Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sushi Making Party!

A few weekends ago, PGS and I hosted a sushi making party.  While neither of us had a clue as to what we were doing - I had never before attempted a single roll - we invited some friends over and gave the party a try.  The result?  One heck of a good time!

To give you a little back story, PGS and I love sushi.  More than once, he told me about a party that he went to in business school where everyone rolled their own.  For Valentines Day, I gave him a sushi making kit and a promise to recreate that fun party from summer camp, I mean business school. ;)  Fast forward to September and we finally opened it!

Available on Amazon.
Below is more or less a step-by-step guide of how we threw the night together.  I hope it inspires you to get some friends together and throw a party of your own!

Setting Up

Before the party I went to Pearl River Mart, a Chinese department store in SoHo, to pick up some extra food items (wasabi peas, extra rice, etc.) and party supplies.  As Audrey Hepburn once said of entertaining, "its the flowers you choose, its the music you play, its the smile you have waiting," well I agree and think that if you decorate for a party, everyone has more fun.  This time I wanted to go beyond flowers and candles, so I picked up a few squares of complementary colored Chinese paper and a few cheap serving bowls to use for the sushi ingredients.  I think it made for a pretty fun table setting!

Despite that the point of the party is making the food, you definitely have to prepare some of it before your guests arrive.  I was happy that we had the sushi rice nearly ready (it takes well over an hour to prepare!) and the ingredients cut up by the time our friends walked through the door.

Sushi Rice

  1. For the measurements, follow the directions on your package of rice (e.g. 2 cups rice, 2 cups water)
  2. Wash the rice.  To do this, place the rice in a bowl and cover it with cold water.  Swirl it around with your hands (the water will get cloudy) and then drain the rice.  Repeat this step until the water runs clear.
  3. Add the rice and water to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, turn heat to low, then cover and cook for about 15 minutes.  (This is where you really need to watch what's happening and stay close to the stove.  It's OK to take a peak at your rice after about 10 minutes to make sure its not burning.)
  4. When it looks ready, turn the heat off and let it stand covered for about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the rice to a bowl and mix in the appropriate amount of sushi vinegar with your sushi paddle.  (We made all 28oz of dry rice and used the whole 10oz bottle of vinegar in the Sushi Chef kit).
  6. Cover the rice with a damp cloth until it gets to room temperature.

Sushi Ingredients

For fish, I purchased sushi grade tuna and salmon - make sure the fish you buy is sushi grade!  Call around to see where in town you can get it.  In NYC, I know that Dean & Deluca, Citarella and Whole Foods all carry sushi grade.  I would also avoid raw shellfish - tempura that shrimp instead like we did!
For the fixings, we went a pretty traditional route with avocado, cucumbers, pepper and jalapeno.  Next time we might be a little more inventive (I am thinking chicken, mozzarella, asparagus...).

How to Make the Sushi

  1. Spread the rice over the nori sheet.  (Place a nori sheet on your rolling mat and spread 1 cup of cooked rice evenly over the nori with your wet fingertips, leaving a 1 inch border at the far edge)
  2. Smear wasabi on the middle of the rice (optional).
  3. Place the fillings on the rice.
  4. Roll up the sushi into a cylinder.
  5. Squeeze the sushi tightly as you roll, as well as when you have finished.
  6. Using a wet knife, cut the sushi (seam side down) into 1.5 inch rounds.

JES performing steps 3 and 4.

JES performing steps 5 and 6.
Once you get going, you realize its not that complicated and really fun!  It's anything but your typical sit down dinner party - in fact, nobody really sat down.  It was really informal and we ate mostly standing around the table, eating the sushi as it was made, drinking sake, and laughing and joking as each person rolled away!

One of our friends brought us this cool bottle of sake!


One thing that we agreed brought the party to the next level is that we made a few batches of tempura at the beginning - I mean, who doesn't love tempura?  It gave our guests something to nibble on while people took turns making the rolls and ensured that nobody went hungry.  
  1. Combine one package of tempura mix with water to form the batter.
  2. Dip any of the following ingredients into the batter: shrimp, zucchini, squash, broccoli florets, peppers... the list goes on!
  3. Fill a dutch oven with vegetable oil and heat. 
  4. Using a pair of tongs, place battered bits in the oil and remove once golden brown.  
It's a bit messy and I may have gotten some batter on my outfit, but it was easy and worth every delicious, crunchy bite!

Will you host a sushi making party?  We can't wait to have another!


My turn rolling!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome... and thanks for the invite that must have gotten lost in the mail....

    PS. You did make sushi a few times when we were kids. There's a Japanese grocery right by mom and dad and for a while we used to make homemade California rolls.