I have an ambivalent attitude to sushi. It has become, on the one hand, one of the favoured foods of the joyless ‘clean eating’ and perpetually-dieting brigade. On the other, sushi is as delicious as it is healthy; filling but not heavy; dainty but not pretentious. No need to feel abashed then about being a sushi fan: just get your tips from an itamae (sushi chef) rather than Gwyneth Paltrow.
Making sushi at home makes a lot of sense. A sushi dinner for the family is suddenly a more affordable proposition, and it is surprisingly easy. It is also one of those foods that is essentially the same effort whether you’re serving one person or a dozen: perfect party food then, if you’re getting together with friends to watch the latest Olympics action from Tokyo.
Cooking the Rice
- Place your sushi rice (e.g. koshihikari) in a sieve. Rinse under cold running water, to remove any excess starch, until the water runs clear. Place two parts rice to three parts cold water in a large saucepan and leave to soak for half an hour or so. To serve four you’ll need about 500g of rice, or about two mugs full (to three mugs of water).
- Next, bring the rice to the boil over a high heat, then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the water has all been absorbed. Set aside to cool slightly.
Seasoning the Rice
- Stir through rice vinegar (about 125 ml), sugar (two tablespoons) and salt (half a teaspoon), mixing them together beforehand to dissolve (you can warm gently in a saucepan if need be, leaving to cool before using). Use a wooden spatula to break up rice lumps as you mix it in.
- Then properly cool the seasoned rice down by spreading it thinly onto a tray and covering with a damp tea towel.