I hate the feeling of going backwards.
Not physically, though I hate that as well (have i told of the story of how I got motion sickness after sitting facing the wrong way on a sushi train?), but as in the opposite of improving. We’ve been making a lot of sushi of all different types lately- simple salmon nigiri, California rolls, tuna rolls and whatever else we felt like rolling up or squeezing into balls. Try as hard as I may, all my rolls still end up loose and lopsided like they’ve always been 🙁
Okok, so I actually only personally made 2 rolls by myself- a little more practice may help 😉
What I’m really talking about is my progress with decorative sushi.
I used the leftover rice and nori to make this cat shaped sushi (a design from the same book as last time). I coloured it with sesame seeds for the black, tomato sauce for the orange (tomato flavoured canned tuna was my original plan, but I didn’t want to open a can of tuna just for this one roll) and also for the supposedly pink area around the mouth, since I couldn’t be bothered finding something pink.
Now, you would have thought I’d have at least some idea of how to place and space the different components after my first attempt at decorative sushi, but nup- I managed to do worse than last time! At first I placed too much rice on the base, so I had to take it all off and start again. Then, I accidentally put the nose on the eyes instead of the mouth (as you can probably see in the pictures)….which would have been fine if I were making a human!
Luckily, decorative sushi is quite forgiving, and even if it doesn’t look quite like what you had hoped, some massaging of the cut sushi and addition of features makes it look great again! But I was still disheartened at the fact that my sushi making ‘skills’ seem to be worsening more than improving!
On a more positive note, I did manage to take a couple of shots whilst I was making it, so I can look back before I attempt anything again….and if you want to make it too! Let’s just hope that my sushi making skills don’t go backward and further!
Kitty Cat Sushi
If you are attempting this, please read the complete instructions before starting as I don’t really explain things very well 😉
For one roll of sushi, you will need
a little more than one piece of nori
Some sushi rice (the book has some but I don’t use exact measurements)
Something Black eg. Black Sesame Powder
Something Orange eg. canned tuna (tomato flavoured)
Something Pink eg. pickled ginger
Kombu or Something dark brown eg soy sauce
1. First, you want to cut up your nori:
- once in half- this will form the big piece of nori which wraps around the outside of the sushi roll
- Cut the other half of the seaweed into four equal pieces (not lengthwise to make four long strips but the other way to make the shape in the picture below)
2. Then you want to colour your rice- do this by mixing some rice with whatever you’re using to colour your rice in a bowl. For each of the colours, you’ll only need about 2 large tablespoons of rice.
Now we can start shaping:
First, we make mini rolls using the small pieces of nori we cut up before (each should be 1/8th of the size of the original piece of nori). Place a small amount of rice on the edge or the nori and roll it up to make a thin roll.You will need 3 rolls of white rice and one roll of pink (for the mouth). Make two of the white rolls smaller than the white and the pink by using less rice and rolling up tightly (you could even only use half of the 1/8th sheet but that would be harder to roll up).
Because the nose is smaller, we make need to make a thinner roll. To do this, the book tells us to use a sheet of kombu onto the nori (again, using the 1/8th size one) and roll it up tightly. Since I didn’t have kombu, I coloured some rice brown and spread a very thin layer across the nori and rolled it up tightly- it doesn’t look as great, but it’ll do.
Slice one of the white rolls and the pink rolls in half
Place the half sheet of nori onto your sushi mat, lengthwise as we will be rolling ‘sideways’. Spread some white, orange and black rice onto the nori in the pattern shown in the picture above. Make sure that the width of the black and orange stripes is the same as those of the semicircle rolls you made above. The white stripe in the middle should also be the same width.
Place the two white semicircle rolls facing upwards onto the red and black lines.Fill the area between them with white rice and then place another layer of rice above this. (obviously, I didn’t put the layer of rice on in the picture above, so the nose ended up on the eyes….)
Place the dark brown ‘nose’ roll in right in the centre of the layer of rice.
Place both of the pink semicircles on top of the ‘nose’ facing downwards as shown. Then put a layer of rice over and around that so that t middle bit is a bit like a round mountain of rice.
Roll up the sushi using the mat then slice it up with a sharp knife. If you need to, give the sushi a bit of a massage to get it into the right shape.
Cut thin strips of nori and place them on the sushi to make whiskers.
Using the two small white rolls from before, cut each into the same thickness as the cat sushi for the ears. Place two ears on each cat sushi. You’re done!
Note: I was having trouble with making clean cuts on my sushi last time but had much more success this time thanks to Ann’s tip of moistening the knife with a mixture of water and vinegar and Shen’s tip of cutting quickly with one stroke and wiping the sticky stuff away. Thanks so much!