Who says sushi has to be a go-out or take-out affair? A few sheets of nori, a little rice, a bit of savory tofu, and some veggies, and you've got the ingredients for a dinner party where guests create their own combination rolls. When you personalize offerings with flavored edamame, mixed-grain rice, and homemade pickled ginger, your sushi spread will be a hands-on feast guests won't soon forget.
What You'll Need
- 24 or more nori sheets
- 8 sushi mats
- sharp chef's knife
- hot, damp dish towel
- assorted vegetables (sprouts; julienned carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers; sliced avocados; trimmed asparagus; etc.)
- low-sodium soy sauce for dipping
How to Make a Sushi Roll
Lay the foundation. Lay sushi mat so wooden sticks are positioned horizontally. Place nori sheet shiny-side down with long edge parallel to mat sticks. Spread thin layer of rice over nori, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the bottom and top.
Line up the fillings. Place your choice of fillings in a horizontal line 3 inches above the bottom edge of nori. Use no more than four fillings, and keep the layers thin so the sushi is easy to roll.
Roll and cut. Starting with the top edge of mat, roll nori sheet toward you, firmly compressing roll as you go. Gently squeeze roll with mat when done. Slice roll into even sections with a sharp knife.
Whether you're serving sake at home or just want to choose a good bottle the next time you're out for Japanese food, John Gauntner, sake educator and founder of the website sake-world.com, offers four tips for finding the right brew for you.
1. Want the best? Go ginjo. "Ginjo, which means 'premium,' is to sake what single-malt is to Scotch," explains Gauntner. Look for "ginjo" on the bottle to guarantee a high-quality sake, which will have a lighter, more delicate taste.
2. Prefer full-bodied flavor? Choose junmai. Some sake brewers add distilled alcohol to bring out flavors, but a sake labeled "junmai" is made only with rice. The flavor tends to be rich, fragrant, and even earthy.
3. On a budget? Select domestic. American brewers can't add distilled alcohol to sake, so their offerings may not be as aromatic as Japanese ginjo sakes, says Gauntner. "But if you want to spend less to put sake on the table, a decent U.S. sake will be fine," he adds.
4. No sake cups? Serve in wine glasses. Sake should be served chilled like white wine, Gauntner advises, and the best alternative to porcelain sake cups is stemware that lets the aromas rise and circulate.