Brown Sushi Rice & Smoked Salmon Avocado Temaki (handroll)

Never really seeing temaki (手巻き) here in the States, I fell for these in Tokyo.   My favorite sushi restaurant, , has (or used to have?) a special one night a month for 100 Y per hand roll!  In Japan, people sometimes throw temaki dinner parties, where the guests assemble themselves (since temaki are easier than normal maki/rolls).  

Brown Sushi Rice Method
There are so many rules when making sushi rice (or doing anything with Japanese ingredients or utensils!). Some are really important and others not-so-much (for example, I can't force myself to wash and strain the rice 4 times). 

I enjoy this blog and mixed her recipe with what I learned from my host mother in Tokyo.  Here's how I like to make sushi rice. Note: I like my rice really seasoned-- you could use the same quantity of vinegar mixture below with 3-4 cups rice!

Put 1.5 C short grain brown rice and 3 C water into rice cooker and set it to cook.

Meanwhile, stir the following in a pyrex (or other microwave-safe) cup:
1/4 C komezu (rice vinegar)
1 TB white sugar
0.5 TB mirin (or sake)
0.5 TB kosher salt

When the rice is nearly finished cooking, heat the vinegar in microwave for 30 seconds. Then stir the mixture until salt/sugar are dissolved.

Once rice is done cooking, scoop it into a shallow wide bowl. The shape and size of the bowl does matter b/c you want to maximize the surface area for the rice to cool while soaking in the vinegar solution. 

Pour the vinegar mixture over, stir to coat all the grains.

Fan the rice with your hands (my Japanese friends pull out their paper fans!). You want to cool the rice while it soaks in the vinegar.  This is another finicky but important piece as it helps make the rice sticky and the right consistency. 

Use sushi rice within the next few hours. Do not refrigerate as it changes the texture (for the same reason you want leftover refrigerated rice for fried rice recipes).  So you can't make sushi rice ahead of time but you can keep it on the counter for a bit.

Temaki Method:
Over a low gas flame, swiftly and gently brush one sheet of nori over hte flame until toasted.  Moving it over is better than letting it sit as it won't crumple unevenly (another trick from host-mom!).  Toasting brings out the best flavor and texture from nori. 

Slice the toasted nori in half.

Spread a thin layer of sushi rice over a quadrant of the toasted nori.  In the center of the rice, stack your fillings:

hot smoked salmon
avocado slices

 Roll into ice cream cone shape and eat immediately.

Alternative filling ideas:
  • raw fish (buy it pre-cut at asian markets- make sure it is fresh)
  • thinly sliced cucumbers
  • daikon sprouts and tuna 

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