Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fast, Fun & Fresh Japanese Sushi


It is good to specify that the sushi is rice seasoned with rice vinegar. The term sushi in Japan is defined as a set of preparations of rice, acidulated with vinegar, which is accompanied with other ingredients, usually fish or vegetables. In Japan it is a daily food served in many variations, in the numerous sushi bars, to the most elegant banquets that are on the side of the road. The most common mistake is to confuse sushi and sashimi, in fact this is only the raw fish. As introductory information must therefore emphasize that sushi can also be absent in the fish, because what sets it apart is the seasoned rice.

Outside of Japan, sushi has become characteristic element of the Japanese kitchen. The sushi bars and Japanese restaurants have spread throughout the world and have specialized mainly in sushi made ​​with raw fish, which is most requested and appreciated.

Sushi was born as a method of preservation in the fifth century BC, when the fish were wrapped fermented from rice and salt. Over the centuries, the technique has been refined more and more, thanks to the introduction of other ingredients such as vinegar, which is still part of the preparation. The first sushi bar dates back from the early nineteenth century when Yohei Hanaya began to serve his banquet nigiri sushi, a morsel of rice vinegar flavored with a little slice of raw fish. The merit of Hanaya was to have drastically reduced the preparation time of traditional sushi and for this, his sushi spread very quickly throughout Japan.



The different types of sushi. Trying to have a much clearer view of the complexity of a world food that we simply call "sushi", it is advisable to clarify all the details of this dish. The hosomaki is a rolled sushi, with a sheet of nori seaweed outside, rice and a single ingredient. The central ingredient can be either a stick of fresh fish, but also vegetables such as cucumber or avocado.  


The futomaki is a preparation of the Japanese sushi and is stuffed with rice and at least 4 ingredients of your choice. The nigiri sushi is a preparation consisting of a Japanese rice dumpling covered with a slice of fish or other ingredients. 

The gunkmaki is a preparation of sushi, consisting of a rice dumpling wrapped in seaweed, covered with ingredients into small pieces. Temaki is a preparation of sushi, hand-rolled to form cones, made ​​with seaweeds, rice and ingredients of your choice. Temaki Roll very special, as it is more suitable for a meal with friends rather than to be eaten in a restaurant. It is nothing, in fact, a sheet of seaweed stuffed with rice and other ingredients, then rolled freehand, often in the shape of a cone. It should be consumed quickly, since the seaweed should be savored still crunchy.

The uramaki is a preparation of the Japanese sushi made ​​with rice on the outside and a stuffed variety, also known as the california roll. And the most classic piece a little rice dumpling covered with a dressing. The majority of times this dressing is simply fresh fish.
 
Gunkanmaki, despite its name, is a derivative of nigiri sushi. Created in a restaurant in Kyoto in 1931, it consists of a small dumpling, wrapped in a band of seaweed on top of which is placed a condiment, often something soft or chopped, such as eggs or fish. Inari sushi is a particular piece, comprising a small pouch made of fried tofu and stuffed with rice.
 
Oshi sushi is a pressed sushi. In a wooden box are arranged the various layers of rice and seasoning, which are then pressed to form a compact structure. Its a kind of sushi typical of Kansai, the area of ​​Oosaka, and in general the interiors of Japan.

We show you today how to prepare at home some types of sushi. The tools you will need to have are a wooden pan, to lay the rice for sushi, a very sharp knife to cut the sushi, a bamboo mat to roll it up. The ingredients needed for its implementation are small grains rounded rice, wasabi, vinegar. Obviously another essential ingredient is the fish that must be of excellent quality and especially knocked down, or frozen at the correct temperature.

To make sushi, you will first need to prepare the rice. After this time, place the rice in a pot not too wide and cover flush with the water, which must cover it entirely. Take the piece of seaweed if in your possession, make small cuts to unleash the aromas, add the seaweed with rice, cover with a lid and bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not open the lid more until you feel the boil.

Prepare the hangiri, the appropriate waste timber in which rest the rice, wet the container with cold running water well and pat it dry with a clean cloth. If you do not have hangiri, you can use a large bowl and down, not of metal. Meanwhile, the rice comes to a boil, prepare the sauce: Pour the rice vinegar in a small saucepan, add sugar and salt, and heat the whole to dissolve the sugar, bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let cool. 

As soon as the rice water boil, simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, then kill the algae with a clamp, cover again with the lid, reduce the heat and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand covered for another 10 minutes.


Transfer the rice, take a wooden spoon preferably the Shamoji, flat spatula or rounded and, holding it over the rice, over mix rice vinegar, so that it goes to spray it and be better distributed. Smash the rice with the cutting blade, not to crush the rice and in the meantime, with the other hand, bursts the rice with a plastic plate or a fan, to cool the whole and the vinegar to evaporate quickly. Once cooled to room temperature, cover with a clean cloth well moistened with cold water and let it sit for a few minutes. It is picked up to be used, let the rice be always covered with the damp cloth to prevent drying out fast.


Remember that to make sushi it requires some basic steps that repeat themselves. Before starting with the various preparations, cut the ingredients that you will use to sticks thickness of about a cm except in temaki that must be a little smaller, the thickness of the middle cm). The vegetables, for example, cucumber, avocado and carrot can also be blanched for a few minutes, and the fish, which must be fresh. 

Allow about 100 grams of fish per person to use in the various preparations. Every time you pick up the cooked rice, remember to wash your hands in a bowl of water with 2 tablespoons rice vinegar. Before cutting the sushi rolls, also wet the knife blade with the vinegar water. This is because the cooked rice is very sticky and tends to stick. Now you are ready to prepare your favorite sushi!

Before you can prepare anything you need to go to the fish market. With the main ingredient, you are ready to begin. If you want to bring to the table a cute dish, you will have to overcome the main difficulty of the preparation of sushi, namely the cutting precision of the ingredients, which must be maximum. 

The combination of colors is another aesthetic element to consider, so without being too bold just experiment! The sushi is beautiful that can be prepared with all the ingredients you want, changing both the vegetables and fish. The second difficulty you will encounter is balancing vinegar and sugar, to get the perfect condiment for rice.

Nigiri Sushi

Yield : 5 Servings ♥ Preparation time : 30 minutes ♥ Cooking time: 10 minutes ♥ Total Time: 50 minutes
Ingredients:

2 cups rice
5 slices assorted raw fish
2 tbsp wasabi paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger, julienne
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
Salt to taste


Recipe Method:

First put the rice in a bowl and rinse it well with water, until the water becomes clear.

Put it in a rice cooker or in a pot and add enough water. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes and then switch to low heat for another 15 minutes. After turning off the heat leave the rice in the pot for 10 minutes without removing the cover.

Meanwhile, pour the vinegar in a saucepan with soy sauce, sugar and salt and let them melt over low heat without boiling.

When the rice is ready remove the water and pour it in a bowl, preferably of wood. Pour the rice vinegar mixed with sugar and salt trying to do it in a uniform way while separating the rice. After mixing well put a cloth over it and let it cool.

Cut the fish into very thin slices, according to the width of the fish fillet and steam them in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Keep aside and let it cool.

Wet your hands in the water and make small balls of rice.

Keep a rice-dumpling in one hand and with the other take a piece of fish, with a finger sprinkle a little bit of wasabi on one side of the fish, so that the side with the wasabi is in contact with rice.

Make a slight pressure with two fingers to make sure that the fish does not fall off.

Repeat this process for each piece of sushi and serve on a platter accompanied by ginger and wasabi in a separate plate.

Keep them in the refrigerator, covered with a sheet of foil, until ready to serve.


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