Sushi - Vinegared Rice Dishes

by Celeste Heiter, Dec 28, 2002 | Destinations: Japan / Tokyo

Sushi, perhaps the most widely recognized of all Japanese food, is the categorical term for a variety of dishes made with vinegared rice. Sushi can be made with a countless array of seafoods and vegetables. Everyone has his or her own favorites. Just be sure that the ingredients you choose are absolutely the best and freshest available.

There are several basic types of sushi:

Nigiri sushi - Served in pairs, this style of sushi consists of slices of raw fish placed atop oblong balls of vinegared rice.

Makizushi - This variety is composed of vinegared rice and seafood, wrapped cigar-style in a sheet of nori paper and sliced into bite-sized pieces.

Futomaki - Much like makizushi, this dish is an oversized nori roll, filled with a colorful assortment of rice, cucumber, red ginger, pink fish cake, dried gourd, pickled yellow radish, and egg omelet.

Temaki - Same ingredients as makizushi, but rolled into a loosely filled cone of nori.

Chirashi - Any or all of the typical ingredients of sushi, but instead of being fashioned into bite-sized bits, they are simply placed atop a bowl of vinegared rice.

Maguro Nigiri (24 pieces)

½ pound fresh tuna
2 cups sushi rice (see recipe)
2 tbsp wasabi paste (optional)
Pickled ginger
Soy sauce

With a very sharp knife, cut the fresh tuna into uniform 1"x2" slices about ¼" thick. If desired, rub a pinch of wasabi paste down the center of each slice.

With your left hand, scoop up enough sushi rice to fill the center of your palm. With the index and middle fingers of your right hand, press and shape the sushi rice into a tight oblong ball. If the rice sticks to your hands and fingers, moisten them with a little water or rice vinegar before handling the rice.

Lay a slice of tuna across the rice ball and place the sushi on an attractive serving dish. Garnish with a mound of pickled ginger, a ball of wasabi paste and serve with soy sauce for dipping.

Tekka Maki - Tuna Rolls (24 pieces)

2 cups sushi rice (see recipe)
4 oz fresh tuna, sliced into 1/2" strips
4 sheets of nori seaweed wrapper
1 tsp wasabi paste

Lay a 12x12" sheet plastic of wrap on a flat dry surface, such as a cutting board or countertop. Place a sheet of nori on the plastic wrap.

Cover the lower half of the nori with a thin layer of sushi rice, pressing firmly and distributing evenly all the way out to the left and right edges.

With your right thumb, rub a pinch of wasabi paste on the nori across the top edge of the rice.

Lay several strips of tuna, end-to-end, across the center of the rice.

Moisten the upper edge of the nori with a few drops of water.

Starting at the bottom edge, begin firmly but gently rolling the nori cigar style around the strips of tuna. Continue rolling to the moistened upper edge.

Fold the plastic wrap upward around the sushi roll and squeeze firmly along the length of the roll to compact the filling and seal the moistened edge of the nori.

Remove the plastic wrap and cut the sushi roll into 6 uniform pieces. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.

Stand each set of sushi rolls upright on an attractive serving dish and garnish with a ball of wasabi paste and a mound of pickled ginger.