Hello! I am an interloper!

I usually cook weird things like ox heart and pigs tails (along with the more run-of-the-mill stuff) but my love of anything you can eat with chopsticks runs deep. I have tried to make my own sushi a few times, and have always got it stupidly wrong and thrown a hissyfit and forgotten about the idea for a year or so. But this time, I got it wonderfully right.

You will need:

  • A clear afternoon. One of those ones where you can pootle around the kitchen with the radio on and have nowhere to be. *A cup of sushi rice. THIS WILL NOT WORK WITH ANY OTHER KIND OF RICE SO DON’T EVEN TRY IT.
  • Some nori (dried seaweed)
  • A bamboo rolling mat (you can go to specialist chinese/japanese supermarkets for these things but most big supermarkets will stock them)
  • A splash of rice vinegar
  • Some cling film
  • A selection of julienned vegetables (classic sushi stuff - I used carrot, cucumber and spring onions, but something like radish, red/yellow peppers, avocado etc would be nice too)
  • Optional - some seafood sticks, chopped prawns or smoked salmon. Some people put stupid things like chicken in their sushi but I am not that foolish.

Do

  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly. THIS IS IMPORTANT - DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. It is easiest to tip the rice into a sieve and rinse under a running tap until the water runs clear (it will look milky-white as the starch is washed off). If you omit this step, you will be crying into a pan of congealed rice and give up and not try to make sushi for about a year. So I’m told.
  2. Then into a saucepan, add the cup of rice and two cups of cold water. Bring it to the boil and as soon as it reaches boiling point, turn it down to the hob’s lowest heat setting and put a lid on it.
  3. Leave it for 20 minutes. I’m serious though - don’t lift the lid, agitate the pan, nothing. Offer up a small prayer to whatever deity you’re fond of - it can’t hurt.
  4. After 20 anxious minutes, you can lift the lid and find all of the water absorbed and a steaming amount of stickyish rice. Hooray! Glass of wine to celebrate.
  5. Throw a splash of rice vinegar into the cooked rice, stir around and leave off the heat to steam a little.
  6. Allow to cool until you can handle it.
  7. Thought the rice was tricky? Here’s the real tricky bit. Unfurl your bamboo rolling mat and place a sheet of cling film on top. Put a sheet of nori on top and you’re pretty much ready to go. (The cling film was what cracked it for me - it just made everything easier to handle when rolling.)
  8. Spread a thin-ish layer of rice to the bottom two-thirds of the nori, leaving about a centimetre of nori still visible on the bottom/sides.
  9. On the bottom half of the rice, arrange a thin layer of veggies/fishy things.
  10. VERY carefully, using the bamboo mat to help you, firmly and slowly roll the whole thing until the rice encases the veggies. Keeping a firm pressure (and without rolling the cling film inside the roll), continue to roll until the nori is all around the rice and you have a long sausage-shaped thing. This bit is hard and easy to fuck up. Try not to.
  11. Wrap the whole thing in the cling film you’ve used for rolling and twizzle both ends to keep it all firmly wrapped.
  12. Put in the fridge for as long as you can to firm up.
  13. Remove from the fridge and take the cling film off.
  14. With a sharp, wet knife (I don’t really know why it works but it does), slice the roll into 2-3cm slices and arrange on a plate.
  15. Present them to your loved ones with soy sauce and wasabi, and force them to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Because it took you ages and loads of effort so they have to like it.

Result

Doesn’t it look amazing? Aren’t you clever? Damned right you are.

The result