Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Least Cost Effective Sushi - EVER

I often walk into the supermarket with little idea of what meal I want to create. The other day, I was on my way to the market, and I passed a sushi restaurant I have wanted to try out. My girlfriend and I contemplated going there instead of cooking, but I said, "Nay! I will make us sushi!" I've never made sushi, so this was a bit of an experiment, but I figured it would be fun to try.

Before I dove into the sushi production, I made a nice side for the meal. I bought eggplant, baby bok choy, and shitake mushroom, which I chopped and sliced along with some ginger and garlic.

After cutting up all of the veggies, I heated some olive oil in my wok, and added the garlic and ginger. Once those were translucent, I added the eggplant and mushroom and sauteed until they were starting to brown.
While the eggplant and mushroom were cooking, I wiped the bok choy with a wet paper towel to remove the dirt at the base of the stems. I then chopped it and added the stems and leaves to the stir fry. Once the leaves were wilted and the rest of the veggies were brown, I added a little soy sauce and some sesame seeds and set the veggies aside.

I then cut up some additional ginger to make a quick pickle ginger to go alongside the sushi. I used a spoon to peel the ginger. I cut the end to make a flat bottom and scraped the skin off by running the spoon down the ginger. This method is easier than trying to use a peeler which can take off chunks of ginger flesh (or finger flesh if you're sloppy.)
Once the ginger was peeled and thinly sliced, I put it in white vinegar and sugar and set it aside.

One of the hardest parts of making sushi is making the sticky rice. I started by washing the rice until the water became clear after running over the rice (this removes the starch). I then added the rice to water and brought to a boil, then I simmered for 20 minutes until the rice was soft and the liquid was absorbed. While the rice was cooking, I mixed vinegar, sugar, oil, and salt, heated until it was mixed and set it aside to cool. Once the rice was cool enough to handle, I mixed the vinegar mixture in and stirred until the rice was very sticky. You can see the recipe here.

For the rest of the sushi, I used cucumber, avocado, panko, spicy mayo (sriracha chili sauce, mayonnaise and honey), seaweed, and salmon. I bought the salmon from Whole Foods, and it was not sushi grade. I had originally planned on cooking it a little before putting it in the sushi, but I ended up using it raw. Next time I will either cook it or freeze it overnight before using to kill any potential bacteria. We fortunately didn't get sick at all from the fish, but when making sushi, this is definitely something to keep in mind. I cut the salmon up and mixed it with the spicy mayo, sliced the cucumber and avocado.

To construct the sushi, I spread the rice over the seaweed and shook some sesame seeds on top. I then covered it with plastic wrap and flipped it on the sushi roller.

I then added my ingredients, some panko for crunch, and rolled it up as tight as possible. I then used the roller to tighten the roll.

Once the roll was tightly wound, I cut the roll into 8 pieces and removed the plastic wrap.

I added some more spicy mayo and some reduced soy sauce and served. The sushi was good, but for all of the effort and the cost of buying the materials, it wasn't a very efficient meal. The effort I had to put in made me appreciate the art of sushi making and the skill of sushi chefs. Everything tasted good, but at the end of the day, going out would have been a lot easier. The experience was definitely new and exciting, and I'm happy I gave it a try.


SC Jaramillo said...

Nice. Give peanut oil a try for the stir fry sometime, and if you want heat, check out those little red chilies in any asian market. Nice photos BTW

Ty's Kitchen said...

Thanks! I would normally have used peanut oil for the stir fry, but I didn't have any in the kitchen... Peanut, vegetable, and canola oils are all good for stir fry because they have a higher burning temperature than olive oil.