Saturday, January 9, 2010
Homemade Cucumber Rolls
I love sushi - all types of sushi rolls, nigiri sushi, chirashi sushi, you name it. I don't normally buy it because it's expensive, but sometimes I'll splurge and bring some home. It never occurred to me to try making it myself, I thought it would be too difficult. But then what do you think popped up in my Google Reader one day right before the holidays? A recipe for Cucumber Sushi at (Never) Too Many Cooks! And it looked easy! So I high-tailed it to the grocery store and bought the necessary ingredients - a bamboo mat, some sushi rice, some nori and a hothouse cucumber. And armed with a printout of said recipe, I made dynamite-looking (if I say so myself) Cucumber Rolls for Christmas. It was easy and fun, and now making suhi rolls is almost as much of an addiction as making spring rolls (or summer rolls). So far I've made these Cucumber Rolls and Avocado Rolls. Next on my list are Tuna Rolls and California Rolls. I can hardly wait.
(The original recipe calls for mirin - the only mirin I can find contains corn syrup, so I've substituted a sweet rice vinegar mixture instead. I think sake might work too, or maybe a bit of sherry.)
What you'll need:
a bamboo rolling mat (you can find these in the Asian section of your grocery store, they are not expensive)
2 cups sushi rice, uncooked
Sweetened vinegar (from this recipe here): 3 tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. salt
one hothouse cucumer
wasabi and pickled ginger to serve
(For the gluten intolerant lucky enough to tolerate soy, serve with wheat-free soy sauce. Otherwise you can try UnSoy Sauce mixed with a little chili oil, but wasabi and ginger work just fine.)
What to do:
A couple of hours before you want to serve the rolls, cook the sushi rice in a rice cooker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Let the rice cool to room temperature. While the rice is cooking, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved - do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. When the rice has cooled, sprinkle with the sweetened vinegar and fluff gently with a wooden spoon. Start with 1 tbsp. of the vinegar, adding more to taste if desired. Set aside.
Prepare the cucumber: Wash and cut the cucumber into quarters then de-seed it. Cut into long thin strips. I don't bother to peel it since the skin is thin and unwaxed, but you can if you like.
Lay a sheet of nori on the rolling mat. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup rice over the nori, leaving 1/2 inch at the top. Wet your hands and press the rice nice and tight to about 1/4 inch thick - wetting your hands will keep the rice from sticking to them.
Place 4 or 5 cucumber strips in the center of the rice-covered nori.
Begin rolling by placing your fingers under the bamboo mat and rolling the nori in on itself.
Keep rolling, adjusting the mat as you go - not too tight or the nori will split.
Honestly I just start rolling with the mat and finish rolling with my hands so I can feel and see what's going on, but you should do whatever works best for you.
When you are finished rolling, wet the 1/2 inch edge with a little water and press to seal. Let the roll sit for a minute, then transfer to a cutting board. Wet a sharp knife with a little water and cut the roll into 1 inch pieces. You may have to re-wet the knife every few slices.
Place sushi rolls on a plate. Serve at room temperature with wasabi and pickled ginger. And enjoy! Not only is this easy and fun, it's much less expensive than store-bought! This recipe makes 3 rolls that after slicing make about 24 cucumber rolls.