Roll Your Own

Everyone loves sushi, but where's the love for making it? Maybe it's the artistry or perhaps the raw fish, but the mere suggestion of making sushi at home is enough to strike fear into the heart of even the bravest cook. Still, imagine the look on your friends' or family's faces when you tell them you made the platter of delicious sushi they're eating! Here is a simple sushi-making technique - master it and you can then start rolling your own sushi creations.

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Philadelphia Roll

Makes 8 rolls

Ingredients:
2 cups sushi rice (or Arborio rice)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
8 sheets of nori (toasted seaweed)
8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips

Step 3You will also need a sharp knife, a sushi mat (tatami) and plastic wrap.

Directions:
1. Cook the rice:
Cook the rice with four cups of water, one tablespoon of sugar, and two teaspoons of salt per your rice cooker's instructions, or in a saucepan until the water is absorbed. Pour it into a bowl and wash it 4 to 5 times by covering it with cold water, stirring it, and draining it. This removes starches, which can make it gummy. When finished, scoop rice into a bowl to cool.

2. Be smart with the vinegar: Sushi masters pour vinegar directly onto their rice. However, there is a fine line between delicious rice and vinegary awfulness. Avoid the risk all together by pouring the rice wine vinegar into a bowl with 8 tablespoons of Step 4water and the other tablespoon of sugar. When it comes time to roll, you'll be able to flavor your rice "by hand" (literally!).

3. Nori time! First, make sure your tatami mat is clean and covered in a single layer of plastic wrap. (This keeps the rice from sticking.) Next, lay a sheet of nori on the mat. Nori comes in the shape of a square, but it's a bit large for sushi. Use your knife to remove about an inch and a half from the sheet.

4. Lay down the rice: Now is when things get fun and sticky. Dip your hands in the vinegar and place two handfuls of rice along one edge of the nori. Using your thumbs, push the rice toward the other edge until the sheet is thinly covered. You may need more rice to fill in the holes.

Steep 55. Fill 'er up: Flip the nori over so that you are laying ingredients on seaweed. Place the cream cheese about 1/4-inch away from one of the shorter ends of the nori and then lay salmon next to it.

6. Roll like a burrito: To actually roll the sushi, use the tatami to roll the edge with the filling so that rice from the backside of the sushi is touching bare seaweed. Let the mat fall away and continue rolling like a burrito.

7. Wrap with the mat: Wrap the mat around the sushi and apply gentle pressure to force the roll together. You can pick the mat off the table if you want.

8. Pretty it up: Open the mat and cut off the ends to make the roll look pretty. And Step 6eat the ends… you have to taste test it, right?!

9. Serve: Cut the roll into 6 to 8 pieces. Enjoy!

That's it! Now get to rolling, and remember: if you make mistakes, eat them. Sushi tastes amazing no matter how it looks!

More on sushi


Have your sushi and be healthy, too
Safe sushi choices for kids
DK's Sushi Chronicles from Hawaii
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