Several weeks ago, the most devastating thing happened. I walked over to my neighbourhood sushi joint to pick up dinner and it was closed. Not closed for the evening, but closed, like, FOREVER.
I guess I should have seen it coming. Their sushi wasn’t great, sometimes even questionably fresh, but it was just 5 minutes down the road and they knew my order by heart, and their Kamikaze Roll (especially the tempura “crispies” and hot sauce mélange) was killer, I swear it.
So, what was a girl to do? Heartbroken and hungry, I allowed myself an adequate mourning period but when the withdrawal kicked in, it was time to find a solution. There is only so much of a disturbance to my eating schedule that I can be forced to endure. The more I thought about it, the more my sadness began to transform into anger. Delusional thoughts began to surface: “How dare they close. I practically kept them in business for the last four years thanks to bi-weekly visits! I was given no notice at my last pick-up… HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO MEEEEE?!?!”
The next day I invited 4 of my girlfriends over for a Make-Your-Own-Sushi Party. That’ll teach ‘em, I thought. I don’t need their stupid sushi, I will make my own. And it will be better. And cheaper. And fun.
The day of the party, as I dusted off the ol’ sushi set and welcomed my guests I realized that I had never made sushi before, that I had no idea what I was getting myself into, that all my girlfriends were counting on me for a beautiful and bountiful meal… that I may have let my spite get the best of me.
Well lucky for me, one of my guests had taken one sushi course years ago. That was all the reassurance I needed and with an unsteady hand (and lots of wine) we were ready to ROLL.
I’m going to walk you through it…
Step 1: Fill up your wine glass.
Step 2: Get your sticky rice going. No fancy pressure cooker needed. Get “sushi rice” at an Asian supermarket, a normal supermarket, or even the fish market. We used plain ol’ brown rice, and it was very sticky. Follow the package instructions. Make about 4-5 cups (generous estimate 1/2 cup per roll).
Step 3: Prep your veggies and fish (cover and store in the fridge until rolling time). Do not peel and cut your avocados until the very last minute before rolling!!
Step 4: Make Spicy Mayo. Mix Mayo, chili oil, sesame oil, hot sauce and paprika. Can’t really tell you the proportions… we used a trial and error method. Start with a generous amount of mayo (3/4-1 cup) and slowly add the other ingrediants a little at a time. Taste as you go until it’s balanced. You will need a lot, since we will also add some to the tartare.
Step 5: Refill wine glass.
Step 6: When the rice is done, add a few tablespoons of rice wine vinegar. Let cool completely, put in fridge if necessary.
Step 7: Make Wonton crisps for the tartare. Preheat oven at 375F. Using scissors, cut Wonton Wrappers diagonally into triangles. Brush each side with a lightly beaten egg, place on baking dish. Sprinkle with salt (and sesame seeds if you like). Bake for about 10 mins, flip over halfway through.
Step 8: Make tempura “crispies”. In a pan mix panko breadcrumbs with veggie oil over med heat until golden.
Step 9: Cut your Avocados. Refill wine.
Step 10: Wrap a bamboo mat with Saran Wrap (we used a place setting). Arrange all your ingredients around you :
- Seaweed paper
- Rice and bowl of water for hands
- Fish (tuna, salmon, turbot, imitation crabstick, roe)
- Veggies (peppers, cucumber, green onion, avocado)
- Spicy Mayo
Step 11: Place the seaweed paper shiny side down. Wet fingers. Scoop rice and spread it over the rice paper in a very thin layer, so that it barely covers the paper. Wet your fingers if the rice sticks to you. Leave a 1 inch strip at the top of the paper sans-rice (edge furthest from you), so that your roll can adhere to itself.
Step 12: At the bottom on the roll (edge closest to you) lay down whatever ingredients you want. Add spicy mayo. And crispies.
Step 13: Begin to roll by folding the mat up and over, then gently press down.pull the mat towards you and roll over again. Repeat. When you get the uncovered edge, wet your finger and run it along the edge. Roll over and the paper should adhere and seal the roll. Put both hands over the mat and run them along the roll to tighten it. If you ar adventurous, you can try an inside-out roll (rice on both sides of the paper!).
Step 14: Refill wine and repeat Step 13 until you run out of either paper, rice or fish.
Step 15: Cut Rolls with a very sharp knife. Place on platter. Step back, check out your materpiece and congratulate yourself for being f*ing awesome!
Step 16: Let’s take this to the next level with an amazing tartare… in a bowl, put the left over fish (diced), avocado, cucumber, roe, crispies, a few tablespoons of Spicy mayo, mix gently and sprinkle with chives.
Step 17: Refill wine, EAT.