Majuro, Marshall Islands; 07°07' N / 171°22.'E
John and Naomi met windsurfing in western Vancouver Island, Canada and live in Campbell River, BC. They had been sailing Renova, a Cape Dory 36, for two years when we met them in Majuro in the Marshall Islands. During our first social visit aboard their stout little boat, we were impressed by the gorgeous sushi rolls they laid out for appetizers. As it turns out, John is the sushi-roller of the family, despite Naomi's Japanese heritage. They graciously helped us to learn to make these luscious little morsels.
nori - roasted seaweed sheets
2 cups sushi rice*
1 Tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine) - optional
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar- best but white vinegar is fine
1 tsp sea salt
Feeds 4 hungry yachties...
Naomi comments: Traditional sushi has many rules. On Renova, we make a less traditional, almost freestyle version of sushi using whatever fillings we have on hand. Here are a couple of our favourites...
Renova's "Free-style" Ingredients:
SPICY TUNA ROLLS
- fresh, uncooked tuna, cut into small cubes (1 cm)
- hot sauce - we like Sriracha Hot Chili sauce
- mix 1 cup tuna cubes with 2 tbsp mayo and 1 tbsp hot sauce (to taste)
- crab - fresh, canned or fake (Bonito)
- avocado (or cucumber)
fresh ahi tuna, cut in narrow strips
fresh crab flakes
fresh peeled cucumbers, de-seeded and cut in narrow strips
fresh ripe avocado flesh, cut in strips
fresh red bell pepper, de-seeded and cut in narrow strips
green onion, peeled of damaged layers and cut in narrow strips
Other possible ingredients:
shiitake mushrooms, cooked in rice wine and soy sauce, drained and cut in strips
hen's egg, 1 egg, 1 Tbsp sugar, pinch salt, 1 tsp flour, beaten and fried like a pancake and then cut in 1/4" strips
a sushi sudare - a bamboo sushi rolling mat
Sushi rice can be made from most any type of rice available locally, except of course "wild" rice which isn't the same plant. Short grained rice is preferable but we have used our favorite, jasmine rice, with success.
We usually use short-grain Japanese style white rice, but we've also used whatever is available at the time - jasmine, calrose, mystery rice. Almost any rice will do. On shore, we always wash our rice, but on the boat we never do. Water is precious. We cook rice as usual. When complete add vinegar, sugar and salt and mix. Rice vinegar is great, if you have it, regular white vinegar is fine too. Allow rice to cool to room temp.
Rinse 2 cups rice a few times until water runs clear. (If water is too precious this can be skipped but your rice will be stickier.) Soak rice up to 30 minutes in 3.75 cups clean fresh water and then bring to boil and cook on medium heat until water is absorbed or driven off and bubbles are just visible at the surface of the rice. Turn off the heat and allow to steam for about 10 minutes. Fluff up rice and then stir in:
1 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Place one sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the sushi sudare. Spoon into the center of the nori, 1/2 - 1 cup prepared sushi rice. (You may want to experiment with the size of roll you make...see below...the more rice, the bigger the roll.)
Moisten fingers and spread rice evenly around the closer 2/3 of the nori sheet. Be sure to push the rice the full width of the nori. Once the rice is distributed evenly, made a small indentation all the way across and about 1/3 of the way up the nori (or across the middle of your rice). Fill this indentation with ingredients as you wish.
Slowly fold mat over, tucking in the end of the nori gently to begin the roll. Lessen pressure to straighten and then continue to roll until reaching end of the nori. With a wet finger brush the end of the nori and then briefly snuggle the roll inside the sudare mat.
Remove roll from mat and cut into 6-8 even pieces with a VERY sharp knife that has been moistened with water.
Garnish with pickled ginger and serve with wasabi and soy sauce for dipping.
Naomi comments again:
Really?? 1 cup of rice per roll? Is that what the nori package says? I'm surprised. We usually make about 1 cup for the both of us. Assume it doubles to 2 cups when cooked. Then we make 6 rolls, so we are using about 1/3 cup rice per roll. Doesn't really matter - personal preference. I prefer smaller rolls that I can pop in my mouth. John loves big, fat rolls with tons of fillings. Those are definitely two biters for me!!!