So, I bought the special rice and the nori ages ago, determined to try and roll my own sushi. Many months passed. Today, one of my students brought in some of her homemade sushi for lunch and I got the bug again. I mentioned how I was going to go home and actually attempt making sushi, finally. My class of Oregonian sixth graders immediately piped up in disbelief. I'd never made sushi before?! Many of them make it at least once a week (mostly vegetarian, occasionally a California roll).
I began to feel old.
When I was in sixth grade, in Denver, CO, sushi was still just a tiny bit odd among Americans who didn't have Japanese influences in their lives. It certainly was many years away from being purchased in grocery stores. Similarly, nori is one of my students favorite snacks. I only started considering seaweed something people ate about ten years ago (shortly after they were born).
So, how did it go? I wasn't foolish enough to waste money on sushi-grade fish for my first attempt; I settled for simple avocado and cucumber. The hot vinegar/sugar/salt mixture smelled strongly enough that I feared it could peel paint but when it was mixed into the still hot rice it made a remarkably delicious concoction. The rice was a little too watery but it became workable as it cooled so it wasn't a huge deal. (BTW - as a huge fan of sticky, gooey, chewy, starchy things; sushi rice in mass quantities has been mentally added to my favorites list.) Placing it on the seaweed and adding the cucumber and avocado was easy enough. The quantities my recipe suggested though were clearly insane. The first roll was quite difficult to roll because it was simply too full. The second was more successful and by the fourth I was marvelling at how, when the right amount of filling is inserted, they magically roll and seal, with the help of the bamboo mat, into a neat, solid cylinder. Woohoo!
Then I realized that I was expected to violate my neat little roll and cut it into sections so it could actually be consumed. Drama! So started the learning process...and a succession of final pieces that gradually shifted from flat ovals to almost perfect circles. Ta-da! It was remarkable - I had made something that definitely looked like sushi.
Miraculously, they tasted like it too. For the most part, the ugliest sushi ever created, but I had made it and was willing to eat it! I call that a success.
Maybe next time will be enough of a success that I'm willing to post pictures as well. :) As, since I've now proven that it will not be completely inedible, it looks like some sushi-grade tuna is also in my future. Yum.