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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Sushi frenzy

It's amazing how a bit of homemade effort can transform rice, vinegar and a couple of fillings into sushi works-of-art.

We started with a stockpile of Japanese ingredients, mixed in some Australian enthusiasm, added a dash of culinary ingenuity and rolled, moulded and shaped away...

Of course sushi-making is hard work and chefs should always maintain their intake of fluids. Not only are fruits high in water content, but they also contain valuable vitamins. Here we have watermelon and ginger martinis. Ginger is also very good for you!

Sushi is not hard to make. A reasonable amount of prep work is required but the varieties of sushi are only limited by your imagination. We tried out all the funky sushi moulds I picked up on my recent trip to Japan. These moulds make everything dead easy. Lightly pack the mould with sushi rice, place the lid on top to compress lightly, remove lid and flip out the instant shapes by pushing the tabs on the bottom.

Quelle horreur! So any reputable sushi chef would probably perform harakiri before touching one of these, but we love 'em. So quick, so easy, and everyone always wants to have a go. I picked up my sushi moulds from the fabulous 100Yen shops in Tokyo, which are fairly similar to these.

We ended up making makizushi (rolled sushi) with
  • smoked salmon
  • teriyaki chicken
  • peeled King prawns

and a varied combination of the following: avocado, julienned carrot, cucumber, red capsicum and blanched green beans. Watercress, lettuce, omelette shreds, snow pea sprouts, asparagus, Chinese mushrooms and pickled ginger also work equally well. If you're happy to eat it, throw it in!

We also made inarizushi by filling abura-age (deep fried tofu bags) with plain sushi rice or a colourful concoction of sushi rice mixed with finely chopped pickled ginger, pickled radish and mixed through with furikake rice seasoning.

We shaped rice into pillows and topped them with salmon, whole prawns and teriyaki chicken pieces, sometimes securing them with a nori "belt". We shaped our pickle combo rice into cylinders and wrapped them with belts. We made star shapes and triangles and rolled them in seaweed seasoning.

So many sushi options.

Too few stomachs.

We served and ate our sushi off platters I picked up in Tokyo. Don't forget plenty of pickled radish, pickled ginger, soy dipping sauce and sinus-clearing wasabi.

Our digestive tracts were treated to closure signals with Asian-themed ice creams. We picked up some gorgeous ice creams from Serendipity Ice Cream, the one on the left is black sesame; the one on the right is ginger.

Both were utterly delectable. I've always been a fan of black sesame which is rich, nutty and almost treacly in sweetness. Eating this brings back memories of slurping down tummy-warming thick soupy ji ma vu or black sesame gruel.

The ginger ice cream was refreshing and palate-cleansing but also mildly warming with medicinal heat. We alternated scoops of ice cream with joyous mouthfuls of juicy ripe mango. Bring on the height of the Aussie mango season!

For a brief sushi how-to guide, click here.


Serendipity Ice Cream
333 Enmore Road, Marrickville
Tel: 02 9557 8986
5 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 11/13/2004 11:59:00 pm


  • At 11/19/2004 8:19 pm, Blogger pinkcocoa said…

    wow! sushi o tabetai na~
    I have never tried making sushi before, I mean rolling up sushi. I heard it's pretty hard. Any tips?

    Yes! Serendipity ice cream are just too heavenly! I really like their chocolate sorbet. *yum* Another spot for yummilicious black sesame ice-cream would be The Sugar Plum in Randwick. They have really nice black sesame and green tea ice-cream. I like their marble crunch too :-)

    hmm..fruits and ice-cream *drool*

  • At 11/19/2004 11:10 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi PinkCocoa

    Rolling sushi is easy-peasy. It's just like making a spring roll or a Vietnamese prawn roll. It's also so much cheaper than buying it. And of course your sushi rolls will be always be much generous with the filling!

    My sushi-making tips:

    * when you add the vinegar to the rice, make sure you fan the rice as you move it around with a wooden spoon. This will cool the rice more quickly and give you a good sticky (not soggy) texture. The little battery operated fans are great for avoiding sore biceps.

    * make sure the rice is cool before using. Otherwise your nori is likely to split.

    * lay the nori sheet shiny side on the bamboo mat.

    * place only a very thin layer of rice on the nori. This means more room in stomach for another sushi roll!

    * leave the top 3cm of the nori bare.

    * add filling about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom of your nori sheet. Not too much or it's likely to split.

    * roll up using the bamboo mat. You can run a wet finger along the bare nori to enable sealing. Squeeze lightly to compress (but not squash) the rice and create even density of ingredients.

    * rinse fingers free of rice grains in a bowl of cold water in between each sushi roll production.

    * slice into discs using a non-serrated knife. Wipe clean on a damp teatowel in-between slices to get rid of stubborn rice grains.

    * Eat

    * Eat some more

    * Eat a little more!

    Sorry I didn't take any photos during sushi production. I'll try to remember next time!

  • At 11/19/2004 11:16 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Oh and I forgot, yes I have been to the Sugar Plum at Randwick. They have a 25% off voucher in the Entertainment Book.

    I only recently found out too that Serendipity are the suppliers to Passionflower too! You can pick up tubs of sticky rice, red bean, wasabi, taro, durian etc etc

  • At 11/22/2004 2:11 am, Blogger pinkcocoa said…

    Thanks so much for the very detailed tips! Gonna try and make sushi myself some time soon. There are just so many things I want to get my hands on! :p And oh yes! Definitely more fillings and less rice in sushi.

    That reminds me! We havent used the Sugar Plum discount voucher yet.

    I didnt know Serendipity made Passionflower's ice-cream until I visited Serendipity shop too! Seems like Serendipity has been rather low-key about this. We asked Serendipity about it and they gave us this weird look and said "ah. it's a long story" and stopped just there. hmm...

  • At 11/24/2004 10:18 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Good luck with the sushi making. I'm expecting plenty of photos! :)


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