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Sushi for Beginners

by Sandra Prior

If you love sushi but are on a budget, get your fishy fix at home - for less - by making it yourself. You'll need the right ingredients, some practice and a little patience.

What you Need
Makisu (bamboo rolling mat)
Cutting board
Medium bowl with water
A sharp knife
Nori seaweed paper
Prepared sushi rice (sushemi)
Ultra-fresh seafood cut into strips. Try raw tuna, salmon, yellowtail, prawns or crab sticks, for example. Or experiment with tofu, tuna mayo or cheese. Use your imagination and have fun.
Sliced vegetables. Good choices are cucumber with the seeds removed, carrots and avo.
Soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, mayonnaise (Kewpie is the Japanese make) and chopsticks.

What you Do
Lay a piece of nori on the rolling mat, shiny side down.
Place half a cup of sushemi on the nori. (Wet your hands with water so the rice doesn't stick to them.)
Using your hands, spread the rice over the nori leaving a strip of nori (about one centimetre wide) uncovered at the bottom.
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise onto the rice, then place the fillings you want along the strip of uncovered nori.
Using the rolling mat, start at the side nearest to you and tightly roll the sushi away from you. (This is the only tricky part).
When the sushi is completely rolled, use the rolling mat to squeeze the sushi gently so that it doesn't unroll when you cut it.
Using a sharp knife (it helps to keep it wet), cut the sushi into six or eight pieces, depending on how thick you want them. Be careful not to squash the sushi or it will fall apart when you eat it.

How to Prepare Sushemi
Start by preparing sushi vinegar. To do this, mix one-third of a cup of rice vinegar with three tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of salt, and let it dissolve on the stove.
After it's cooled, spread hot, steamed sushi rice into a large plate or bowl.

Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and quickly fold the rice using a wooden spatula. (Be gentle - be careful not to mash it.)

Tips
When serving sushi, never crowd the platter - presentation is all-important, so arrange your sushi artistically with generous dollops of wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce in a small bowl on the side.
White fish spoils quickly so make sure it's super fresh and has never been frozen.
Texture, taste and color count in sushi, so make sure each roll combines contrasting colors, flavors and textures.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.

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