Wednesday, February 26, 2014

what to do if your nigiri just won't hold together

It's all about the rice you know. White hulled sushi rice, more often just labelled as sushi rice is a high quality short grain that is sticky and slightly sweet, but not to be mistaken for glutinous rice. the higher the quality of rice, the less likely there will be any broken grains. The real stuff has a good balance of starches so that the rice sticks together allowing just enough hold between moulding, plate, chopsticks and mouth.

All so very easy, so what do you do if you don't even get past the point where moulding and sticking together doesn't quite happen. You label that unlabelled tub of white rice at home that you thought was sushi rice 'NOT SUSHI RICE', that's what you do. Oh, and make a bloody Mary to have with your raw salmon atop slightly loose but delicious rice.


Serves about 8

400g Japanese sushi rice
400ml water
5 tblsp rice wine vinegar
3 tblsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
200g piece of salmon at its absolute freshest
A little wasabi paste

To serve
6 tblsp dark soy sauce
30g Japanese pickled ginger

Wash the rice really well until the water rinses clear. Drain the rice in a colander and let it stand for 30 minutes. Place the rice in a pot and add the water (same volume as the rice as it was when it was unwashed). Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until the water evaporates and the rice sounds like it's starting to catch - good sign. Remove the cover and place a damp towel over the rice, and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, mix the vinegar with the sugar and salt until all dissolved.

Pour the sushi vinegar over cooked rice and mix it gently. You can do this in a wooden bowl for making sushi rice or in the pot by taking away from the heat and pouring the vinegar and mixing gently and evenly. Now leave it until it cools down to room temperature, still covered with a damp cloth to fight off the drying out bit that isn't good.

Using slightly wet hands shape the cooked rice into small, mouthful rectangles. Cut the fish across the grain into thin, similar sized slices to drape over the rice. Smear the top of each piece of rice with a little wasabi and cover neatly with a slice of fish.

Serve the sushi with the soy and pickled ginger and extra wasabi for the fiery types at the table. Once devoured, continue relabelling a few more random tubs in the kitchen while its fresh in the mind.