Last week Ian and I made up a big batch of gyoza, or Japanese pork and cabbage dumplings. We got the recipe from one of my very favourite chefs, Anna Olson, here. It turned out amazingly well, and I'm super impressed with how authentic it tastes, even though Ian and I always opt to use low sodium soya sauce. It made over 100 dumplings, and you just freeze them. We had them twice last week, but decided that they're not quite the same without sushi too. So we figured we'd give that a shot this week.
It's actually pretty easy to make sushi. I mean, it must be. I made it in 8th grade, that was over 15 years ago (like 18 years ago!? Holy!) and I can still remember the basics. We opted to make plain ol' California rolls, because we both really like those. They're the ones with cucumber, avacado, and crab.
First I cooked the rice. You have to use short grain white rice, and you should rinse it before you cook it. I rinsed it about three times I think, until the water is mostly clear. Then you should let the rice drain for a while. Then you cook the rise (about twice as much water to rice ration I believe) using the pretty standard rice cooking method. Boil water with salt, add rice. When all the water is absorbed, take it off the stove and let it sit for a few more minutes. Now, apparently, at this point, you should add some rice wine vinegar and sugar. So last night I did this. But tonight I didn't and there really wasn't too much different. Although I do think it was maybe a bit nicer last night. Anyways, I think I only added about a tablespoon of rice vinegar, and a teaspoon of sugar. You don't really want to taste it, I don't think...
So then you let the rice cool. I've heard things about bacteria growing really fast on rice so I put it straight in the fridge at this point.
Then you slice up your veggies, pretty small, think "match sticks" for the cucumber, and small chunks for the avacado. I shredded the crab too, and added some Japanese mayo.
I used plain ol' plastic wrap to help roll my sushi. So I laid out a piece of plastic wrap, placed a piece of nori over it, then covered it with a thin layer of rice. Make sure to leave about a cm at the end, to seal the roll. Then I sprinkled it with some sesame seeds for fun, and laid out my "fillings", all pretty close together I guess.
Then you just roll it up! You can use the plastic wrap to help you roll it evenly, and give it a good squeeze so that it's all tight in there as you're rolling. When the plastic wrap is getting close to being tucked inside, you can just pull it up and back out of the way. You're pretty close to being finished anyways.
Just before you reach the end (or before you started rolling even!) you can dip your fingers in some water, and rub it on the inside edge of the nori, where you left a space with no rice. That's the part you'll use to seal the roll closed. As you can tell, I overstuffed this one and my rice was oozing out!
Finally, you should use a really sharp knife to cut your roll into bite-sized rounds. Even with a pretyt sharp knife, my end pieces squished out a bit! But they still tasted good, and that way Ian and I could both taste them while we finished getting dinner on!
I still had to warm up the gyoza, after all! Which is fast! Straight from the freezer to a frying pan with just a very little bit of oil. When they're a bit brown, add some water so they're just over half-covered, and put a lid over (loosely, you want to steam them, but want the water to evaporate too!) It takes less than ten minutes! Then let them brown just a little more. Ian and I like to flip them over so they're crispy on two sides!
Mmm, sooo good.