(Makes 12 cups)
4 cups short grain Japanese sushi rice
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet sake)
1/2 cup sugar
Tempura Shrimp and Asparagus Roll
(Makes 1 roll – 8 pieces)
1/2 sheet nori, cut longer side of full sheet in half
1/2 cup sushi rice, cooked and seasoned
2 baked tempura shrimp, tails removed
1 oz cream cheese, sliced
2 blanched asparagus spears, chilled
Toasted sesame seeds
DirectionsMethod for Sushi Rice
Place rice in a bowl and add water to cover it generously. Swish rice in water in a single direction to rinse off residual starch. Drain water, refill bowl, and swish again. Repeat until water is clear. Do not rub the rice together with your hands because it could break the grains.
Drain rice and place in a medium saucepan fitted with a tight lid. Flatten rice with the palm of your hand and without removing your hand, add water until it just touches the middle and highest knuckle of your hand. This is the “Mt. Fuji” method. Cover and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice stand, uncovered, to plump, for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, use a rice cooker, still measuring by the Mt. Fuji method.
Meanwhile, in a small non-reactive saucepan, combine vinegar, mirin, and sugar. Heat mixture on medium until hot, about 5 minutes; do not allow the mixture to boil. Keep hot.
Invert rice into a large stainless steel or wooden bowl. Don’t include any browned rice that may have formed at the bottom of the pan. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold half of the vinegar mixture into the rice. Use a light, lifting motion to avoid mashing rice. Taste; rice should have a pleasingly sweet-acidic taste. If necessary, fold in more of vinegar mixture. Dampen a clean dish towel. With your hands, gently push the rice together to form a loose mound. (Spread-out rice would become dry) Cover with the towel and allow the rice to rest for 20 minutes to develop its flavor. The rice is now ready to use.
Method for Tempura Shrimp and Asparagus Roll
Place wrapped makisu on a dry cutting board. Place a half sheet of nori, glossy side down with longer side facing towards edge of cutting board.
Wet hands lightly in a bowl of water and place a ½ cup seasoned sushi rice in center of nori. Using fingertips, spread rice neatly and evenly to all four corners and to all four sides of nori; careful not to crush rice grains. Spread a thin layer of wasabi paste across rice, lay the shrimp on the wasabi line, then cream cheese and asparagus. The edges of nori must be flush with makisu before rolling.
Pick up edge of makisu nearest to edge and move it forward tucking leading edge in towards shrimp. Hold ingredients in place with finger tips. Press down lightly and roll leading edge of makisu forward. Lift leading edge of makisu, so it does not roll inside sushi roll. Push makisu gently forward so nori will make a complete wrap around roll from outside.
Gently grip makisu with both hands at center, then move towards ends while pressing firmly. Gently pack in rice and ingredients that sticking out of ends. Sprinkle the outside of the entire roll with toasted sesame seeds. Slice the roll exactly in the middle. Take the 2 pieces and lay them side by side and slice in the center again. Slice each remaining piece in the middle one more time making 8 total pieces.