if you follow my little old blog, you'll know that i'm quite frankly sushi mad. so when i was asked if i'd like a preview of the upcoming sushi simplicity by miyuki matsuo it was a no brainer. on the shelves in early 2014, i couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy and try out some diy sushi at home! sadly i don't have a sushi belt in my house (yet) but i have to say still had lots of fun playing around with techniques colours, and flavours.
as the title suggests, the book makes sushi simple. the ingredients and presentation ideas run from basic sushi to more advanced techniques. though in a lot of the examples it is more a case of having lots of time to create something which looks really quite impressive :)
this book is really family friendly and i could imagine parents trying some of the recipes out with their children - start them young! equally, you could make a really fancy platter for a dinner party with friends.
so i'm afraid i have to start with the boring bit... preparing and making sushi rice! this is a bit time consuming as you need to wash the rice, boil it and let it rest before using it. that said, the steps were simple to follow and you could definitely make this ahead.
you can make regular sushi rice or season it with rice wine vinegar. i prefer the seasoned version. you can also mix the rice with wholemeal rice for the mixed effect you sometimes see in sushi.
the consistency you're looking for is a sticky, glutinous texture. though i have to admit i just followed the recipe steps which worked out really well. 10/10 for that! pictured is 200g (dry) of sushi rice with 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar.
now the fun bit! the book suggests some fun presentation ideas as well as colours of foods to achieve the desired effect.
i went for smoked salmon, seafood sticks, spring onions, white onions and avocado. later on i also used black pepper and mayonnaise to serve. there are lots of vegetarian ideas as well as how to work with premium sushi grade fish and how to make a japanese omelette.
i can't deny, i loved laying it out like i was on blue peter or something :)
first i had a little go at one of the stacked sushi creations! the idea is that you use a cup, perhaps a cake cutter or even make your own with the cut off base of a juice carton. then stack up various colours between rice to make whatever you fancy! just remember the first thing you put in will be on top so probably best to start with the rice to bind it.
you'll find that cling film is your best friend. use a little bit round your hands to press down the rice without getting sticky hands. though, you can't really avoid getting a tad messy.
next up, strips of smoked salmon...
followed by more rice and then some shredded seafood sticks. afterwards i thought maybe some mashed avocado or some black pepper in the sushi rice would have been a nice idea.
carefully flip it over and decorate. i used some sliced spring onion, black pepper and a drizzle of mayo. i found ramekin to be a bad choice and fiddly to remove from - though the book did mention that metal is easier to use than ceramic.
next i had a go at the sushi balls. there were pages upon pages of these with the likes of scallops, salmon, tuna, beans, omelette and even ham on top. these would be great fun with kids but again look quite effective. i think to avoid spending lots of money on ingredients you really have to plan a few of the main dishes and try and use the same thing in a few types. i personally don't have easy access to sushi grade fish in the midlands so i just went with smoked. so please be careful with raw fish if you're making this at home.
again with your new mate mr cling film, you begin by rolling up the rice in a ball. in this case, you roll the smoked salmon back into the ball like below and it stuck on top nicely. whereas with less flexible toppings such as the avocado i just placed them on top and hoped for the best!
some smoked salmon roses had caught my eye too. since i was making noodles and had some smoked salmon i thought i'd have a go at these. the leaves were made from basil!
i also had a go at something that wasn't in the book - temaki which are also known as handrolls. for these, i used a nori (toasted seaweed) sheet and rolled up the ingredients like a mini bunch of flowers. i have made these a few times before but struggled a bit this time as i didn't have a rolling mat and the nori gets easily crumpled. that said, i'm always so surprised at how well stocked supermarkets are these days in the likes of nori, wasabi, rolling mats and even whole sushi kits.
my little sushi platter for, ahem, one.
don't forget the soy sauce! i picked this cute soy sauce dish up at the chinese supermarket nearby me.
what do you think? would you try making sushi at home?
if you're mad about miso like me - you might enjoy the sushi section of my blog.
for other japanese, vietnamese and chinese inspired recipe adventures, you might like these: