Things of Japanese-ish Origin

On new years eve, C and I made amazing sushi!

I have my friend M to thank for this. In my earlier years a friend and I often made sushi together – there was a certain glorious period of time where she would predictably bring homemade sushi to potlucks while I would bring ambrosia salad (in the times before lactose intolerance), but i digress… Recently, homemade sushi just seemed like more work than it’s worth, considering that there is a lot of delicious sushi establishments to visit in this fine city. But last time I was out at the farm with A&M we made a whole bunch of rolls, and boy-o, is homemade sushi a good thing. First of all, there is the choice of vegetarian toppings to consider, which since we are mostly not eating fish these days, limits the options considerably. Secondly, even if it is a bit more finicky and labour intensive then the average dinner, the ingredients are so inexpensive and the process itself is simple. Which means, once you commit to the project, you can pretty easily make way, way more sushi than you can eat in one sitting, and it’s going to be really tasty. I like that kind of return. And just like that, I’m a born again homemade sushi maker. [And goodness knows I’m down for finicky food projects, i mean, come on.]

So if anybody feels up for a project, I thought I’d give you some tips that worked out well for us. Verbally, at least – I didn’t get any pictures of the process itself, owing to my hands being covered in rice at the time. But look, here’s a nice photo tutorial to walk you through the actual rolling process.

So, tips:

1. Packages of nori are usually 10 sheets. By fluke, we made exactly the right amount of rice to make up the whole package. The secret amount is 2.5 cups of dry sushi rice, with 3 3/4 cups of water.  When it’s cooked, transfer it to a wide (non metallic) platter and sprinkle with 6 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar, and fold it gentle with a spatula or paddle to distribute the vinegar. Mind you, this made a lot of sushi. hmmm….

2. exciting toppings: besides the standard avocado and cucumber, we did a marinated carrot, spicy tofu, and spinach rolls.

For the marinated carrot, bring to a boil 1/8 cup each water, mirin, and seasoned rice vinegar, plus a pinch of salt. Pour this over your very thinly sliced carrot and let marinate a few hours. The hot vinegar cooks and pickles the carrot a little, making a very tasty and tender sushi filling.

For the tofu, i used extra firm tofu cut just in 1/8″ slabs off the block, shallow fried in canola oil with a little garlic and quite a lot of salt. Resist flipping them frequently, otherwise they won’t get brown and crispy. Transfer to paper towel to cool, then slice into thin strips.

The spiciness came from the spicy mayo I made, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1/2 clove garlic, and 2-3 tbsps garlic-chili sauce (sambal olek type sauce). We actually ended up putting this mayo in nearly every roll, it was that good.

For the spinach, i just steam fried fresh torn up spinach pieces in the cast iron pan after the tofu was done, with a tiny splash of water and the delicious oily residue left over from the tofu. When it was wilted and bright green, I transferred it to a bowl to cool, then squeezed the living daylights out of it (residual water) so that it wouldn’t make the rolls soggy.

3. do it with a friend, and then share the sushi with them. Way more fun that way.

4. eat your sushi with sake, and champagne, and toast to your successes! (this tip is essential.)

Hmm… yum. We didn’t make the inari, but only because we couldn’t find the pockets! Does anyone know where to buy inari wrappers in toronto? I would be infinitely grateful if you could let me in on the secret.

And here is the other Japanese-ish thing I’ve been working on:

The noro scarf! I knit a lot on the train over the holidays. I think knitting and trains and holidays were made for one another. Please ignore the hilarious wandering of my centre seam… I’ve decided to love it as it is.

That’s all for today! Hoping that you are all having a lovely one.




One Response

  1. your scarf looks great! it was a bit blurry when you were showing me on skype, but very very pretty here in this other means of seeing it via internet!

    thanks for the sushi help. fun fact! in korea, sushi is raw fish, and sushi as you’ve shown here is “kimbap”. fun! fact.

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