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Sushi at Home

The best kept secret of sushi is that while it looks spectacular, it's actually easy and fun to make. You can whip up a sushi meal in short order with a few key ingredients available at Hy-Vee. Let's get started.

Sushi used to be an exotic treat, but not anymore. This Japanese delicacy has gone mainstream in the U.S. and not only are sushi houses prolific these days, but sushi ingredients are readily available as well. It’s time to make sushi at home!

Many believe sushi is raw fish or at least raw seafood. It can be, but sushi is actually the method for assembling the meal—and it’s not limited to seafood. For our recipes, we’ve chosen shrimp, imitation crab, smoked salmon and even avocado as main ingredients. Kids get excited about making their own sushi rolls too. They might include lunch meat or peanut butter and jelly. Fruit and chocolate fudge are in our recipe for Sweet Fruit Roll.

The popularity is not hard to understand. The combination of fragrant white rice, briny seaweed paper and zesty fillings produces clean, vibrant flavors that are addictive, whether for an enticing snack or a light dinner.

The Japanese sushi tradition is centuries old, and takes years to master. But many types of sushi are so simple, anyone can make them. An easy type is maki-zushi, which is rolled. It only requires a sushi mat and a few ingredients, which are available at Hy-Vee.

The first ingredient is a short-grained sushi rice that’s sticky—but not gummy—when cooked properly. The stickiness helps bind the roll. To boost flavor, the rice gets tossed with a seasoned vinegar.

The other component is nori, a processed and edible green seaweed paper. Rice is spread on the nori, which is generally toasted until crisp to make it less chewy. Nori has a rough side and a shiny side. Because the shiny side is prettier, it always faces out.

How to Roll Sushi
As with anything, sushi takes practice so don't worry about being perfect your first time out. The roll will taste good regardless. Savor it and then make another!

Step 1: Empty the hot rice into a casserole dish, and sprinkle with seasoned rice vinegar, then give it a stir with a bamboo spatula until all the rice has been coated by the vinegar.
Step 2: For more delicate nori, try this trick: After trimming the nori, place the sheets on a baking sheet and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heating element for about five seconds.
Step 3: Now you’re ready to roll! Place a nori sheet on your bamboo mat shiny side down. Using damp fingers, spread 1/2 cup of the cooled rice on the rough side in an even layer.
Step 4: Work like a sushi chef and have all the filling ingredients prepared and laid out on a platter before you start assembling the sushi. This will make rolling go quickly and smoothly.
Step 5: Add your fillings—not too much!—then use your thumbs to lift the front of the mat up and over the rice and filling. As you roll, the edges of the nori should meet, forming a cylinder.
Step 6: To cut each roll into six even pieces, first cut them in half with a sharp chef’s knife. Wipe the blade with a moistened towel to prevent sticking, then cut each roll half into three pieces.

No Mat, No Problem
The bamboo mat traditionally used to prepare sushi is an ideal tool. It is firm but flexible and doesn’t stick to the sushi rice. However, if you don’t have a mat, there’s an easy replacement. Improvise by using a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Lay the bag out flat, place the nori on the bag and proceed as you would with a bamboo mat. The rice will roll beautifully without sticking.

California Roll
Crispy Shrimp Roll

Source: Hy-Vee Seasons Health 2016.