Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sushi Party!

I had a sushi party with about a dozen friends this past weekend. The concept was that everyone would bring something they considered essential to or good in sushi, and then we would all have a jolly time assembling and eating. Authenticity was not the goal, and to be honest, quality wasn't really the goal either. Fun was. It was a delightful surprise when the conglomeration of contributions was practically comprehensive (including some fantastic sashimi) and the sushi was as good and as beautiful as I've ever had. Have a sushi party. They're easy, they're communal, they're aesthetic, they're delicious. Have people say what they plan to bring and then fill in the gaps. All you have to do the day of is prepare sushi rice and maybe have fun at a pre-party Asian grocery trip. Pick up a sushi rolling mat for 99 cents. As for assembly, I'm not going to provide extensive instructions. You're smart, you can figure it out-- that's what we did-- and our maki rolls turned out gorgeously. Of course, you don't have to make rolls. You can go for chirashizushi (literally, "scattered" sushi-- just put some yumminess on some sushi rice) or hand rolls (a few pieces of yumminess on a clump of rice) or temakizushi (rice and yumminess in a cone of nori).

Sushi rice

1 cup medium-grain white rice (such as Calrose)
1 1/4 cups cold water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rinse rice in strainer until water runs clear, drain. In heavy medium saucepan, cover rice with 1 1/4 cups cold water. Cover and let soak 30 minutes. Uncover and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand covered 15 minutes. Transfer rice to large glass bowl.

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Drizzle mixture over rice. Gently toss rice with vinegar mixture to coat. Cover rice with clean damp towel and cool completely at room temperature (do not refrigerate).

Things you need for certain

Nori (dried seaweed sheets)
Soy sauce
Wasabi paste
Gari (pickled ginger)

Ingredients to consider

Cucumber, cut in matchsticks
Bean Sprouts
Scallion, cut in inch long pieces
Carrot, cut in matchsticks
Red, orange, yellow bell pepper
Baby bok choy
Enoki mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms, cut as "matchstick" as possible
Bamboo shoots (available cut in matchsticks, canned)
Avocado, cut in long chunks
Cream cheese
Egg fried up with some dashi
Roasted Eel
Faux crab
Cooked tuna mixed with mayonnaise
Sashimi: yellowfin tuna, mackerel, etc.
Roasted sesame seeds

Good desserts

Asian Pear

1 comment:

TMP said...

The Schaal lab has, or used to have, something of a tradition of sushi parties. Whenever occasion demanded a lab gathering at Barbara's house, there would be sushi-making. I think it was a Beck thing, actually. James and Mo brought the sushi mats and molds (round, square, heart-shaped -- but most folks found the mats more effective anyway), the fish and sushi rice. I confess that I've never gotten into sushi, but I do love a nice avocado roll. Maybe when you come to St. Louis you can convince us to dig sushi.