Vegetarian Sushi Secrets: 101 Healthy and Delicious Recipes - Marisa Baggett (2016)
It doesn’t take a long list of exotic and pricey kitchen tools to prepare great sushi in your home kitchen. In fact, you probably own the most basic tools needed. If you do have to purchase items for your sushi making, they will not sit unused in a dark pantry or kitchen drawer. Most of the tools for a sushi kitchen can be used outside of sushi making.
Bamboo Rolling Mats
The assembly of most sushi rolls requires the use of a makisu or bamboo rolling mat. I find that having two mats is ideal for the sushi-making process. Covering the mats with plastic wrap before each use makes cleanup between different types of sushi rolls much easier. To cover, wrap each mat tightly in two layers of plastic wrap. Hold the mat about 5 inches (13 cm) above the flame of a gas cooktop and move back and forth a few times to tighten the seal. Wash bamboo rolling mats by hand in warm soapy water after use. If overly soiled, gently scrub with a natural bristle brush. Rinse mats well and let stand upright until completely dry.
Maintaining organization during sushi making expedites the process, and having a variety of bowls available is one of the best ways to keep order. Non-reactive plastic, ceramic, or glass bowls in sizes that easily fit into your refrigerator work best, as some ingredients will need to be prepared and stored before use.
Having several cutting boards simplifies the sushi-making process. I recommend designating cutting boards for specific tasks. A large wooden cutting board with grooves around the edges is perfect for marinating sushi rice. It can be a little messy, but this method is far superior than using a bowl for the task. A large cutting board (plastic or wood) or an inexpensive chopping mat is suitable for both chopping and making sushi rolls.
A critical step in making sushi rice is allowing time for it to drain. A plastic fine-mesh strainer or colander is best for this task. If using a metal mesh strainer, be careful not to press the rice grains too firmly against it. Washed rice is delicate; individual grains can easily break against the metal, producing rice that is more mushy than toothsome.
A fine micro-style grater is preferable to a box grater.
Beautiful Japanese sushi knives are nice, but not essential for making sushi at home. A very sharp chef’s knife with a blade of at least 10 inches (25 cm) will work just as well.
Lint-Free Kitchen Towels
Tea towels or flour-sack towels make great towels for sushi. These types of towels are lint free and prevent bits of cloth fibers from finding their way onto your hands and your sushi. For best results, wet towels and keep damp when making sushi.
To produce thin slices of vegetables in consistent widths, a mandoline is highly recommended.
To marinate the sushi rice, you will need a plastic or wooden paddle. Most rice cookers include a plastic paddle with purchase, and many packs of bamboo rolling mats come with a wooden one. If neither of these is available, use a long-handled wooden spoon. Be sure to soak any wooden utensil in water (or in Sushi Rice Dressing) for at least 10 minutes before using it to toss the sushi rice. Never use a metal utensil to marinate the rice.
For best results, always use a rice cooker to prepare rice for sushi. Not only is it convenient, but it produces the most consistent results. Note the cup capacity on your rice cooker. This refers to the number of cups the rice cooker will accommodate after the rice is cooked. Never add more than two-thirds the amount of rice listed as the rice cooker’s full capacity.
This special plastic device, made by Benriner, produces excellent garnishes for sushi. You just place a vegetable on the device and turn a crank handle to cut it into thin, curly shreds. It can be purchased online or in Asian markets. Beyond sushi garnishes, it provides an excellent presentation for salad vegetables and makes the coolest shoestring potatoes.