Does your constant craving for sushi tighten your purse strings? Or you love sushi but with your own set of condiments?
You need not stride into a specialty restaurant homed in a premium property every time to satiate your cravings. Sushi can be made at home with easily accessible ingredients.
Every country has its rice specialties. If we have our biryanis and a variety of sadams/bhaats, Japan has given sushi to the world. Su stands for vinegar and me-shi is cooked rice. Authentic sushi is vinegared rice with a stuffing (usually raw fish) and rolled in seaweed. Indians are not comfortable eating raw fish or seaweed, hence chefs have tailored sushi to suit our Indian palate with spicy mayo, spinach, the millennial favourite avocado or even mango pieces, and wrapped them in zucchini sheets. It can also be made without an external wrap.
The different types of sushis are nigiri served with a topping (usually fish/avocado) on sushi rice while maki is rice and stuffing wrapped in seaweed. Uramaki comes with seaweed wrap around the filling and rice on the outside.
On tweaking sushi, Mumbai-based consultant chef Ritesh Tulsian says, “We finish our sushis with spicy sauces made with mayonnaise. This makes them a bit more desirable as it adds richness, texture and a certain level of known flavours. A lot of vegetarian sushi recipes are created using ingredients such as avocado, cream cheese, cucumber, carrot and lettuce.”
Togarashi, a spice blend from Japan, is added to get that zing in them. “Tempura-based sushis are warm so again it helps in its acceptance as cold appetizers do not sell as much as hot appetizers in India.” Just like chutneys, raitas and pickles which are served with our meals, the Japanese rice specialty too has a few accompaniments. Sushi is always served with soy sauce, wasabi and gari (pickled ginger).
Eating sushi demands specific etiquette, says Amit Shetty, sous chef at Pa Pa Ya, BKC. “Always eat sushi with hands instead of chopsticks. Never mix wasabi with soy sauce, if required apply it on sushi. A sushi roll is always dipped, just a little bit in soy sauce and not entirely.”
Also, one is supposed to have traditional sushi in one bite. It should not be sliced or divided into pieces, unless it is the larger California roll. Wasabi is spicy and very strong. It’s also important to note that the pickled ginger must not be used as a garnish but simply as a palate cleanser. It expels the taste from your last sushi roll – bracing you for the next dish. It’s enjoyed best with Japanese rice wine sake.
AVOCADO & MANGO URAMAKI
For sushi rice:
Sticky rice - ½ cup
Vinegar -1/5 cup
Sugar - 1/5 cup
For sushi rolling:
Avocado -1 bowl cut lengthwise
Alphonso mango 1 bowl, cut lengthwise
Wasabi paste -1tsp
1 Sushi nori
Gari -1 tsp
Soy - 2 tsp
Black and white sesame -1/2tsp each
For cooking rice:
1. Wash and rinse the rice in running water to extract excess starch (Repeat it 5 times).
2. Boil the rice with water with the ratio of 1:1 ¼.
3. Make the sushi vinegar by mixing vinegar, sugar and salt.
4. Once the rice is cooked, mix rice and sushi vinegar together and keep it covered with a moist cloth until further use.
For rolling the sushi:
1. Place the nori sheet on the sushi mat and uniformly spread a handful of sushi rice on the sheet.
2. Sprinkle a mix of white and black sesame seeds on the sushi rice.
3. Flip the nori sheet in such a manner that the sushi rice is facing the sushi mat.
4. Place the cut alphonso mango and avocado on the nori sheet.
5. Gently roll the sushi into a square shape applying even pressure throughout the roll and cut into 8 equal pieces with a sharp knife.
6. Serve it with gari, wasabi and soy.
— Recipe by Master Chef Amit Patra, Edo Restaurant & Bar, ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru
Making sushi at home can be daunting for the unversed due to unfamiliar ingredients, or rolling maki on a sushi mat. Here’s a list of substitutes recommended by Amit Shetty, sous chef at Pa Pa Ya, BKC:
Sushi mat = Parchment paper or thick towel
Nori = Lettuce, paper-thin omelette, smoked salmon, pickled Napa cabbage, thin cucumber slices
Sushi rice = Arborio or any sticky rice
Gari = Pickled plum, kimchi, home pickled ginger
Wasabi = Mustard powder/spicy brown mustard paste