People often give my Dad sushi sets. He has at least three that I know of. He is well-known among his friends and colleagues for a love of food and all things Japanese, so naturally, sushi sets are a popular gift to him.
We cracked one open over Christmas and I showed him how to make sushi rolls the way my friend Jay showed me in Montreal. This recipe uses canned fish and other western ingredients, so it's not very traditional, but it's very good. You can find the Japanese ingredients at SuperStore or any Asian grocery store.
For the sushi rice:
1 C short-grain rice
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
For the rolls:
4 sheets of roasted nori (the seaweed wrapping)
1 small can of salmon or tuna, mixed with some mayonnaise
half a cucumber
1 roasted red pepper
1 hard-boiled egg
soy sauce for serving
pickled ginger for serving
Wash the rice until the water runs clear (about four times). Cook the rice according to package instructions. Remove from the element, cover with a tea towel and let rest for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir in the vinegar, sugar and salt, gently so the grains stay intact. Let the rice cool to room temperature. (We made ours the night before and kept it in the fridge.)
Put some water and a little bit of vinegar in a bowl. Dip your fingers in this bowl to prevent the rice from sticking to them while you are assembling the sushi. Peel the cucumber. Slice the cucumber, egg and roasted red pepper into matchstick pieces.
Lay out a piece of nori with the shiny side down. Spread a small stripe of wasabi across the sheet about 1/4 of the way up - this is approximately where you'll place the fillings. Spread the rice over 2/3 of the nori sheet as shown in the photo above, pressing it into place with a fork or spoon. Spread a small stripe of mayonnaise where you are going to place the filling. Spread some salmon over top, and then build the layers of cucumber, egg and roasted red pepper over top of that.
Dip your fingers in water and dab the top and side edges of the nori sheet so that the roll will seal when you roll it up. Roll the nori up firmly. I just use my hands, but you can use a bamboo mat as a guide if you want.
If you have time, you can put the rolls in the fridge to firm up a bit. This makes cutting cleaner. Or you can cut the roll right away. Cut into about one-inch rounds and discard the end bits. Serve it up with soy sauce and pickled ginger.