Sussing out sushi

Salmon maki
Salmon maki

THE art of raw fish is a serious business in Japan.

The trainee sushi chef can spend years learning traditional methods – and that’s before he even touches a fish.

Salmon maki

Salmon maki

While it’s perhaps wise that we leave the raw food business to the experts, it’s so easy to fake your way to impressing people.

Take a few ingredients available at so many of the westend’s supermarkets or delis – or even venture further afield to one of Glasgow’s many oriental supermarkets – and you can make your own as a snack, unusual packed lunch or as a side with the mid-week stir fry.

Homemade sushi is the ultimate culinary party trick, because it thoroughly impresses those who don’t know how it’s done.

Lucky for you The Extra has a tried and tested method, perfected through years of making and munching the stuff before it has time to hit the plate.

Salmon maki

Salmon maki

This basic maki (rice rolled in seaweed) recipe uses smoked salmon, but it’s equally tasty with other fish, prawns or even a tin of tuna, not to mention the variety of veg you can roll up in the same way.

Perhaps most important to remember are the little extras.

Wasabi (a bright green paste derived from Japanese horseradish – be warned, it’s potent and should only be used in small doses), thin sliced pickled ginger and salty soy sauce make all the difference, and allow everyone to tailor their sushi to suit their tastes.

Try it, marvel at your mini masterpiece then let us know how you get on...enjoy!

Smoked Salmon Maki Sushi

(Makes about 18 pieces)

Ingredients:

100g smoked salmon, torn into strips

2 sheets of nori, or Japanese seaweed (available from some supermarkets, delis and all oriental food stores)

200g sushi rice, rinsed in cold water

1tbsp each rice vinegar and mirin (again, available as above) - optional but very tasty

Light soy sauce, wasabi paste and jarred pickled ginger to dress

Method:

Add rice and 400ml water to a heavy pot and bring to the boil. Cover and allow to cook without lifting the lid for 10 minutes.

Check on rice, and if needed add another splash of water, repeating until all is absorbed and rice is soft.

Take off the heat, add rice vinegar and mirin and mix well, then put in the fridge to cool (this should take about half an hour).

When it’s completely cool – and very sticky – you can start to roll your sushi.

Lay a sheet of nori flat and cover with rice, leaving one inch gaps on the side closest to you and the side furthest away. Place strips of salmon across the length of nori.

Fold the empty gap closest to you, then use this to start rolling, holding the seaweed sheet firmly and keeping the roll as tight as possible.

At the end, dab water along the nori and press to seal the roll, making sure it stays in place.

Repeat with the rest of the ingredients then place in the fridge for at least one hour.

When the rolls are firm to touch, carefully cut into bite-size pieces by using a sharp knife and gently sawing without pressing down.

Dress with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger according to taste – or serve them on the side and allow guests to load up their own sushi.