We love sushi. We love the colors, the creativity and the artful combinations of flavors. So we decided to bring the creativity home by purchasing a sushi kit and had a fun date night making mostly sushi Frankenstein’s and sometimes works of art. We stuck to maki sushi (rice on the inside and seaweed on the outside) for simplicity and by the end of it, created two really delicious rolls we had to share with you!
Other than the prep, maki is surprisingly simple. It’s fun to cut up all sorts of veggies, fruits (avocado or mango anyone?), protein if that’s your thing and combine all of the flavors and colors in every which way. We made futomaki for this date night, which actually conveniently translates to date-maki. Perfect, right? Futomaki is the larger sushi roll we love to order here in America, with the seaweed on the outside and 2 or more inches in diameter of rice and a whole lot of delicious ingredients.
Keep in mind that while we found an amazing combination of flavors below, if you don’t see an ingredient you like, you can always sub it out! Also, make sure to purchase a sushi kit – at the minimum you will need a bamboo sushi rolling mat. Make sure to pair this dinner with sake and hot green tea. Let’s begin!
The rice is key to an amazing roll. It needs to be cooked properly and have the correct sticky consistency. We’ll start with the rice first as you can’t make sushi rolls without it! Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 1/3 cup of sushi rice (white short grain)
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Put your rice in a bowl and add in water to rinse it. Swirl the rice until it produces a milky color and carefully drain the water. Take caution to not loose any rice as you pour it out. You can use a sieve with the bowl of water for this process if you have one! Continue to repeat the process until the water is clear.
Once this process is done, soak the rice for 30 minutes. While the rice is soaking, pre-soak a wooden bowl if you don’t have a rice cooker bowl. You can use your salad bowl for this too! This will help the rice from sticking to the sides of the bowl when prepping your rolls.
In a sauce pan, add in the rice and water. Cover with a lid and whatever you do, DO NOT lift the lid during the cooking process. Set your heat to medium and bring the ingredients to a boil.
Once you hear the water boil, cook the rice for 5 more minutes. If the water starts to boil over, slowly lower the heat. Once the 5 minutes are up, reduce your heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove your rice from the heat and let it stand with the lid still on while you prep the vinegar, sugar and salt.
In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm up but do not boil the vinegar, sugar and salt. Once all of those ingredients are diluted, set the pan aside to cool. Take your cooled rice and add it to the wood bowl. Then combine the vinegar/sugar/salt mixture with the rice, adding in the mixture a little at a time until it’s all integrated together.
The San Diego Roll
- 1/4 pound of sushi grade tuna
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1 cucumber (you need a whole cucumber to cut the cucumber long ways. You will not be using the whole cucumber for this recipe.)
- 2 sheets of nori seaweed
- Sriracha to taste (make it as spicy as you want)
- 1/2 the sushi rice
Cut the cucumber in half long ways; you want the cucumber slices to be long to match the length of the roll. Deseed and peel the skin off. Thinly cut one half of the cucumber into long slices that are the thickness of a pencil and then divide your slices in half. You will be using 1/4 of the cucumber for this recipe and using the other 1/4 for the recipe below.
Slice your avocado into long pencil thin slices as well. Rinse and dice the tuna. In a small mixing bowl, combine the tuna and the Sriracha until you reach your desired heat.
You will be repeating the following part of the recipe to make two rolls. Place your bamboo roller flat on your counter and place one sheet of your nori seaweed in the middle. With your rice paddle, begin to thinly layer the rice onto the nori until it covers 3/4ths of the sheet. Layer on the spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber like the photo above.
To roll, dip your fingers into water and wet the edge of the nori without the rice. This will act as a sealer when it comes time to roll. When rolling, you will need to use your fingers to keep the ingredients from popping out of the roll. No one likes loose sushi so do this to keep a tight roll and you’re in business!
Once you are finished rolling your sushi, use a preferably sharp knife (a dull one would make your cut messy) to cut the roll. It helps to lightly wet the edge of the blade so that you can gain traction on the dried seaweed. I use a saw like motion with the blade so that I can cut through all of the inner ingredients with a clean cut. Getting a clean cut takes time and care so don’t try to rush it. Place your slices and store them in the refrigerator until it is time to serve.
The Everything Roll
- 1/4 pound of sushi grade tuna
- 4 imitation crab sticks
- Seasoned kapyo (Japanese pickled gourd – we used small can of Makizushi-No-Moto from our local Japanese grocer. Don’t have a local Asian grocery store? They sell it on Amazon too!).
- 1 cucumber (shared from the San Diego Roll)
- 1 long carrot
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of dashi
- 2/3 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of sake
- 1 tablespoon of mirin
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 sheets of nori
- Other half of the sushi rice
You will start with the omelet. Begin creating your dashi stock by boiling the 1 tablespoon of dashi in about 2/3 cup of water. Once the dashi has mostly incorporated into the water remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Now, take your eggs and whisk them to a smooth texture. Add the sake, mirin, sugar, and salt into the eggs and whisk together until incorporated.
Use a medium skillet and add your vegetable oil. Heat to about medium to low heat and put half of your egg mixture in and let it cook until it’s solid. Then fold the cooked egg on top of itself so you have half of your skillet free to add more egg, much like an omelet. Add the rest of your egg mixture to the empty part of the pan, let it cook and then fold your previously cooked egg on top. You are effectively stacking the egg on top of itself. Traditionally this is done with a rectangular skillet but if you don’t have one like us, just trim the egg into a rectangle once you are finished. Once all of your egg is cooked through, remove from the skillet and place in a refrigerator to cool.
To prep the rest of the roll, peel and cut the carrot long ways in pencil thin slices just like you did with the roll above. Slice your tuna and omelet in the same fashion. The kapyo should come already cooked and sliced for you so drain and set aside. For the imitation crab stick, peel apart until you get your desired size and texture.
You will be repeating the following part of the recipe to make two rolls. Once you’re finished prepping your ingredients, place your bamboo roller flat on your counter and place one sheet of your nori seaweed in the middle. Just like the first roll, take your rice paddle and begin to thinly layer the rice onto the nori until it covers 3/4ths of the sheet. Layer on the kapyo, carrot, cucumber, tuna, omelet and crab like the photo above.
Again, to roll your sushi like you did with the first roll, dip your fingers into water and wet the edge of the nori without the rice. Use your fingers to prevent the ingredients from falling out as you roll. Once you are done rolling, slice your sushi roll and plate to serve.