most nori available these days has been pre-toasted, and place it on the rolling mat, if you are going to use one. Spread a thin layer of rice over about two-thirds of the surface. From left to right lay a narrow row of spring onions in the middle of the rice, sticking out ever so slightly at both ends. Now put a layer of your beef, smeared with wasabi paste on top. Next a layer of pickled ginger then a squeeze of mayonnaise if using.
Roll up with the mat or if not using one imaging you’re rolling a cigar in a Cuban bar. Set aside for a short while with the seam side down.
Wooden sushi boards are great but a chopping board, mirror, slate or indeed any nice serving plate work equally as well. Decorate your board with pickled cucumber, shiso leaves, pickled plums, pickled ginger and put a splash of soy and ponzu in dipping bowls. With a very sharp knife, most important, cut your sushi’s into pieces. Between 6 and 9 per roll, I like 8.
You could substitute the beef for turkey, any meat actually, fish – raw or cooked, haggis – go on, or of course a vegetarian filling.
The rice and meat filling can be prepared in advance, just make sure you store your cooked and seasoned rice in a refrigerator, although, bring it to room temperature for serving.